Ultima Thule Lodge
The moment the bush plane brushes the gravel runway at Ultima Thule Lodge, you are officially 100 miles from nowhere. Bounded to the north by the salmon-thick Chitina River and backed by the turquoise glaciers of the Wrangell Mountains, which top out at 16,000 feet, the family-run lodge is all-inclusive in a uniquely Alaskan way. At your disposal: planes, whitewater rafts, kayaks, hearty meals, warm beds, and the 13 million acres of WrangellSt. Elias National Park and Preserve that surround the lodge.
ROOM & BOARD: The dozen log cabins and lodge, furnished with downy beds and glass-front wood stoves, are clustered along the riverbank. Paths lead to a bathhouse with a wood-fired wet sauna and the dining hall, where a 20-foot pine table showcases steaming plates of local salmon, organic greens harvested from the garden, and microbrews flown in from Anchorage.
OUT THE BACK DOOR: With Alaskan summer days as long as 20 hours, an Ultima Thule "day" trip could mean an expedition to 16,390-foot Mount Blackburn, a walk along the iceberg-calving Gulf of Alaska, or a dogsled ride across the glaciers that embellish the national parkall with the assistance of the lodge's guides and experienced bush pilot.