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“Great place to stay!”
Review of Skyline Lodge

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Skyline Lodge
Reviewed July 10, 2012

We had a party of six ( ages 12-75) staying at the cabins for three nights in June 2012 and we had a great experience. The staff are very friendly and knowledgable. The food was served family style and was delicious. This is more of a "rustic" place to stay, but very comfortable, clean and a lot less than most of the other back country lodges. I highly recommend taking a flight to their lodge...we went over Denalis north side and several glaciers before landing at the lodge. Had the mountain been visible while we were there we would have taken another flight just to look at the mountain again. It was amazing and their pilots are top notch. Lots of great hiking and biking out the front door.

  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled with family
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3  Thank DCraven
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Greg L, Owner at Skyline Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded August 23, 2012

Dear DCraven,

Thanks for bringing the family together from all over the country for your Denali flight and stay with us at Skyline Lodge! Your group was a blast, and we enjoyed having you in the Kantishna neighborhood. Come back and see us!

The KAT crew

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66 - 72 of 84 reviews

Reviewed July 1, 2012

My partner and I stayed here for 3 nights in June 2012
We had a great flight in and out with KAT AIR and stayed at their lodge for a fraction of what the other kantishna lodges were charging.
Now as long as you read their website and know what to expect in terms of accommodation you will not be disappointed
The staff are exceptionally friendly and helpful, as well as being very knowledgable about the local area
The lodge is centrally located and the rooms are very comfortable
The dinners are all freshly cooked and served in a communal dining room. This was unexpectedly the best part of the stay for us as you got to chat and eat with fellow travelers as well as the staff and pilots
Book early as it looks like it is always full
P.s. one added bonus is there are far fewer Mosquitos then the lodges based by the river a HUGE plus!!

Stayed: June 2012, traveled as a couple
2  Thank sunlovinaussie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Greg L, Manager at Skyline Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded August 23, 2012

Dear sunlovinaussie,

Thanks for your review, and it was a pleasure to host the two of you from Australia during your Alaskan adventure! We're glad you had the chance to experience Denali from the air and the ground---especially without the mosquitos :)--as well as to share meals and comradeship with our crew and fellow travellers, alike. Good times. We look forward to seeing you on your next visit to Alaska!

The KAT Crew

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 10, 2011

I stayed for 1 night at the beautiful Skyline Lodge inside Denali National Park. The view from my room was stunning and I wish my stay was a bit longer (the rooms were all booked forthe following nights). This is by far the cheapest option to stay inside the park and the cost of 3 meals is included in the rent. The dinner is served at around 6:30 or so in the evening and breakfast/lunch is self-served. There are couple of nice hiking trails around the lodge and one can also take the Denali shuttle to see various places inside the park, while staying at Skyline lodge. The support staff of the lodge are very courteous & helpful and it was a very enjoyable experience to interact with them. All the pilots of the Kantishna Air also stay in this lodge and there can be nice social interactions, movie watching, etc in the evening hours. Finally, this is a much cheaper option to stay in the park, especially when compared with Kantishna Roadhouse of Denali Backcountry Lodge, etc.

  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled solo
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6  Thank PrasunChoudhury
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 2, 2011

Kantishna sits at the very end of the park road, an old mining town deep in the wilderness of Denali National Park. There are several places to stay in Kantishna; Skyline Lodge is much less costly than the others, and it's a great choice for independent-minded travelers.

There's plenty of day-hiking nearby with stunning views of the Alaska Range (weather-permitting).

The lodge itself has a main building and several separate cabins outside and down the steps. The only bathrooms are in the main lodge, so you'll need to walk a few steps outdoors to get there if nature calls at 3AM! In addition, there are relatively few bathrooms and showers, so you can expect a wait at peak times.

If that sounds unspeakably primitive to you, then this is not the place for you.

But if you're looking for something more civilized than camping, a hot shower and somebody else cooking (yummy) meals, with easy access to the remote wilderness without the constraints of a tour bus, all at a very good price (by in-season Alaska standards) then I highly recommend it.

Tip: the weather is unpredictable. Don't make your schedule depend on being able to fly in or out. You may need the bus as a backup plan; we did.

