At Talkeetna, we stayed at the McKinley Princess Lodge. The Lodge itself is about an hour north of Talkeetna, and a shuttle runs between them. Like I mentioned, we received our room information when we arrived in Talkeetna. Instead of a traditional hotel, the resort is made up of small lodges. These are camp-style buildings with ten or so hotel rooms, vending, and laundry. We wound up not spending a lot of time in the room, but it was a nice place to sleep.
When we arrived, we walked over to the room and found our bags waiting for us. We dropped our carry-ons off and headed out to the main lodge. The deck has a commanding view of McKinley and the surrounding peaks, but it was really cloudy. Just so you know, most hotels will mail boxes for you, so we mailed a flat-rate box of souvenirs back to Colorado to save space. From there, we went down the first of the two trails. It was around a 30 minute hike, and we saw a baby squirrel stealing a full-sized dinner roll. We decided to be ambitious and hiked the second trail. This one is a bit closer to the river. Both trails definitely need closed-toe shoes and are more challenging than your normal park.
For dinner, we opted for the 20,320 Alaskan Grill. The McKinley Princess has three on-property restaurants, and this one is the middle in terms of price and menu selection (more than the sports bar but fewer choices than the fancy place). We weren’t overly hungry, so Mac ordered McKinley macaroni and cheese with reindeer sausage while I had a salad. The service was really fast, the food was decent, but we had a table of horribly behaved children next to us. We paid the check and high-tailed it out of there. The lodge has several fire-pits, and I stiff-armed Mac into getting a smores kit. We thought each kit was for one smore, so we bought two. Each kit has two smores, so yeah. We chatted with the other couples sitting at the same fire-pit. Funny enough, one family was from southwest PA, and the kids were in the same school district that three of my cousins attended. After that, we turned in for the night. We left our bags outside our door that night to be picked for the next leg.