North to Alaska 2010 travel blog

Mount Sanford, elevation 16,237 feet, in the Wrangell Mountains, 1 of Alaska's...

Gakona Campground's rental cabin

Entrance to the resort

The Carriage House Restaurant in the Gakona Resort

Our dinner table

One of several owl mountings

And a bear head

Originally a storage facility for Glenn Hwy construction during WW II, later...

Murray, the model

It is really a unique place

Sunset over the Wrangells


Campground: Gakona Alaska Campground

The clouds and cold of Valdez are gone because we are on our way north. By the time we got to Gakona there is sunshine and higher temperatures. This campground leaves a lot to be desired but it does have 50 amps and working wifi and it is such a level spot we don’t have to unhook for our one-night stay.

Sally and I walked along the road back to the post office, mainly just to walk and we actually got hot. And something crossed the road a little bit in front of us. However we were never able to determine what it was. It was not a moose, maybe a caribou or a bear. Bigger than a wolf.

Richard, Murray and Jeff went fishing but were not successful. There were some mutterings about camp hosts and their lack of fishing knowledge. But they did visit a little compound down the road called the Gakona Resort and Lodge which they thought quaint. So Murray and Shelle and we went for dinner. Richard had salmon and the rest of us halibut, all very gourmet and good. Then we went into the bar for duck farts. We wanted to go into the gift shop but it was closed. But a young lady was still there so she opened it for us. Turns out this whole place is a family affair. Mom is the cook, but she hates fish. Dad is the bartender and daughter runs the gift shop. The waitress was from Louisiana. This is really an incredible state.

About the resort: Doyle's Ranch as it was first known, was opened in 1905. The original lodge, exhibiting saddle-corner log construction and a floor of whipsawn timber, was one of the more elaborate stops along the trail from Valdez to Fairbanks. Later known as the Gakona Roadhouse, the station became a stop for the Orr Stage and a barn for 12 horses and a blacksmith shop were built.

In 1929 a larger lodge replaced the original roadhouse. It had 9 private rooms, a bunkhouse (attic), two bathrooms, a general store and a post office. The rooms are still in use. That is also when the wagon repair shop (now the restaurant), two cabins and other buildings were added.

Today two main overland routes in Alaska, the Glenn Highway and the Richardson Highway intersect near here. In 1977 the roadhouse was entered in the National Register of Historic Places.

Gakona Lodge has long been part of the Copper Basin 300 Dog Sled Race which takes place in January. The race path travels through the property.

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