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“An expensive mistake to stay here” 1 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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Hotel amenities
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Jersey, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“An expensive mistake to stay here”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed September 16, 2013

If you are looking for a safari style trip to see the park then this is not the place to stay. There are no facilities or activities for anyone with restricted mobility and the management and most staff totally ignore you if you cannot hike with them. On the long journey - 6 hours - to the lodge we were offered one can of coca-cola and a biscuit not even a bottle of water. Whilst the cabins were satisfactory the food was adequate but bland and served up canteen style with little choice, usually just meat or meat !! On the return journey we were dumped at the rail depot more than 2 hours before the train was due.
It was a very depressing place to stay tempered only by the sight of Mt. Mckinley and the fact that the tundra was in fall colours, if not it would have seemed even worse.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Christopher H, General Manager at Denali Backcountry Lodge, responded to this review, April 16, 2014
Todd,

Thank you for your feedback in regards to your experience during your stay at Denali Backcountry Lodge in 2013. We realize how vital your feedback is in allowing us to improve our business on a daily basis. I apologize that we were not able to meet or exceed your expectations during your stay with us.

We seek to exceed all guests’ expectations while they travel through the park with one of our knowledgeable driver guides. Each trip in and out of the park includes multiple stops for restrooms, snacks, photos, and scenery. Restrooms stops also include many snack and beverage items including: granola bars, fruit snacks, mixed nuts, crackers, fresh baked cookies, Coke, diet Coke, Sprite, diet Sprite, Dr Pepper, diet Dr Pepper, water, coffee, hot chocolate, hot apple cider, and hot tea.

In addition we make sure that we leave plenty of time to stop along the way as we see wildlife throughout the park. Moose, bears, wolves, caribou, and Dall sheep are the large animals that everyone enjoys seeing throughout the park. Each trip is highlighted by even the slightest glimpse of the largest mountain in North America, Mt. Denali (McKinley)!

The 2014 summer season promises to be fun and exciting as we welcome a new chef to our team. Food choices will be plentiful during each guests stay with fresh new soups, salads, and entrées to be served up at Denali Backcountry Lodge.

In addition we will continue to offer the same great activities that we have always offered, along with the added opportunity to relax with more family oriented games and activities for those who wish to relax during their stay at the lodge.

If you have any further concerns please contact me directly.

Thanks,

Christopher Hudson
Operations Manager – Denali Alaska Travel
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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187 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
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English first
Florida
Top Contributor
58 reviews 58 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
65 helpful votes 65 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 14, 2013

After a long bus trip through Denali National Park it was nice to get to the cabin, have a nice dinner and relax. The superior king cabin was comfortable and quiet with modern bathroom facilities despite its very remote location. The Lodge package includes all meals and snacks and some non-alcoholic drinks. The bus trip, the lodgings and the food do, however, cost a pretty penny! So, be advised that it was around $1,000 per night for this relaxing stopover. There were several opportunities for hiking and nature walks and a shuttle to Wonder Lake for excellent views of Mt. McKinley. We were fortunate to have several days of clear weather and "The Tall One" was on view every day. Food, service and bus operators were all excellent and friendly.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
Coventry, Connecticut
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 4, 2013

Well run facility- no frills, but staff was friendly & helpful. Food excellent. Weather was perfect- hikes & night programs informative. This would have a been a tough place in the rain. Long ride into there, but bus driver quite entertaining. Fortunately saw Mt. McKinley- big treat.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
St. Thomas
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2013

Finding the Denali Backcountry Lodge during one of our day hikes left us wishing that we had chosen to stay there. Bob and Eva were the most generous and gracious of hosts while providing information about the property. The cedar cabins looked awesome and the grounds were very well maintained. We will be back!. Scott & Lisa St. Thomas VI

