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“Denali/Mt.McKinley my bucket list” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Denali Backcountry Lodge

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Denali Backcountry Lodge
3.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Mile 95 Denali Park Road, Denali National Park and Preserve, AK 99755   |  
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Brentwood, Tennessee, United States
1 review
“Denali/Mt.McKinley my bucket list”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 26, 2012

This was the most perfect trip I have ever taken. Karen, who helped me plan it did an outstanding job. I had low expectations of seeing Mt.McKinley as my nephew and wife had been through the area the week before and saw nothing. On our bus ride to Denali Park, Jerry stopped and let us take pictures before the clouds obliterated the mountain. The bus was comfortable and the stops timely. Our cabin at the park entrance was clean and adequate and the staff very pleasant and helpful. I was concerned about the long bus ride into the back country as I had back and knee problems but the seats were fine and I did well. I was most impressed with the knowledge of the drivers. Both drivers in the back country(Jim and Justin, had masters degrees in biology, geology etc. Again they stopped frequently if we saw animals including a grizzle bear that came down to our side of the bus to dig for tubors. The lodge had very helpful and pleasant staff, our cabins very clean, and the food was very good. I had a dietary restriction which they handled with ease and we were all impressed with the cup warmer. I would highly recommend the Denali Backcountry tour to all who want to see Alaska's beauty.

Room Tip: We were given a room that looked out onto Moose Creek. Couldn't do any better.
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AlaskaGM, General Manager at Denali Backcountry Lodge, responded to this review, August 29, 2012
Byra M,

Thank you for your review of your stay at Denali Backcountry Lodge. I hope you enjoyed your stay with us, and your travels in Alaska. I am pleased to hear that you enjoyed your drivers into the back country. Thank you for sharing your experiences of your stay, and I hope you travel back to Kantishna in the near future.

Thank you,

Tara Aller
General Site Manager
Denali Backcountry Lodge
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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186 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (46)
Date | Rating
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English first
Texas
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 22, 2012

We just spent 3 wonderful days at the lodge and I was looking at some not so positive reviews that were shocking to me. Not sure what people expected from a place basically located at the end of the world! I think they should book the Ritz Carlton instead of pretending to be outdoor people or just go to the local zoo. The lodge is rustic, isolated and the location is magical.

Room Tip: ask for the rooms by the creek.
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AlaskaGM, General Manager at Denali Backcountry Lodge, responded to this review, August 29, 2012
Elianasolera,

Thank you for staying at Denali Backcountry Lodge. Kantishna is a beautiful region to explore Denali National Park. I am pleased to hear that you enjoyed your stay, and I hope you consider staying with us on your next visit to Alaska.

Thank you for your comments,

Tara Aller
General Site Manager
Denali Backcountry Lodge
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Burke, VA
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 17, 2012

Had a wonderful, wonderful time at Denali Backcountry Lodge! The adventure begins with a 6 hour bus ride to the lodge. Our driver, Jerry, was informative, interesting, and an excellent driver. We made stops whenever wildlife was present - saw grizzly bears, caribou, ptarmigan, porcupine and sheep! The lodge itself is lovely - great screened in porch, wonderful food (all meals are included) and helpful, knowledgeable, staff. We borrowed fishing poles and waders from the lodge and had a great time fishing. Also took a hike with one of the staff - thanks Erin you were great! Flew back with Kantishna Air Taxi - had a great flight - wonderful views of Denali. Truly the highlight of our trip to Alaska.

Room Tip: We had cabin 28 - a Superior King right on the creek. A bit more expensive but worth it as we had a...
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AlaskaGM, General Manager at Denali Backcountry Lodge, responded to this review, August 20, 2012
VApeople,

Thank you for your comments regarding your bus journey to Denali Backcountry Lodge, and lodge stay. I am delighted to hear that you had the bus experience you described upon arriving at the lodge. Jerry and Erin both are passionate about sharing the spirit of Denali with guests. Flight seeing is a must-do, and it sounds like you were able to capture some views of the mastiff!

Thank you and we look forward to welcoming you back for a future stay.

