This was actually my third visit to the Backcountry Lodge, but the first since the management changed. I was curious as to how the property had changed since my other visits. I actually found relatively few changes, but what there were were generally improvements. The biggest change is in the food service. On my prior visits the meals were adequate but offered little in the way of choice; the meal they planned was what you got. Now there are multiple choices of entrees and sides and one is completely free to mix and match them or eat a bit of everything (meals are included in the price). The quality of the food is also improved, particularly the breakfasts, and is now much better than adequate. (Incidentally, for those to whom it matters, the new owners do not have religious objections to beef like the old owners did, so it is now available as well.) It's now someplace I would eat out as a special treat. The dining room and lounge in the main lodge have been renovated and have new furniture. The property remains well maintained and the rooms are comfortable and clean as always. And, of course, Alaska is still Alaska and the surrounding wilderness still provides all the recreational and scenic possibilities it always did. This visit we went blueberry picking as well as hiking. Mountain biking and fishing are also available.
The one complaint I have does not really relate to the lodge itself but to the website. The owners are doing themselves a major disservice with this website. There is no description of the lodge itself. There are no pictures, either of the exterior or of the inside of the rooms. Views of the local scenery are great, but at the price of this property I would be very leery of visiting without seeing what the lodge and rooms were like, assuming I was a first time visitor.
Incidentally, about the price, it cannot be overemphasized that this lodge is at the end of a ninety mile dirt road, usually about a car and a half wide. Everything for the lodge has to come in over this road in the back of one of the converted school buses the lodge owns, and the beginning of this dirt road is already over 200 miles from Anchorage. Once one considers the logistical problems of supplying and maintaining this property, and considering that the price includes all meals and all activities (except flightseeing) the price for a stay here becomes much more understandable. This is the wilderness, folks. There is no cell phone service and no internet. There is only quiet.
- 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