  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled with family
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5  Thank rwoodsco
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 27, 2011

We stayed at the Skyline Lodge for 2 nights. As many other reviewers have noted, the place exists mainly to provide a base of operations for the Kantishna Air Taxi service and the lodge is basically a sideline. However, they do a wonderful job of providing economical lodging at the end of the road in Denali.

There are no planned activities at the place and no organized tours. You have to do it yourself either on foot or on one of the bicycles that they have to loan. You also get to meet the pilots which is really neat and also the other guests. You also get to see how an air taxi service is run.

The staff is uniformly friendly who want you to enjoy yourself. If the enjoyment includes booking a tour on one of their flights, this will make both you and them happy. Unfortunately, we has low clouds and rain on the days that we were there so we could not fly.

The place is off the power grid so room amenities such as internet and lots of bright lights are limited but the rooms are clean and comfortable. None of the rooms have bathrooms - you have to go outside of the lodge house to the main house to use one of the 2 bathrooms. We did not find this a problem except for the one night when it rained. However, we knew about the bathroom situation when we booked so it was no surprise. After all, you are in Denali for the scenery, not to stay in your room or to surf the net.

As far as meals are concerned, breakfast and lunch is a do-it-yourself affair with lots of food available to make whatever you wish. Dinner is a one choice family style meal which everyone including the pilots share.

I would not have been able to afford to stay in any of the other fancy end-of-the-road lodges in Denali. The Skyline worked for us and I would recommend it to anyone.

The place has only a limited number of rooms and fills up quickly so book early on this one.

  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank donaldsc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 26, 2011

We are a group of experienced travelers. Nine of us from Hong Kong stayed one night in this lovely place at end of July. During the evening, four of us took flightseeing up Mt Mckinley. This is highly recommended as the sights up there are simply not visible from below. We also did the flight out, which we loved too.

We did see some wildlife on the way in, but they were all too far away to be of real interest. We did see Mt. Mckinley for a brief moment in the morning as well before it was quickly covered by heavy clouds. Honestly without Mt. Mckinley, Denali NP is not so attractive a place to go, relative for example to Grand Teton and Yellowstone. So flightseeing McKinely made the trip for us. And staying with Skyline Lodge is the best option inside Denali NP.

Photos from our trip, and particularly from the flightseeing can be found here:

http://meocre.smugmug.com/North-America/Alaska

I noted a previous review which says the people there were quiet and unfriendly. We found quite the opposite, bearing in mind that we are Chinese from Hong Kong! Sure, they were busy on other things, but were always friendly when approached and did address all our questions fully.

Before reaching there, our real concern was having to share bath. But there were 3 there, and so turned out to be a non-issue. Overall, we would recommend this place whole-heartedly.

  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled with friends
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3  Thank mkwli
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 4, 2011

We just returned from our 10-day trip to Alaska. We spent 3 days and 2 nights inside Kantishna at the Skyline Lodge. While we were booking our various lodgings, we debated whether or not to stay at Skyline or one of the more expensive options and based on the research that we have done, we decided to stay here. It proved to be a brilliant decision. Skyline is a remarkably comfortable and even luxurious place to stay in the middle of Denali. All their cabins have amazing views of the valley. One night (around 11:00pm), as the sun set, the entire lodge was basked in a breathtaking golden hue. Because the lodge only has a handful of rooms, we were the only one standing on the balcony enjoying this quiet moment.

The staff was extremely friendly, helpful, and fun. I played ping pong with pilots, shared a glass of wine with off-duty staff, and chatted with Marge the chef about her experience growing up in Fairbanks. The rooms are clean, well furnished, and quiet. There is no need to carry a key (no one locks his/her door). The beds are "super comf." There are three shared bathrooms (2 with showers) and an outhouse (all clean and the vents for the bathrooms provide all the audio-privacy one would need). The main building has three stories: the first floor has a communal dinning area, a kitchen, a bathroom, and a ping pong table. The second floor is where the main office resides and there is an observation area with binoculars and a telescope along with books and a bathroom. The third floor gallery contains Greg the owner's office, a bathroom, and a couple of pilot's rooms. Our cabin was no more than a 20 feet walk to the main building.

