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“Fantastic!” 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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Certificate of Excellence 2014
Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Fantastic!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 22, 2013

We really enjoyed our stay at the lodge last September in spite of the never ending rain. We came prepared for the rain and it didn't stop us from doing any hiking. The bus drivers ( in and out) were great and our guide, whose name is escaping me at the moment, was very knowledgeable and had the bear spray with him! We were able to see a caribou passing about 50 yards away from us. The food was very enjoyable and I liked the family style setting as we got to meet people from all over. Different levels of hiking offered. Great fun!

Room Tip: All the cabins are beautiful cedar wood and built above ground due to the permafrost. I don't th...
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  • Stayed September 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.
Teresa B, Director of Sales at Denali Backcountry Lodge, responded to this review, July 24, 2013
Thank you for taking the time to review Denali Backcountry Lodge UkeleleGirl, we are glad that you had such an excellent stay despite the rain. Hiking in the fall can be extremely beautiful around the Lodge due to bold fall colors emerging in the alpine forest.
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187 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    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)
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English first
Sitka, Alaska
Top Contributor
98 reviews 98 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 42 cities Reviews in 42 cities
41 helpful votes 41 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 22, 2013

We had high expectations of Denali BackCountry Lodge, based on all the positive reviews. I am sorry to say we were disappointed, however. The property itself was lovely, in a pretty setting, and well-appointed, clean, and comfortable. But given the price point, we expected more from the service aspect of this lodge. Our first night, we were greeted on board the bus by our "host" (the manager) who then turned out to be the pinch-hit bartender for the night. I had to help him out... he was not prepared to fill in for the regular bartender. And we did not see much of him the rest of our stay. The meals were all buffet-style, with salads on the tables family-style. The food was pretty good, but having the exact same entree twice in three nights was poor planning. The two lunches we had there were exactly the same, except for the soup and dessert. And the overnight guests had to vie with a bus-load of day-visitors for lunch seating space in the day lodge.
The interaction with the guides was minimal -- mostly a 2-3 minute preview of the upcoming day's choices at dinner-time. No one approached our group of 5 to see what we might like to do, or what our interests were. We had to ferret out information on the various activities and facilities largely on our own. We all enjoyed the massages in the new spa at the lodge -- kudos for that!
Now for the worst part of all... the Interior of Alaska was experiencing a horrendous crop of hungry mosquitoes during the time we were there... and the lodge had absolutely nothing on hand to help us fight off the hordes of 'skeeters except nets for our heads and a flyswatter in the cabin. My husband noted there were several propane-powered bug repellent devices around the property (each designed to de-bug a fairly large area), but none of them were operational. Just getting from our cabin to the dining hall was a battle. My husband killed 372 mosquitoes IN OUR CABIN during the three nights we were there... not counting the ones my daughter and I killed. I asked for a citronella candle or something -- none was provided. No bug spray (luckily we had brought some, but we needed something with more Deet), no mosquito coils, nothing to give us some respite from the voracious things. We woke in the middle of the night swatting and scratching... and found blood stains on the sheets in the morning from those that "got us" during the night. It was difficult to really enjoy the wilderness and beauty of the area with this incessant battle.
I have to qualify my remarks by saying, we are Alaskans. We are no strangers to wilderness or to the infamous Alaskan mosquitoes. This was the WORST we had ever experienced, however. We also have traveled extensively, and have stayed in other remote private lodges, in Africa, Alaska, Australia, New Zealand ... as well as on small ship cruises, all similarly priced. It is from this perspective that we felt that this lodge, while a very nice physical plant, did not meet the standard for personalized attention and service we have been used to.
We hope that these comments will assist the management and owners of this lodge to take a look at ways they can improve the experience, because the destination and the facility are worthy of a visit. We were fortunate to have had stunning weather during our stay, and our viewing of wildlife and Denali were awesome, making the misery of the mosquitoes fade in comparison.

Room Tip: We upgraded to cabins by the creek -- it was worth it! Warning -- the beds in the double rooms are...
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
High Point, North Carolina
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 20, 2013

Great adventure - Lodge was well taken care of. Thank you to the chef and kitchen staff. The food was super, especially breakfast, appetizers and dinner. And thanks to Kyle for his bar tending. The Naturalists-guides ( Kathryn, MariAnn, Michael, Josh) were knowledgable and lots of fun on the hikes. Bus driver, Jim, was a great guide on the trip in and out. Even the mosquitoes were out in force to greet us, especially on the McKinley Bar trail. Yikes! Favorite hike was the Wickersham Dome and seeing Mt. Denali(McKinley). We were there during the heat wave -June 17-21!

Room Tip: The rooms along Moose Creek are great!
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  • Stayed June 2013, 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Teresa B, Director of Sales at Denali Backcountry Lodge, responded to this review, July 24, 2013
MaryKay E we appreciate your review of Denali Backcountry Lodge. Around here, we especially like breakfast as it is what fuels the day’s adventures. We will connect with your driver Jim, and our team of Naturalist-guides to let them know you enjoyed your time with them. The heat this summer has been unexpected in Alaska and a welcome treat for our guests, we are glad you had such excellent weather for your stay with us.
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St. Louis
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 6, 2013

Well run lodge and I recommend going at least once.

