On the Fly: Classic Fly-In Adventure Lodges

Gorp.com
 (courtesy, Travel Alaska)

With only eight paved highways traversing the mountains, rivers, glaciers, valleys, and tundra of Alaska, it's logical that some of the state's most alluring travel destinations can only be reached by plane. Fly-in adventure lodges—wilderness retreats built smack-dab in the middle of Alaska's remote heartland—will take you well away from the city and standard park circuit and into the true Alaska.
The lodges, like most everything in Alaska, are spread out, so tailor vacation plans according to the active pursuits you wish to indulge—each lodge has their specialty, whether you dream of navigating a kayak between glaciers, snapping shots of feeding grizzlies, trekking into remote backcountry, or doing nothing more than sitting in a hot tub while staring at Mt. McKinley. Despite the variety, however, all pride themselves on their utterly remote locale. As Denali Wilderness Lodge proclaims, "There are no roads to the real Alaska." Positioned in Denali National Park, a 30-mile plane ride sets you down in the bowl-shaped Wood River Valley for days of wilderness exploration and animal observation in a rustic-yet-modern setting. In the same vein, the family-owned Denali West Lodge is 100 miles away from any town, and offers summer canoeing, fishing, and flight tours of Mt. McKinley. They also teach dog mushing in the winter on six- or nine-day wilderness excursions. Further south, Redoubt Mountain Lodge in the Northern Aleutian Mountains sits on Crescent Lake. Fish, sea kayak, or glacier hike before returning each night for another gourmet meal. At Kachemak Bay Wilderness Lodge, just southwest of Kenai Fjords National Park, paddle sports reign supreme—and the sushi served deck-side ain't bad, either. Several lodges like Lake Marie, Talstar, and Lake Creek have dedicated themselves to embracing Alaska's angling preeminence, specializing exclusively in fly and sport fishing.
Alaska's vast size ensures that your options will be plentiful, if not overwhelming. Choosing the right wilderness lodge will drastically simplify things—rest assured: there's one out there tailor-made just for the Alaskan in you. And remember, remoteness and comfort need not be antithetical—most lodges provide all the amenities of a five-star hotel within the Lower 48, along with roaring fires, fresh seafood, personalized attention, and your own private view of the Alaskan Range.

Published: 10 Jul 2002 | Last Updated: 14 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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