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“Big ripoff”

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Kantishna Roadhouse
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed November 6, 2013

I booked two nights (mandatory minimum) at the Kantishna Roadhouse for the third week in August of this year. A single room for two people was nearly $1000 per night, all food included. First the website talks about their comfortable shuttle bus....it's an old school bus which you ride for 6 1/2 hours over a rutted, mostly one-lane road. We got to the lodge around 7 PM. The room was comfortable enough but completely devoid of amenities except shampoo, soap and towels. No phone, no clock, no coffee pot, no TV. Biggest disappointment was the food, barely edible for $970 per night. Would not recommend to anyone.

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled as a couple
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7  Thank nfuller2039
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed September 19, 2013

This is wilderness like most of us don't get to experience. And with it is good food, very good service from interesting people with some activities. The bus ride in is like getting a degree in the outdoors. Kirsty has been driving this road for a long time and has an interesting relationship with her bus Charley. Her narration is great with a lot for everybody. It is a long ride! She made stops regularly for stretching, short walks and bathroom breaks.
Wonder Lake is only three miles from the Roadhouse and there are things to do around the lodge. We found the dog sled talk and demonstration very interesting, I was not inclined to go but glad I did. Unfortunately the ride out was a little hurried becasue the rail road wants us at the station very early for the train to Anchorage (waste of our time). This meant we only got a moving drive bu of the best views of dall sheep on the whole trip. We saw moose, fox, grizzlies, caribou, birds, fantastic fall colors, marmot, grey skies and clouds. It's a long ride but worth it.

Room Tip: We were in cabin 4 and it was a great location, especially when it rained.
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  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Jim R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 19, 2013

We took the time to make the 6-7 hour one way bus ride from the entry of the Denali National Park to the proverbial end of the road to stay at the Kantishna Roadhouse for 2 nights in September of 2013. The ride in/out itself is a wonderful experience with great views, ample stops and abundant wild life viewing.
The accommodations, food and service at the roadhouse are great and in step with the environment.
The Roadhouse offers great hiking, biking and fly-out opportunities.
Worth a stay of more than 2 days!
Found that September is a great time to visit Denali: no mosquitos, brilliant colors, not crowded

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Frans J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 14, 2013

Kantishna Roadhouse is a miniature version of the grand lodges in parks such as Yellowstone and The Grand Canyon. It consists of a main building, some 40 duplex cabins, and outbuildings, including a rescue shelter for sled dogs.

The main building has a reception area, a comfortable lobby, a gift shop, two dining rooms, and a decent bar. Breakfast and lunch are served buffet style. Evening meals are served family style and offer a vegetarian option. The food is more like home cooking than gourmet restaurant fare. Service is prompt. The staff is friendly and attentive. The bar is stocked with Alaskan Brewery's beers on tap and a good selection of spirits.

Cabins are small and rustic, but they are comfortable and clean. Pegs on the wall serve as closets. The plumbing works well. Heating can be a problem. The small baseboard heater in our cabin was not up to the chill in the early Autumn air, but the staff promptly brought a portable radiator to the cabin, thereby keeping us comfortable.

The Roadhouse offers a number of activities. Guides lead hikes of varying levels of challenge. There are trails to walk without a guide. The Roadhouse provides fishing tackle at no charge if you care to do some angling. A flightseeing service is available for a fee. You can learn how to pan for gold. Not to be missed is a dogsled demo featuring the dogs in the shelter and Emmitt Peters, Jr, son of a famous Iditarod champion.

The Roadhouse campus itself is only part of a visit there. The Roadhouse is located deep in the remote back country of Denali National Park, literally at the end of the road. It is reachable only by a bus ride of six or seven hours from the park entrance. The ride itself is an experience in itself. The drivers are expert guides that can keep your attention for the entire ride. Wildlife sightings are frequent, and the bus stops for every one. On our ride we saw moose, ptarmigans, Dall sheep, grizzlies, an owl, a golden eagle, and a pair of swans. The ride also commands a good view of the majestic Alaska Range, including Denali, the highest peak in North America. Unfortunately, clouds obscure the range most of the time. We were told that only 10% of the visitors get a view of some part of Denali, and only 5% get a glimpse of the summit. We were among that lucky 5%. Also worth noting is that the bus schedule is such that you can connect with the Alaska Railroad Denali Star out of Anchorage on your outbound journey and return.

A few tips.

