Activity of the Week: A covered wagon ride north of the border

05/20/2010
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The Oregon Trail may be the quintessential covered wagon experience, but you don’t have to travel to the Pacific Northwest — or buy a computer game — to take a ride back to pioneer days. Alaska has a rich history in breaking new ground, and with about 365-million acres of land it’s no wonder. In 1905 after gold was discovered in the Kantishna Hills near Denali, several thousand prospectors flocked to the area in hopes of striking it rich and the rush was on. Not too long after, the original national park, Mount McKinley National Park, was established and construction of the park road began.

While buses, RVs and rental cars populate the roads and trail around Denali nowadays, you can take a journey back to simpler times during your stay at the Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge. The Covered Wagon Adventure takes off right from the Denali lodge in a rustic but comfortable covered wagon led by an impressive pair of draft horses. Along the way, the guide shares some fun facts and local folklore you may not have heard before and it’s a nice alternative for viewing wildlife if you’ve already done the traditional bus tour. After the leisurely ride, arrive at a small, covered camp to enjoy the view, exchange a few stories and partake in one tradition that has definitely withstood the test of time: lunch.

If you go:

You can book this adventure from the Tour Desk at the Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge. The Covered Wagon Adventure at Denali is a family friendly 2.5-hour tour that requires a moderate level of activity. Blankets and binoculars are provided for use while on the tour. The Denali lodge will be open from May 19 – Sept. 15, 2010. ($89/adult and $49/child)

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“Activity of the Week” is a weekly blog series that profiles adventures, destinations and tour operators from across Alaska.”