Welcome to photographer's heaven! With variable weather and a terrific view, Reflection Pond makes for a challenging but hugely rewarding location for shots of Denali and the Alaska Range, and it has gained notoriety for being the location of some of the iconic shots in the park. As the name implies, the surface of the water produces a mirror-like effect that reflects the peaks.
Getting that perfect shot, however, is easier said than done. You should expect morning breezes and changing light conditions. The best times to shoot still water are in the early morning and evening, which is complicated by the bus and shuttle schedules.
First, staying at the nearby Wonder Lake Campground is highly recommend. To access the pond from the Wonder Lake Campground without the help of a bus or shuttle, head northeast on the campground road and then turn left (north) on the Park Road. The pond sits a few yards off the road and has a sign. This makes for a 2.4-mile, one-way journey.
Buses do drive by the pond, however, the earliest (6:30 am) camper bus from Wonder Lake will only take you to the junction with the Park Road. From there, run the final mile north.
The 8:30 am shuttle from Wonder Lake Campground will drive right by the pond, but by this time, the breeze has usually picked up and disturbed the surface of the water. These same buses and shuttles can pick you up on the way back toward Wonder Lake Campground.
This content was contributed by author Ike Waits. For a comprehensive running guide to Denali National Park and to see more by Ike, click here.
On the Road: One mile from the junction of the Park Road with the road to Wonder Lake Campground, and 2.4 miles, one way, from the campground to the pond.
Gem Type: Viewpoint