The end of the season is a good time to go. Fall colors are at their peak, and the mosquitos are gone. Summer is probably not a good time to go.

If you take pictures, bring a camera that has panorama and telephoto capabilities. Only a panorama can come close to capturing the grandeur of the mountains. Many of the animals that you'll see will be some distance from the road.

For this reason, bring a pair of field glasses.

Be aware that the weather in Denali Park can change in an instant. Bring an umbrella and a little patience.

Room Tip: Check the heater in your room as soon as you arrive.
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  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Henry H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 6, 2013

The narrated five hour bus ride from Denali rail depot to the roadhouse is the highlight of the journey. Kirsty had a wonderful sense of humor and keen eye identifying the wildlife. My suggestion is to sit on the driver’s side on the way to Kantishna.
The Kantishna Roadhouse itself is not a reason to visit Denali backcountry. The accommodations were clean and comfortable but consider bringing earplugs if you are a light sleeper. The quality of the meals was quite random. The hot breakfast although plentiful was lukewarm at best. You are assigned to a table at dinner limiting your ability to meet other guests. The servers were rather distant. The bartender John was either eccentric or grouchy. However, after a long summer season that is understandable. The front desk staff was most friendly and helpful as were the guides. You have the option of going on guided hiking tours or head out on your own.
Due to fog in the valley we were unable to fly from the Roadhouse with Kantishna Air Taxi. Matt met with us the night before to present options of getting to our destination in Anchorage. Ultimately we took the Roadhouse bus again to the rail depot and Andy flew us to Anchorage saving eight hours on the train. Andy also was most professional and friendly. If you are planning to fly from Kantishna be sure to ample time to make connections.
Two or three nights at the Roadhouse is probably optimal.

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank Checkerberry
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 5, 2013

...IS the end of the road, well almost! As part of a 3 week active vacation in Alaska my husband and I booked 3 nights at the Roadhouse and I'm glad we did, because this place is REMOTE. Having 2 full days there off set the very lengthy bus ride( 7hours?) through the park, so I would not advise taking the ( uncomfortable ) bus in, spending a few hours, then turning around and going out. The setting is lovely and the staff welcoming and enthusiastic, but the accommodations and food, as mentioned in other reviews, were average at best. We enjoyed terrific weather on our entire visit and the "national bird" the mosquito wasn't as pesky and prevalent as we had been told would be the case. The Roadhouse does offer guests netted mosquito hats to use for hikes as well as walking sticks so you can be ready for anything. Seeing the massive, beautiful interior of the national park is the call of the Kantishna Roadhouse so go on, head on in to the end of the road, because a few days cut off from all your toys turns out to be very relaxing.

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with friends
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2  Thank KateLosGatos
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 4, 2013

You are 92 miles inside Denali National park . On your way in you see abundant wildlife . Bears, moose, caribou, sheep and views that last forever. When you et to the roadhouse, you are greeted with a meal and a friendly staff. All meals are included along with fly fishing panning for gold, guided hikes and watching the dog sled in action. The food was good The rooms were clean & the beds were comfortable.t was a very nice 2 days

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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2  Thank abbiesmom9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Kantishna Roadhouse

Address: 1 Doyon Pl # 300, Denali National Park and Preserve, AK 99701-2941
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Alaska > Denali National Park and Preserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #6 of 25 Specialty Lodging in Denali National Park and Preserve
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Kantishna Roadhouse 2.5*
Number of rooms: 32
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Kantishna Roadhouse is a backcountry lodge resort in the heart of Denali National Park. Comfortable well-appointed cabin lodging, all-inclusive experience. Enjoy abundant activities including daily guided hikes, gold panning with expert guides, mountain biking, & fly-fishing for Arctic Grayling in Moose Creek. For those that choose to stay in camp for the day, our comfortable natural history library, cozy lobby, or outdoor screened-in porch -- offer pleasant alternatives. This is a true Alaskan adventure in one of the most beautiful national parks in the world. The transportation to and from the resort is half the fun. Our buses gives you the opportunity to see abundant wildlife in its natural setting, including grizzly bears, wolves, moose, caribou, dall sheep, among other critters. Kantishna Roadhouse is the only resort in the backcountry with a bar/saloon. Sip wine on the banks of the Moose River while you take in a beautiful sunset by the fire. Enjoy activities and relaxation. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Kantishna Roadhouse Hotel Denali National Park And Preserve

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