Thank you,
Tara Aller
General Manager
Denali Backcountry Lodge
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Wichita, Kansas, United States
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 13, 2012

Having never been to Alaska we did some research and settled Alaska Denali Tours. We chose the Denali Backcountry Adventure which icluded a motorcoach ride to Denali Cabins near the park entrance. After a night in our cabin we boarded an afternoon bus for a trip to Kantishna the first day with dinner and lodging the first night. We saw the Denali big 4 on the way to Kantishna. The second full day had various activities available along with three meals and lodging that night. We took a van to Wonder Lake for a view of Mt McKinley but it was obscure by the clouds. I did manage a partial photo of the base showing the snow pack, I rode a bike back to lodge and we did "real gold panning" in Moose Creek. The third day we got up at 5:00 AM for breakfast and a bus trip out of the parK and back to the Alaska Railroad train depot for a ride back to Anchorage. We saw the Denali "big five animal group" on the ride out along with a few others. Our cabin 39 faced Moose Creek and the only regret is not staying for an additional day. This was truely a marvelous experience for my wife and I. Upon retrurning to Anchorage we drove a rental car to Seward, toured the Sea Life Center, took a Kenai Fjords Tour Cruise to the glaciers and finally went on the Seavey's Real Alaska Tour. The tour arrangements by Alaska Denali Tours' Karen S. were flawless and tour bus drivers, Jim, Jim, Justin and Joe did a great job. The package seemed pricey but the organization and staff attention and overall experience for us was worth it.

Room Tip: Get a room facing Moose Creek...ours was super!
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AlaskaGM, General Manager at Denali Backcountry Lodge, responded to this review, August 20, 2012
Ed A,

Thank you for your candid comments of your stay at the lodge. I am pleased to hear you enjoyed your stay in one of our Deluxe Cabins which faces Moose Creek. These cabins offer tranquility of the flowing Creek, and a deck to relax upon. Karen S. does a wonderful job in travel planning, and selecting itineraries that match guests’ interests. I hope you enjoyed all aspects of your stay in Alaska, and will consider Alaska Denali Travel for future visits. Thank you for staying at Denali Backcountry Lodge, and we look forward to your next stay!

Thank you and feel free to contact me with any further comments.

Thank you,

Tara Aller
General Manager
Denali Backcountry Lodge
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San Diego, California
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 12, 2012

The purpose of staying at the Denali Backcounty Lodge is to experience the reality of nature in the Denail Wilderness area. We saw all 5 of the big mammals bears, wolves, Dall sheep, caribou, and moose, in their natural habitat. We ate salmonberries, identified wild cranberries, blueberries, and countless wildflowers. We experienced stepping onto a subarctic tundra and learned about the different kinds of lichen that is so vital to the delicate balance of life. Hoary marmots observed us, an arctic squirrel toyed with us, and ptarmigans scattered in front of us.

The lodge was basic, the food was better than most restaurants we experienced, the cabins were more than adequate, the staff was knowledgeable, friendly, and accommodating.
This is a great place to interact, observe, learn and reflect. If you are off a cruise and expect to be entertained with the same level of service and activities, this will disappoint. If you want to see animals up close, go to a zoo. Wish I could have stayed longer.

Room Tip: Ask for a room on the creekside, beautiful!
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AlaskaGM, General Manager at Denali Backcountry Lodge, responded to this review, August 13, 2012
SDJan,

Thank you for your candid review of Denali Backcountry Lodge. I am pleased to hear that you enjoyed your stay in one of America’s grand National Parks at our lodge! We feel privileged to share the same landscape with some of Alaska’s most protected wildlife. The staff strives to connect guests with the natural world, share fresh Alaskan fare, and provide a high level of guest service.

We are looking forward to your next stay at Denali Backcountry Lodge.

Thank you,

Tara Aller
General Manager
Denali Backcountry Lodge
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Chesapeake, Va
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 9, 2012

We had a great time at Denali Backcountry Lodge. After a 92 mile bus ride with several stops for animals and rest stops we arrived on time at the lodge. The lodge features a main lodge were yummy breakfast and dinner are served. The food was very good and lots of it served family style at dinner, buffet at breakfast. Lunch is sandwiches you help yourself to at the day lodge. The day lodge also serves bus folks. There are reserved tables for the lodge guest and there was always plenty to eat. Anthony the bar tender is the best. Bucket of beer in the river after a hike is real nice. You can also pan for gold.
We took one guided hike with Timmy that was really fun. We learn all we even wanted to know about Lichen and the tundra. Walking on it btw is like walking on a mattress. One day I took the bus with a bike for Wonder Lake to get some photos. The way back was mostly downhill except for section where I had to walk uphill.
In the evenings there are talks given by Mikie. Do Not Miss the one about his adventure on the river.
When planing your trip be sure to book the plane ride back. With there usually being some (or alot) of clouds covering Mt. McKinley, with the short (note no 5 hour bus ride) plane ride you'll be over the clouds and get some great photos of the mountain.
Overall, fun trip, great hosts that were very accomodating, amazing ammenities concidering you are off the grid and totally (including electricity) on you own.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AlaskaGM, General Manager at Denali Backcountry Lodge, responded to this review, August 20, 2012
CountRone,

Thank you for your review of Denali Backcountry Lodge, and our programs. I am pleased to hear you had a memorable time on Timmy’s hike and Mikey’s evening program. The guides aim to capture from the minute to the grandest moments one can experience during their stay. Alaska is a great state, and I am happy that you included the lodge as part of your vacation!

