a VirtualTourist member
Will be in Alaska in June. Is Wonder Lake far enough into the park to see the most? Is there a better terminal location? Is it difficult to get on a bus once you get off? Thanks
You cannot get further than Wonder Lake, by bus, unless you are staying at one of the private resorts north of Wonder Lake.
The Wonder Lake trip is 170 miles roundtrip and takes a full day. What you see depends on the weather and your luck. We saw plenty of grizzly, caribou, moose, beaver and goats. We also got glimpses of the Denali peak. Since Denali makes its own weather it is often shrouded even on sunny days.
I'd say that it is not too difficult to get on a bus if you get off. But, unless you are an experienced back country hiker, it is not advisable to stray too far from the road.
Wonder Lake is the end of the road, literally. The road goes a it past the lake to a couple of lodges, but really, Wonder Lake is it, and round-trip, it's a 12 hour ride!
I've taken the camper bus out to Wonder Lake and had a wonderful experience. We camped on the McKinley bar and after hiking down in a virtual monsoon, woke up to see the mountain clear as a bell across the river and a momma and baby moose splashing through the shallows. The next night we camped up on top of the hill above the Wonder Lake camp ground, both of our locations were within easy hiking distance of the road.
If you wanted more time off the bus, I would check out the units around Eilson and Sunset Glacier. I haven't camped in either, yet, but they're next on my list. They should be good units for day hikes.
It is VERY easy to flag down a bus, they come and go regularly and you can get a schedule on your way out. Just be on the road at about the right time and wave and you're on!