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
nsw
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
29 hotel reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 1, 2013

after a 6 hour bus ride its good not to have to face the same journey back on the same day. however you do PAY for the privilege not returning the same day and getting the bus the next day.
Maybe I didn't research enough on this one, but I had expected better views from the lodge, but you had to take a ride back in the shuttle and hike to the lake to get any views of Mt McKinley.
The cabins are comfortable and the staff are friendly and helpful, but unless you stay a while there is not all that much you can fit in before the bus out the next day, you can get one hike in in the morning.
If you are short on time and don't want to ride the bus for 12 hours, then consider flying out, it is less expensive than staying the night at the lodge.
Also consider the National Park buses, we thought they may have been too crowded but there seemed to be plenty of them and they weren't overcrowded

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
Melbourne, Australia
Top Contributor
68 reviews 68 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
54 helpful votes 54 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 1, 2013

We have been reading the August reviews, well we must have been in a slightly different place! At $1,000 a night, you have to stay 2 or you would arrive after 8pm and leave at 6am. OK, we were happy to do that, a once in a lifetime stay as others state. We expected too much maybe? I don't think so! There were 18 of us independent travellers who arrived on the bus, about 8pm. Went to our cabins, all quite nice but I'm sure I was shown independent cabins when we booked, not a long row of wooden rooms. For $1,000 a night I do expect to have a nice meal at the end of the day - not bay marie food, kept warm, ready & waiting for us to help ourselves! Dessert was no better, sponge cake for goodness sake! Don't tell me they are a long way from supplies, the driver said 100 buses a day go in and out of the park. Yes, the girls were great and we did have a lovely walk to Wonder Lake, but then the rain came & came & came. No one can help that, so some of us thought we'd go to the lounge room, have a drink and sit around the fire - comments - "the bar isn't open" - "the fire is broken" - "we don't know how to light the fire" - so we went back to our rooms until the evening meal. The Sou Chef (What does this mean?) grandly announced his latest delights & left, all again in heated bay maries, this time I think we had frozen veg, tough pork, lumpy mashed potatoes & spiced sponge cake for dessert.
The morning we were to leave, everyone was on board at 6am as required, we all sat quietly waiting, waiting, waiting, eventually the driver turned up, told us we shouldn't be on the bus before he's warmed it up. He told us he was retired - big deal - he said he had to warm the engine up and he hadn't even loaded the luggage. To add insult to injury a family of 5 wanted to fly out but due to the weather (which was terrible) couldn't - so they all held us up even more by not wanting to go on the bus. Finally, about 45 mins later we were off. On the way in we had hot drinks, 3 toilet stops and all was sweet and lovely, on the way out it seemed it was OUR fault we were running late, so one short toilet stop, a biscuit each and nothing to drink. Fortunately we had water but others had nothing, expecting a stop for a drink as we did coming in. Seems there were cans of drink loaded but not issued. A guest on the bus asked for a drink stop, twice & was totally ignored by the driver. We knew we would be woken at 5am to be ready for the bus leaving 6am but when the driver arrives unhappy then blames the guests for the late arrival at Denali to get the train, it's just not good enough. I am writing to Denali Back Country Lodge and Alaska Denali Travel once we are home. By what others have written I really think we were given shoddy treatment, several others were to make complaints and hopefully they will add their notes to this site as promised. Arriving in to Denali & taking the 12.30pm train meant most of us had not had a drink since 5.30am, just not good enough at - I say again - $1,000 a night!

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
El Paso, Illinois
Top Contributor
221 reviews 221 reviews
28 hotel reviews
Reviews in 96 cities Reviews in 96 cities
174 helpful votes 174 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 29, 2013 via mobile

The views, the area, the trails, the atmosphere in and around the Backcountry Lodge will not be found elsewhere. That said, you need to understand that this is NOT a high end hotel. No Internet, tv, cell service, hair dryer. The food is average but plentiful. The lodge rooms are all you need but not large and what you find in them is minimal. This is not the Hyatt. You won't find your favorite soaps or shampoos. You will find a bar of soap and a bottle if shampoo/ conditioner. You may or may not get the kind of room you requested. We did not.
The guides for the most part are college grads out for a one year adventure. While knowledgeable enough, they are not especially invested in the area or your safety. Our guide left one person alone on the trail for over half an hour. Our suggestion is to remember that your safety is your responsibility not theirs.
Backcountry Lodge has great potential. Not sure they have achieved what they should for the price you pay.

  • Stayed August 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.

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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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