As part of a two week tour of the southern portion of Alaska we stayed at the lodge for 3 nights. Any longer would have been too long. It is expensive and probably not a good value. For a $1000 per night for two people, they need to do everything first class, including the food/snacks that they serve on the bus and at the lodge. I loved the hikes and the guides did a very good job and were very knowledgeable. The first day hike was miserable, however, because of the mosquitoes. While they did mention mosquitoes in the pre-trip prep, they need to do a better job of preparing guests for the potential issue, depending on time of year and weather conditions. The lodge should provided guests with first rate mosquito nets for their head and body. I was ready to go home after the first day because of the mosquitoes, but the second and third day were much better because of the wind and smoke from the forest fires so they were MUCH more tolerable. If you are looking to get in touch with your childhood camp inner self, I would strongly encourage you to visit the lodge. I would also recommend booking the Backcountry Lodge during the time of year when mosquitoes are not as bad.

Room Tip: A bus ride is much quicker than the train ride. If you want a queen/king bed, make sure you tell th...
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 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.
Orlando, Florida
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 29, 2013

What a great experience. We have traveled to Alaska numerous times over the years but never took the time to go to the back country. Shame on us for waiting so long to do this.
We chose a four-day/three-nighpackage that included the first and last night just outside the park entrance at the Denali Cabins. The cabin was very quaint, yet incredibly comfortable with lots of HOT water, TV and comfortable beds. All meals were included for the three days and the staff at the Prey restaurant was fantastic. We were made to feel like family as we enjoyed some great food - the nachos were fabulous and the pork loin sandwich was a meal we repeated later in our trip.
The best thing about the package we chose is that we got to leave early on the morning of day two for the bus ride out to the Back Country lodge. The driver was incredibly knowledgeable about the park history, the animals and the importance of preserving our natural areas. As a matter of fact, on the day of our trip, he was celebrating his 50th anniversary of joining the National Park Service as a ranger. The ride is long, but comfortable with several stops, snacks and drinks provided in the package.
At the Back Country Lodge, we were mesmerized. The cabin we were assigned opened directly to the stream. Inside, it was very clean and comfortable with nice down comforters and bath linens. For a wilderness lodge 100 miles from the last power grid, this is an amazingly comfortable place.
The staff was wonderful. The food was very nicely presented and served in a combination of family/buffet style, We can be picky about food and service, but found this to exceed our expectations - especially considering one is in the back country at the end of a 92-mile gravel road.
The naturalists who escorted us on the hikes over the two days were so very nice and helpful. During our hike to McKinley bar, we encountered a bear but never felt any concern because the naturalist handled the situation so masterfully!
The chef and his staff were very attentive to our needs and everyone wanted to make sure we were satisfied.
Everyone involved at the lodge, the cabins, the transportation services and the fantastic general manager who runs the operation was constantly interested in our well-being and satisfaction. this is a company who knows what customer service is all about and strives to please.
This package enabled us to travel in the morning to the Back Country, have a full afternoon there, enjoy a full morning on day three and then return by bus to the Denali Cabins in the afternoon - allowing a full 26 hours in the back country.
Upon return to the cabins, we had another great dinner at The Prey restaurant and another evening in the comfortable cabins before heading back to Anchorage on day 4.
We hope anyone choosing the Back Country Lodge experience as much as we did.
We have traveled the world and done many luxury as well as remote venues. For a wilderness-type adventure, this can't be beat!

  • Stayed June 2013, 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ellicott City
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
39 helpful votes 39 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 28, 2013

The Denali experience began with a 97 mile bus trip to the lodge that was very informative. The bus driver stopped with every wildlife sighting and generally provided an interesting running commentary on Denali park. While the lodge claims that snacks and drinks will be provided, on the ride in only one cookie was given out. When we arrived to the lodge, an average meal was served buffet style. On the next day we signed up for a nature hike and were extremely pleased with the knowldege of our guide. The noon meal was a buffet of cold cuts. It was served at noon, and at 1:00 a bus load of day visitors take over the dining hall. For dinner we were served fish and pork roll. On the bus ride out of the park, we were served hot drinks, but the bus ran out of cups so only half the passengers got anything to drink.

For $900 a day, I expect first class food and service. While the staff was friendly and extremely helpful, the food was average at best.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Paris, France
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 26, 2013

Wanting to spend nights in Denali rather than a day roundtrip -- 92 miles, each way, on a Park school bus -- and being advised to use a land tour company for planning a land tour and Alaskan cruise rather than using cruise line facilities, we made the right choice by staying here three nights. A park-required school bus but privately owned with more comfortable seats and suspension system began the journey in where we were immediately given cabin assignments with luggage delivered by staff and then served a delicious, well-prepared meal especially for our 8 p.m. Arrival. And we has stops not only upon wildlife sightings but also for water and freshly baked cookies. We had choices of hikes and activities right there in the park each day, with excellent naturalists, plenty of insect repellant comfortable facilities right on a river. The staff couldn't do enough for us, including 5 a.m wake-up knocks on the cabin doors on departure day, a hot breakfast on hand and, for the mornings we weren't leaving, hand-carrying the luggage to the bus to avoid awaking the rest of us; no rolling wheels. And, we saw Denali (Mt. McKinley) clearly each day, a rarity! This Lodge was a great investment of time and money.

Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Teresa B, Director of Sales at Denali Backcountry Lodge, responded to this review, June 28, 2013
Thank you for reviewing of our Denali Backcountry Lodge. We appreciate that you took the time to include so many nice details. We are delighted that you enjoyed your stay. Guests that spend 3 nights really get a chance to enjoy the backcountry experience. Our lodge bus into the park is a great upgrade over the park service offering and the home baked cookies make it even better. Thank you again.
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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 7 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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