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“What a fabulous place!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Kennicott Glacier Lodge

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Kennicott Glacier Lodge
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2.5 of 5 Lodge   |   #15 Kennicott Millsite, Kennicott, Wrangell-St Elias National Park and Preserve, AK 99588   |  
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Naperville, Illinois
Top Contributor
63 reviews 63 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 36 cities Reviews in 36 cities
41 helpful votes 41 helpful votes
“What a fabulous place!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 16, 2008

We flew into Kennicott from Chitina on our 25th wedding anniversary, what a wonderful experience! We were met by a van which transported us to Kennicott Glacier Lodge, and then went to our room. What a fabulous view, and an all around wonderful experience! My husband had arranged to have Joanne place a poster size picture of our wedding photo on the wall to surprise me on our anniversary. I was very touched by his planning, and Joanne, who went above and beyond for us. Dinner was to be served at 7 PM, we walked around the grounds to familiarize ourselves with this great place, and registered for a glacier hike in the morning with the Kennicott Wilderness Guides. Dinner was superb-grilled NY strip steak, baked potatoes, salad, fresh baked bread and vegetables. Another surprise-a special cake for our table which read "Happy 25th Anniversary." Chocolate layer cake was also served as dessert to everyone. There is so much history to view and learn about in this area-it was really great. Breakfast was buffet style, and very good. Meal plans are available and were a great deal-we took a sack lunch with us on our glacier walk. Everyone on staff there went above and beyond to make us feel welcome and special. We stayed 2 nights, I would have liked to stay at least 1 or 2 more nights, just to experience everything else that was available. We took a history hike with Terry, who is also a professor in Montana. He was a wealth of knowledge about Kennicott and McCarthy, and an all around nice guy also. I highly recommned this place and everything it has to offer.

  • Liked — Everything!!
  • Disliked — That I had to leave
  • Stayed July 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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154 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (44)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Philadelphia, PA
Top Contributor
545 reviews 545 reviews
347 hotel reviews
Reviews in 346 cities Reviews in 346 cities
717 helpful votes 717 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 7, 2008

The previous review does a great job summarizing this Lodge, so I won't repeat the information. Kennecott is a great destination for active, non-fussy tourists, and if you are one you will like this place a lot. Alas, Kennecott is not quite as nice as it was a decade or so ago (the glacier has receded and the historic mine district no longer feels "undiscovered"), but it's still pretty darn scenic and historically interesting. There is also an excellent chance of seeing moose or bear in the area. The Lodge blends in well with its surroundings and you probably won't be as annoyed with the lack of an in-room bathroom as you think you will (and you can now pay extra to get those comforts in the new building next door).

Let me focus on the logistics of visiting here. Many guests fly in and this is not a bad option for flight-seeing, but it is darn expensive. The dirt road is much better than its reputation and the odds that you will have problems are extremely low. You can easily average 30 mph, so it takes about 2 hours and is quite scenic (following the old railroad route).

Once you arrive, a van will take you a quarter mile from the parking lot, and you'll cross the river on a foot bridge. Another van will then take you the 4 miles up to the historic mine town and the lodge.

The hotel offers 2 nights for 1 using the coupon in the Alaska Toursaver book and this is a great value. This offer does not include meals, which can be expensive. Dinner is family style and ranges from $30 to $34. You probably will want local Copper River salmon, but they only offer that 1 night a week. In general, the food is good but not fantastic. If not on the meal plan, I would try to bring some non-
perishable food (no refrigerators, but you can get a small ice bucket) to nibble on. Lunch is probably the best value meal at the hotel for some inexplicable reason. The only other food options are in the historic town of McCarthy which is near the foot bridge and 4 1/2 miles away. Unfortunately, the hotel only offers free transport when arriving and departing, and the local shuttle bus is $5 per person each way (you can sometimes catch the free hotel shuttle at least one-way if it's running someone to the bridge or airport). McCarthy food options aren't great, but "The Potato" (a converted food truck) offers good salmon burgers and great fries at decent prices.

In general, I would recommend 2 nights at this hotel and then moving on to other Alaska adventures.

Stayed July 2008
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Atlanta
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 24, 2008

Kennicott (the place itself) isn't for everybody. For one thing, it's difficult to get to . The choices are a bumpy 60 mile gravel road or a small plane ride between huge mountains.

