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“A great escape”

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Denali Backcountry Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
New Castle, Delaware
Level 6 Contributor
112 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
“A great escape”
Reviewed July 17, 2011

What a place to escape too with no outside distractions it is a place to unwind and defrag. There is no telephone service, no televisions, no internet, nor radio this is a place to go and completely escape the world. Just sit back and enjoy what nature has to offer. Take the nature tour with Ryan and enjoy tasting native plants and berries. Take a hike, but do not forget the bear spray, nor much needed mosquito spray, or sit by the fire and relax. Great staff and good food limited bar.

Room Tip: Get the room on moose creek
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  • Stayed July 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank walkerbail
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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324 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (85)
Date | Rating
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English first
Naples, Florida
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed July 11, 2011

It's been about a year since we visited Denali Backcountry Lodge. We started our journey from Anchorage via motorcoach. Any morning grogginess was soon replaced by the driver's enthusiasm and the wonderful scenery along the way. At last, a view of Mt. McKinley, or Denali, as we head the mountain called, beckoning us to come closer.

Upon arriving at the entrance to Denali National Park, we transferred to a smaller bus and continued on our six-hour journey to Denali Backcountry Lodge (DBL). Our driver was also a wildlife biologist, who was an excellent spotter. We were fortunate to have a day of full sunshine and saw five grizzly bears (blonde in the summer), Dall sheep high in the mountain, caribou, a wolf, moose, gyr falcon, golden eagle, and trumpet swan. And of course, Denali, in full view.

DBL is set in a valley, so we could get a "bird's eye view" of the lodge and cabins set amidst trees with Moose Creek flowing right next to the property. If you are longing for a tranquil atmosphere, this may be just what you are seeking.

The cabins are cozy; meals are shared with fellow guests who exchange stories and travel tips; hiking opportunities are based on one's experience level.

We took the the early morning six-mile hike to McKinley Bar. Although we didn't see much wildlife, we saw lots of beautiful wildflowers-amazing after such harsh winters.

Other activities while we stayed: Visited Wonder Lake, toured Annie Quigly's cabin, went to a yoga class, heard Carl Tokin of the National Geographic speak of his 45-day Alaskan adventure, read journal entries from previous guests, panned for gold in the icy waters of Moose Creek, soaked in the beauty of the scenery while sitting in a porchside rocker with a glass of wine.

We stayed for three nights.

Minuses: Lunches could have been "kicked up a notch" in quality. The shower in the cabin was a bit snug. The bus ride out left at 6:00 am.

Tips: Allow extra time to explore what the park entrance has to offer. Bring full rain gear. If you are coming from a southern climate, bring layers of clothing. Don't expect your cell phone to work. Hope that the rains stay away so you can enjoy the outdoor activities.

At DBL we found a staff of helpful, friendly people, an opportunity to meet fellow travelers from different parts of the globe, and a chance to experience a beautiful part of Denali National Park that I will always remember.

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank LifeofJourney
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Level 6 Contributor
253 reviews
40 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 147 helpful votes
Reviewed July 11, 2011

We stayed at this property for two nights at a cost of $500/night per person. No phone, no cellphone, no internet, no wi-fi. There aren’t even room-to-room or room-to-lodge phones. Included in the price are two six hour tours (one in to the park, and one back). You are picked up at the train station in the early afternoon and taken on a 6 hour tour of Denali Park while driving to the lodge. Tip: When they say they provide lunch - they do not. They provide hot and cold beverages, some cookies and granola bars, so packing your own lunch is recommended. Your tour guide is your bus driver. On our way into the park, our guide was lovely, pointing out particular views, wildlife, interesting facts about the history of the area. On our way back, the driver seemed most interested in being the first bus out, as if he needed to win some kind of race, and that was the topic of his talk for most of the ride. Not kidding.

You arrive in time for a late dinner, served family style. They did accommodate our vegetarian requests (although our meals were served later than everyone else’s) and the gluten-free meal for one of our party. The food was mid-level catering hall - nothing special. And as others have pointed out - for that price they should include soft drinks for free!