If you have any further comments or suggestions, please feel free to contact me directly.

Thank you,

Tara Aller
General Manager
Denali Backcountry Lodge
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Terre Haute, Indiana
2 reviews
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 4, 2012

First let me say that I have never written a review before, so with that said here goes....we researched for months before our big Alaskan adventure & my husband found the Denali Backcountry Lodge & being the boy scout he was once upon a time, he wanted to stay there with the main attraction being that it was at the end of the 95-mile road! We thought it would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience to enjoy the mountains & see some wildlife. With some reserve I agreed to go because the website said there were guided hikes, gourment food & cabins along a beautful creek. Not being an outdoorsy girl, I thought I could have fun in this wilderness setting. Man was I totally mislead!

First the bus ride back was long (we knew this going in) but we did see some wildlife from VERY far away....one bear, one moose & a few caribou, but again wildlife is hard to control. I was told the next day by the staff, that the day trippers saw lots of bears, which was to me was just rubbing salt in my wound because that I didn't. On the way in the driver, who was very good, shut the bus off at our first stop & the bus would not start back up. The driver was going to use the sat-phone to call, but my husband suggested that he try tighting the battery cables, it worked & thankfully we were back on our way, otherwise who knows how many hours we would have waited for help to arrive.

Upon arrival we were told there no locked doors, but we could get a key if we wanted, not a big deal, but strange.

The food: It was by no means gourment! I think the term "Chef" is pushing it. Not to say they don't have a good cook, but chef???? I can bake fish & mash potatoes & I don't even begin to consider myself a "Chef". Dinner the first night was fish & caribou, thank goodness I like fish otherwise I would be SOL. Breakfast was buffet style & ok. Lunch was the worst. It was cold cut sandwiches, cold salads & soup. My husband found a big bone in his chicken soup & we were told later by another guest that she found 2 bones in her soup. When he reported this to 2 staff members, but they didn't seem to care as they were fixing their own lunch from the buffet (which seemed odd, if not rude beacause in our many travels, we have never seen staff members eating from the buffet with the guests, but I know now why, it was because of the day trippers, which I had no idea were coming). Thankfully we were told by another guest, who was staying 3 nights, to get to the lunch dayroom early (again strange??? why get there early) but boy was she right! About half way thru our "quiet lunch" about 200 day-trippers come plying in. Our quiet, rustic setting got real noisy & crowded fast. Upon reflection after this I wish I had gotten a room key! Dinner that night was salty crab legs & pulled pork with rice. The pork was good & so were the desserts. The gourment appetizers, two trays of crackers, grapes & packaged cheese, was amost gone when we got upstairs about 15 minutes into the "happy hour". There was a bar were you could get beer, wine & sodas, all at an additional cost. Coffee, hot chocolate & hot tea was available.

The room was nice & I didn't notice any noisy from other rooms, but ours was a stand alone cabin & we did have a king bed. The fireplace pit areas were nice. It would have been nicer it they had stuff to roast marshmellows or make smores out so guests could do that if they wanted. One thing negative about the room area is I was taking snap shots of the wildflowers & there in plain site was a pair of men's underwear right by the railing.