But, after being herded around Denali , Prince William Sound and Talkeetna with the Princess Lodge crowd, it was wonderful. It's full of people from all over the world, most of them independent travelers in their 40's and 50's, many of them European. They come here to hike, which is good, because there isn't much else to do. The family-style seating at dinner seemed forced and overly folksy at first, but soon everybody is laughing and telling stories, the people are interesting, and it's nice to feel like you know your "neighbors" when you run into them.

The food was much better than I expected it to be; one night we had Copper River salmon (the Copper River runs through Chitna.) Wine and beer are not included in the meal plan, though, and are expensive.

We had a room in the South Wing, which was clean and delightfully comfortable, with surprising water pressure and plenty of hot water (rare in back country Alaska, or so I've heard). Since this lodge is pretty much the only space in Kennicott besides the old mine -- the closest bar and restaurant are four miles away in McCarthy -- the setting wouldn't be of much interest to anyone who isn't comfortable hiking in the mountains (and the "easy to moderate" Root Glacier trail is mis-classified, IMHO -- parts of it would be a real challenge to older people)!

If your requirements include a phone, TV, radio, cell service or internet, this isn't the place for you. There aren't even any clocks in the rooms. The idea is to Get Away.

The view is astounding -- huge mountains, the toe of the Root Glacier (which is moraine, incidently, in front of the lodge, and looks like heaps of dirt more than the ice just beneath it). The air is the purest I've ever breathed, the weather tends to be warmer and drier than other parts of Alaska, and most of the staff works hard to make the guests happy. One of the managers, JoAnne, seems to have some Issues and was somewhat rude and snappy, but that was the only sour note, and not that big a deal, really.

In summary, if you are at least moderately physically fit, not expecting to party, willing to work a little to get there, and ready for some of the most astounding views on earth, this place, and Inn, are perfect.

One of the locals told us that there is talk of paving the Chitna-McCarthy road, which would change, well, everything; I hope it doesn't happen, hope that Kennicott doesn't become just another Princess-line "destination," but, as these things go, it wouldn't surprise me. See it this way while you still can.

  • Liked — the setting
  • Disliked — not much to do at night
  • Stayed June 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Lincoln UK
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 16, 2008

Having flown into McCarthy from Chitina, we were met by a friendly 'bus-driver' at the airstrip and taken straight up to the lodge. Check-in was the easiest I've ever seen, I wasn't asked for reservation confirmation, card or anything else, just shown directly to the room.

Our room on the first-floor of the South Lodge was ensuite and had access to the huge veranda running along the front of the lodge. The views of the mountains and the glacier from the room were wonderful. The room was well appointed, clean and warm. The bed was very comfortable and window blinds were provided to keep out the almost constant daylight. No TVs here - how good is that!

We stayed on the tourist rate which included all meals. Meals were taken in the Main Lodge, a 2 minute walk away. Breakfast was an excellent buffet with a good range of hot and cold food. Lunch was a free choice (just about) from the lunch menu, whilst dinner was a set meal. The food was of a very high standard and delicious. The only thing we paid for were alcoholic drinks.

All the staff, without exception, were friendly, helpful and always smiling.

I can't recommend this hotel highly enough, but book well in advance, they have a very short season and only accommodate 50 guests at a time.

Stayed May 2008
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So Cal
Top Contributor
135 reviews 135 reviews
75 hotel reviews
Reviews in 79 cities Reviews in 79 cities
90 helpful votes 90 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 10, 2008

The lodge is pretty remote, with two ways to get there: 100 miles of really bad gravel/dirt road, or small plane. We chose to go by small plane from the airport in Chitna. Chitna itself is relatively remote, but you can get there by paved roads. We parked at the Chitna airport, and left all our "stuff" in the car, except what we needed for 2 days. The flight over and back was absolutely spectacular!!

The lodge is located near the Kennecott copper mine, a couple of miles from the very small town of McCarthy.

The lodge on the slope of a mountain, with a glacier feeding into the valley. It is a terrific setting. All the mining buildings are abandoned, and there is a very informative tour of the mining town.

