Despite its otherwise strict rules, Wrangell Hostel has no daytime lockout, which must be a godsend for visitors who need somewhere to hang out on a rainy day in Wrangell. Guests are expected to do a daily chore, although this is not explicitly insisted upon, but if guests volunteer to carry out a chore such as collecting the garbage from the various hostel rooms, this is greatly appreciated.
This hostel is located in the First Presbyterian Church on Church Street, which is easy to find, because it is a continuation of Second Street leading directly from the ferry terminal, a few minutes' walk away. The post office and library are even closer, and the two grocery stores and various bars and restaurants are downtown and are similarly within walking distance. The airport is a fairly brief taxi ride away. Church Street contains three other churches of various denominations as well as the high school, but is also in a pleasant residential district. There is twenty-four-hour street parking on Church Street, and several cars can be accommodated on the church parking lot.
Rooms and Bathrooms
The two single-sex dorms and family room are on the second floor and each has around eight air mattresses on the floor. Guests can either use their own sleeping bags and towels or rent towels and bedding from the hostel. The volunteer in charge of the hostel is sympathetic to allowing couples to sleep in the same room, but unless they have reserved the family room and if several people of both sexes are staying in the hostel, they are expected to sleep in separate dorms.
The dorms are never locked, nor are lockers provided, and the front door of the hostel remains unlocked all day until 11 p.m. Guests with especially valuable items are advised to discuss with the volunteer the possibility of having them locked in the church office or in the pastor's house next door. The separate men's and women's showers are located in the basement, and in addition there are separate men's and women's restrooms on the first floor. The showers function very well, and there is adequate space to change/hang up clothes.
The sitting area is a conference room on the first floor with a large table and chairs in the middle, which may be used for dining/socializing, and a well equipped, clean kitchen at one end with unlimited free coffee. There is a television, various books and leaflets about Alaska, but no book exchange. There is no computer, but the computers at the nearby public library have a good Internet connection, and visitors are allowed one hour per day of computer time during library opening hours. On fine days, guests can sit on the church steps or on the lawn. It is not a "fun party hostel," but the volunteer in charge is very friendly and helpful, and there is a friendly, sociable backpacker atmosphere. It is suitable for people of all age groups who like a quiet environment. Smoking and consumption of alcohol are prohibited on the premises.
Many people may consider sleeping on an air mattress on the floor of a crowded dorm for $20 a night poor value for money, but it is by far the cheapest deal in town and is recommended to anybody who wishes to enjoy Wrangell and the surrounding area for a minimal outlay.