The Activities: What activities?? There were 2 guided morning hikes (at the same time), 1 easy, 1 moderate which we found out only 11 guests could go on. Two more guided hikes in the afternoon (again at the same time). Those are the ONLY GUIDED hikes! Do the math, if there are 60 guests, there is room for only 44 of those guests to go on a guided tour. I saw the sign up sheets & only 2 people wanted to go on the moderate hike, everyone wanted the easy. We were told that we could go hike on our own, but to tell them were we were going~my question back was "how can I tell you where I am going, when I have NO idea where I am?" We were given a rough map & told we where "somewhere" around here (here being an area about the size of a quarter). We could have taken the shuttle to Wonder Lake, but there was no benches to sit on & not much to do there unless of course you want to wonder around the woods on your own! I was told I could go upstairs & work a puzzle or play a board game (what fun??), but if I wanted to do that I could have stayed at home & saved lots of money. I was told several times about the DVD presentations, but again I could do that at home, they have them at the local library & do I really want to watch a beaver build a dam on DVD)! I voiced my opinion of the misleading information, but I don't think the customer service gal really cared much. After all they had my money & I was capitve, what recourse did I really have? After awhile sitting in a rocking chair watching a creek in the rain, being ate alive by mosquitos (yes I sprayed on bug spray) does get old fast. We did find out later that the lodge had commerical mosquito catchers, but they didn't have them on because the mosquitos "weren't that bad", tell that to the welts on my back from all the bites.

I think the lodge could do a much better job, if they would simple take a look at the guests they get. I noticed most guest to be 40 or over, most younger people (most of whom are on a budget) or explore types will probably camp at one parks many campgrounds, not an $700-800 a night lodge. We talked to other guests & I can safely say I was not the only one who felt mislead & dissappointed in the whole trip.There was one bridge for guests to get over the creek & it was a suspension bridge. I saw guests with canes, seriously how could they get across? We saw part of a broken bridge, but were told it washed away during the winter, I guess they just didn't bother to repair what was left of it.

Would I go back to Alaska, maybe, it was a beautiful state, whould I go back to Denali, yes, would I stay at the Backcountry Lodge HECK NO!

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AlaskaGM, General Manager at Denali Backcountry Lodge, responded to this review, August 8, 2012
Tina11111993,

Thank you for the comments regarding your stay at Denali Backcountry Lodge. I am pleased to hear that you enjoyed your dinner, and your stay in the cabin.

The Park road is 92 miles long, traveling through various regions paralleling the 600-mile long Alaska Range. Kantishna lies in a valley at the end of the Park Road, in the heart of Denali National Park. Wildlife that can be spotted includes grizzly bears, Dall sheep, caribou, moose, wolf, fox, and various bird species that migrate from the Southern Hemispheres. I apologize for the inconvenience in the transport to the lodge, as safety is a priority of our drivers.

Modern Alaskan cuisine includes dishes such as slow-cooked ginger-roasted pork, Alaskan sockeye with beurre blanc sauce, basil almond pesto halibut, caribou medallions wrapped in bacon with red-wine reduction, and Alaskan snow crab. Gluten-free and dietary needs can be accommodated. I have notified the kitchen staff about the bone found in your soup, and will work to ensure the quality of food exceeds guests’ expectations. Smores are available complimentary at the Front Desk for enjoyment by the fire. Gazebos are on both sides of the suspension bridge on Moose Creek for guest use.

The Denali Backcountry Adventure offers guests a full day trip into Denali National Park with lunch included at the lodge. Most days, one bus with 44 guests arrives, although occasionally two buses visit. Lunch is served, followed by gold panning and an activity, and their program concludes at 2:30 PM with their departure. Keys are available at any time during a guests’ stay at the Front Desk.

Hikes vary in length, duration, and elevation gain for the casual to more experienced hiker. Wonder Lake features two trails that the guest can take self-guided, and the shuttle remains at the lake for the duration of the trip. Guests are more than welcome to return to the van to sit, and seats are available for loan from the Front Desk. Afternoon activities include gold panning, a botany walk, and an interpretive walk to Fannie Quigley’s cabin. Nightly programs are based on the interest of the guests and the season. Current programs include tundra walks, Denali Jeopardy, Alaska storytelling, and living off the land in Denali.

Please let me know if you have any further comments.

Thank you,

Tara Aller
General Manager
Denali Backcountry Lodge
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Denali Backcountry Lodge

Address: Mile 95 Denali Park Road, Denali National Park and Preserve, AK 99755
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Alaska > Denali National Park and Preserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 6 Hotels in Denali National Park and Preserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:3 star — Denali Backcountry Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 42
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
When planning your Alaska vacation don't settle for just another Denali hotel! Journey with us winding through the Alaska Range, deep into the heart of the Denali National Park, with opportunities to see Denali's famed wildlife: Grizzlies, Caribou, Moose, Dall Sheep, Wolves, and Eagles. At the very end of the Denali Park road, past Wonder Lake, you'll find a unique enclave in the park known as Kantishna. This area is home to Denali Backcountry Lodge. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Denali Backcountry Hotel Denali National Park And Preserve
Hotel Denali Backcountry

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