Melinda S.
Two Rivers, AK
Joined September 2018
State-managed campground on the Chatanika River

This is a fairly standard state-run campground on the upper Chatanika River. It's somewhat popular with Fairbanks locals but because of its proximity to town is not a place you're likely to stay if you're heading up the Steese.

The camping spots are small and there's relatively little privacy, and the facilities are, in general, not as well-maintained and clean as we've gotten used to with BLM campgrounds in Alaska. Several camping spots are right on the river. Fishing on the Chatanika is inconsistent but can be very good at mid-summer. If you continue west of the campground there is primitive camping on gravel bars on the river, but you'll probably want 4WD to get there. Also, note that there can be very good berry picking on hillsides near the campground in August and early September.

Lovely little BLM campground

The BLM has some of the nicest campgrounds in Alaska, and this one is no exception. There are 12 sites with plenty of space between, although they're small for large RVs and trailers (it was perfect for my teardrop trailer). The sites are not directly on the Chatanika River, but you can hear the river running in the background and there is a trail that runs along the riverbank between the campground and the day use area. There are a few walk-in tent sites between the main campground and the river, as well.

Like other BLM facilities it's cleaned and well-maintained, and there are signs up showing local wildlife. Each camping spot has a fire pit and picnic table, and there is a pump to get untreated water near campsite 7. Because it's only about an hour from Fairbanks it doesn't get much traffic from people passing through, although it can get busy during hunting season.

Exceptional campground just off the Alaska Highway

This is a small, quiet campground just off the Alaska Highway between Tok and the border, sitting on the edge of a lake in the Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge. Most of the campsites are directly on the lake, but the ones away from the lake are large and relatively isolated, giving you the feeling of camping alone. It's also worth noting that mosquitoes can be fierce in this part of Alaska and it's less bad away from the water, although it's such a lovely lake that you might prefer to tolerate them in exchange for the view.

There's a small boat launch, a viewing platform, and a nature walk on an elevated boardwalk (which also makes it ADA accessible). The waterfowl viewing is excellent. I've stayed a number of times, spring through fall, and it's always a treat.

Pleasant, quiet, and comfortable

This campground isn't directly on the West Fork of the Dennison, but it's an easy 1/4 mile walk. The campsites each have picnic tables and fire rings and you'll need to bring your own firewood. There are individual campsites in the upper part of the campground, and there's a parking area for RVs, with an accessible pit toilet, just below. It's probably a little far from Chicken for people looking for tourist activities but it's a lovely place to stay a few days.

Because I was there as early as I was, the grayling fishing was okay but not spectacular. The fish were skinny (winters up here are very long) and you had to fish pretty deep to find them.

I was there in May, and weather blows through the 40-Mile country very quickly - it can be a bit unpredictable. We had snow at one point. Parts of the Taylor Highway can be a bit sketchy, particularly early and late in the season, but the section between the Alcan and Chicken tends to be in good shape and highly driveable.