Every night, Marge prepared food for us and the pilots. Meals were $40/day/person which included not only dinner but also self-serve lunches and breakfasts. I was expecting no more than some soggy pasta a la classic cruise food for dinner but what we got was real homemade meals. I watched Marge as she read recipes and carefully prepared meals all afternoon. My wife is a vegetarian and Skyline accommodated her above and beyond the call of duty. On our first night, we had three different kinds of pasta dishes: a baked casserole, a linguine in lemon cream sauce, and a spicy red pasta sauce with ziti. Along with that, we had salads with homemade tahini lime dressing, homemade onion bread, and fresh baked cookies for dessert. On our second light, Marge prepared honey chicken, pan friend panko-covered halibut, steam vegetables, a quinoa salad, and mushroom and barley. There is nothing like hiking all day only to come back to a real meal.

For breakfast and lunch, we had the options to make sandwiches, chow down cereals, oatmeal, bread of all kinds, left-overs from the night before, fruits, granola bars, cookies, etc. Skyline does not have an alcohol license so we bought in a few bottles of wine. The lodge also provides accessories like pans for gold-panning down the road, hiking poles, free mountain bikes (that were in great shape!), laminated hiking maps, etc. They also have a key to Fannie Quigley's (a legendary miner from 1870-1944) house down the road. A staff gave us the key and directions to the house and we walked down there to explore it ourselves.

From our research, we did not expect to see a lot of wildlife but as we checked into the lodge, we spotted a giant cinnamon black bear about 1/4 mile away digging for food. Later that afternoon, as we were gathering ourselves for a quick hike, one of the staff ran out to tell us not to hike for the bear was literally across the road from us! We stood there watching it eat. We also saw ptarmigans and other birds, ground squirrels galore, and there were enough moose droppings to convince us that they were around.

Immediately surrounding the lodge are a dozen hiking trails ranging from easy to difficult. And Wonder Lake is a good 6 mile bike ride away (be warned, some of the hills to the lake are challenging even for regular bikers). One could spend a lot more time than we did and still not exhaust all the nearby activity options. In addition, since Skyline is first and foremost an air taxi service, one could sign up for any flightseeing tours (which are cheaper than their competitors). Alas, the three days we were there, Mt. McKinley was cloud-covered. However, the staff told us that residents of the lodge always have first dip if the weather proves ideal.

One of the most compelling reason to pick Skyline is the cost. Everything in Alaska is a bit more expensive but with some smart planning, one could minimize the bleeding. Compare Kantishna Roadhouse to Skyline for relatively similar arrangements, here are your numbers.

Kantishna Roadhouse costs $435 per person per night but it includes all the meals and the bus ride in and out with commentaries. They also provide guided tours while you are there along with sled dog demonstrations and other goodies. For two people staying at Kantishna for two nights, it would cost you $1740 (without tax).

A two-person cabin at Skyline costs $235 a night and meals are $40 per person per day. Add in the Kantishna Experience Tour ($159/person) that provides commentaries for the bus-ride in, it would cost you $948 (without taxes). Granted, you have to share bathrooms with the other cabins but ask yourself, is a private bath and sled dog demonstrations worth $800? What you get with Skyline is a sense of being in a seclusive cabin and not a tourist trap along with dozens of other people. For us, it was an easy choice.

The ride out to the entry of Denali is also taken care of by the Camper Bus route. The only bus that would take your luggage into Kantishna is the camper bus. If you choose the Kantishna Experience Tour, you can only bring a small carry-on type bag. We chose the camper bus which cost $30 or so. There was no running commentaries (indeed, our bus drivers ranged from stoic to mildly creepy). But, if you do your homework ahead of time, read up on the route, you can learn a great deal about the park and the route on your own. We saw 14 bears, countless caribous, moose, dall sheep, brown eagles, etc. to and fro Kantishna. I am not sure how much more we could have learned and seen having a guide on our bus.

Room Tip: Call in advance. Rooms are filled quickly.
See more room tips
  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled as a couple
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11  Thank WorldRunners
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Skyline Lodge

Address: Kantishna Air Taxi, PO Box 46, Denali National Park and Preserve, AK 99755-0046
Location: United States > Alaska > Denali National Park and Preserve
Hotel Style:
Ranked #8 of 26 Specialty Lodging in Denali National Park and Preserve
Number of rooms: 4
Also Known As:
Skyline Hotel Denali National Park And Preserve

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