There are two hikes offered every day - one morning and one afternoon. They offer three levels of difficulty: casual, medium and challenging. I go to the gym 3 times a week and casual was challenging for me. I would advise against the challenging walk unless you were an experienced outdoor enthusiast.

We skipped the tour in the morning and instead went flight-seeing (not included). We were blessed to have a clear day - very rare during the Alaskan summer - and we have prized photos from that flight. The flight-seeing outfit used by the lodge offered tours that were literally HALF THE PRICE of those offered at the McKinley Chalet lodge. The flight was outstanding - a highlight of our trip. We’re glad we waited.

The facility itself was not unpleasant. The beds were comfortable, there was a lovely view of Moose Creek from our window, and best of all - there was a ceiling fan which came in handy.

A word to the wise: The place was unbelievably buggy. I walked around with a mosquito netting hat the entire stay. The hat was thoughtfully provided by the lodge. I also brought mosquito netting from home and put it over my bed.

We found the staff to be friendly and helpful. The tour guides were all native English speakers. The waitstaff was primarily foreign students in for the summer with impeccable English.

Here is a key piece of information: The day you leave, you are awakened with a knock on your door at 5AM. Breakfast is at 5:30 and you and your luggage are on the bus at 6:10 AM. So if you are only staying one night, you will not be able to avail yourself of any of the lodge facilities like the tours. Why blow $500 per person per night for that? Better to take a day trip into and out of the park.

If you are staying two or more nights another tip: at the breakfast buffet, prepare a few peanut butter sandwiches for the road - there will be nowhere on the six hour trip back to purchase lunch.

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank nydolly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fairbanks, Alaska
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed July 4, 2011

We stayed at Denali Backcountry Lodge in Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska. We spent two nights, but wish we could have spent more. The guides and workers were more than happy to help with any questions we had. The general manager made a trail recommendation that was fabulous. It was called Quigley Ridge. The trail was about 4 or 5 miles long but the first stretch was rather steep. We took some short breaks on the way up but when we reached the summit of the ridge line we were able to see the peak of Denali, or Mt. McKinley. It was amazing. I highly recommend this trail to anyone who likes the outdoors and doesn't mind the climb of about 1500 ft. The lodge was immaculate and the people very friendly. Only bad thing? The mosquitoes. They provide head nets and bug spray but wear light colored clothes as this helps too. I would go back in a heart beat if I could. Thanks!!

  • Stayed June 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank cowkid89
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Miami, Florida
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed June 22, 2011

Just back from a few days at the Back Country Lodge, which does not live up the the advertised hype. This is a one-star property with bad food and very limited outdoor options (only one hiking trip per day for those who seek more than a brief stroll around the property). For the price, they offer almost nothing to eat, drink, or do that would not be available at the average highway rest stop. They also charge extra for simple things like soda and beer. The setting is beautiful, some of the guides are friendly, and the spartan rooms are clean, but the manager Tara is abrasive and unhelpful and most of her staff follows her lead. Spend your (over) $500/night per person somewhere else.

  • Stayed June 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank lolamutt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed June 4, 2011

This place was a joke! As a local Alaskan, who has camped and stayed at other lodges in Denali, this was by far the WORST experience I have ever had.90% of the staff was from a foreign country. With our US economy as bad as it is, why not hire staff from AK or at least the US. We might have been able to communicate with the staff then. Overpriced, bad food and less than honest representation will certainly keep me from returning or recommending this property to anyone else.

  • Stayed July 2010
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
9 Thank AKAdventureForever
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Babenhausen, Germany
Level 6 Contributor
129 reviews
57 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 96 helpful votes
Reviewed December 27, 2010

we stayed at the lodge 4 years ago, and we still talked about coming back, because we enjoyed the stay very much. The cabin was very good, the food also - we liked the idea of sitting all together at big tables to share the dayly impressions. The food itself was like family cooking. What we don't do the next time is staying the first night before driving into the park in the connected inn near the entrance.

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Ducky0606
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

Property: 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:2.5 star — Denali Backcountry Lodge 2.5*
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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