The lodge itself consists of an old main lodge and a new section that is a separate building about 100 yards away from the main lodge. Many of the people riding from the airport to the lodge expressed a desire to stay in the "old" lodge. I didn't get a good look at the rooms in the "old" lodge, but the rooms appeared to all have lavatories, and share a bathroom down the hall. In the new building, the rooms had private baths.

Dining is in the main lodge, family style. Many of the servers were from europe, and were working there for the summer. The food was excellent.

Upon leaving, I accidentally left a gortex parka at the lodge. I called them the following day, and they mailed it to my home.

In summary, the stay was very comfortable, the food was good, and the staff was top notch. Touring the mining town and hiking were great.

  • Liked — Comfort of the room, the view, the meals
  • Stayed July 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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London, UK
Senior Contributor
43 reviews 43 reviews
28 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
53 helpful votes 53 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 14, 2007

The hotel is so so in that the rooms are quite noisy and the rooms in the main building don't offer ensuite facilities, but overall we loved the experience and it is the feel of the place that makes it. Being in a noisy building, having to share facilities almost helps to take you back to the mining days and as such adds to the experience. The staff is extremely friendly and the food quite good too. Food is served 'family style' (i.e. you eat with fellow guests on long tables in one sitting) and although I initially didn't like this idea, it is actually quite nice to meet some people over dinner and swap travel stories and experiences. It is not cheap, but I would say it is worth spending 2 or 3 nights here if you want to chill out a bit in the middle of a holiday in which you are travelling around extensively.

  • Liked — The overall experience
  • Disliked — noisy rooms, but adds to the experience as makes you relive the mining days
  • Stayed September 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
San Antonio, TX
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
86 helpful votes 86 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 17, 2006

This was a really neat lodge and worth the cost if you can swing it. Though built only about 12 years ago, but was based on an earlier structure from the first half of the 20th century and has lots of period décor. The view from the front porch of the lodge is spectacular with a glacier coming down the valley right in front of the lodge and incredible snow-covered mountains all around. The rooms are small but serviceable, with shared bathrooms and showers located at various points on each floor. The rooms do have a sink. If you purchase the vacation package, the meals are included, which if you eat at the lodge restaurant, ends up paying for itself. However, they also advertise that a tour of the Kennicott Mill is included in the vacation package, implying that it is the St. Elias Alpine Guides Mill tour. It is actually just an evening walk that anyone staying at the lodge can do where the hotel staff takes you around the town and not into the Mill itself. Other than this, I have mostly positive comments about this lodge. The staff was helpful and took time to remember your name. The food was wonderful, and the dinner dishes were comparable to some higher end restaurants. Dining room seating is reserved for guests at long tables so you get to sit with and meet other guests to share conversation and experiences. If you will be out for the day, they can prepare a sack lunch if you tell them the night before. They will also get you setup with the local outfitters for various activities, even making calls for you if necessary. We changed our flight-seeing trip time, and they took care of letting them know we were coming. To get around, they have a large van that runs to the McCarthy bridge. Since it takes some time, its best to schedule with the desk in advance when you want to go somewhere. However, they can give you discount tickets on the local commercial shuttle service (Wrangell Mountain Bus) if you need to go somewhere at a different time. If you arrive by car, you can call them from a free phone at the foot bridge and park your car for free at the St. Elias Alpine Guides office about ¾ miles back up the road (the St. Elias guides will shuttle you down to the bridge.) All in all, I think this was a great place to stay.

  • Liked — Incredible location, great food and service, historic location
  • Disliked — Expensive
  • Tips/Secrets — Stay in the main lodge rather than the south building.
  • Stayed August 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
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Additional Information about Kennicott Glacier Lodge

Address: #15 Kennicott Millsite, Kennicott, Wrangell-St Elias National Park and Preserve, AK 99588
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Alaska > Wrangell-St Elias National Park and Preserve > Kennicott
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Specialty Lodging in Kennicott
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Kennicott Glacier Lodge 2.5*
Number of rooms: 34
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Kennicott Glacier Lodge is a family owned lodge located in America's largest National Park, Wrangell-St. Elias. Try glacier hiking or ice climbing on the Root Glacier, one of the few easily accessible glaciers in North America. Get a breath taking view of the park on a flightseeing tour, or spend time alpine hiking, river rafting, and exploring the National Historic Landmark of the Kennicott Copper Mine. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Kennicott Glacier Hotel Kennicott

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