Cross the suspended footbridge from Denali Backcountry Lodge and the vast expanse of Denali National Park plays out before you. The lodge is set in an isolated position and offers rustic cabins, great wildlife sightings and the option to pan for gold.
Alaska's original wilderness lodge and nature retreat, Camp Denali is one of only two properties that have views of Mount Denali and the Alaska Range. The lodge is owned and managed by the Cole family who hold a rare permit to lead guided activities in the higher alpine valleys of the park.
The historic log lodge has an inviting wood-burning stove and large windows that offer panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. There are 18 individual, hand-hewn cabins, all of which have a wood-burning stove, Alaskan artwork and colourful patchwork quilts but no running water. A central shower block is just a short walk away.
The lodge's garden supplies fresh fruit and vegetables and the food on offer includes wild berry preserves, greenhouse lettuces, freshly-baked breads and desserts. Special diets can be accommodated and although alcohol is not served, you are welcome to take your own. Breakfast and dinner are served around one table, while lunch is often a picnic.
The staff of naturalists assist guests to search for wildlife and wildflowers and also conduct evening lectures about the flora and fauna of the park. In addition, mountain bikes, canoes and fishing tackle are available and the lodge has a comprehensive library.
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The 18 guest cabins are set along an ascending ridgeline and each has large picture windows offering sweeping views of Denali. Lit by propane lamps and warmed by wood stoves, they offer an authentic Alaskan wilderness experience. Handmade patchwork quilts adorn the beds and simple wooden furniture continues the rustic but homely theme. There's an indoor sink and hot plate with drinking water available at a spigot just outside so you can make tea or coffee in the mornings. A short path leads to a spotlessly-clean outhouse, while shower facilities are near the main lodge.
Set in a remote region of Denali National Park, the lodge has an unrivalled position with views of Denali, America's highest peak. Bus transfers from the Denali National Park depot are included in a stay with the 145 km (90 mile) journey taking six to seven hours as you explore the park with your driver and naturalist guide. Stops at scenic view points and to observe wildlife are included en route as is a picnic-style dinner. The park depot is 201 km (125 miles) from Fairbanks and 385 km (239 miles) from Anchorage.
Food and drink
Despite the remote setting, standards of food are high at Camp Denali. Fresh fruit, salads and herbs are grown onsite, bread, cakes and pastries are made each day, and tundra berries are picked for jam making. The buffet breakfast is diverse with hot dishes such as sourdough pancakes and egg soufflés available to order. Guests make a picnic lunch from a wide array of choices to take out with them during the day and in the evening a three course dinner is served which always includes a vegetarian option. Although alcohol is not served, you are welcome to bring your own.
Facilities and activities
Experiential learning about nature and cultural heritage has been at the heart of the lodge's philosophy since its foundation in 1952. The lodge guides are all naturalists and on backcountry hikes teach guests about the region's ecology, geology and history. Guests can join a hike at a level they feel comfortable with, from short walks on gentle trails to strenuous trekking in rugged terrain. Guests can also borrow maps, bikes, canoes and fishing gear to explore independently. During the summer months regular guest speakers give talks on topics as diverse as conservation, mountaineering, photography and traditional storytelling.
With the majority of accommodation in the region skirting the entrance of Denali National Park, Camp Denali offers a rare opportunity to stay in the heart of the park itself — and (weather depending) enjoy those all-important views of North America's tallest peak.
Denali National Park tour ideas
Places & hotels on the map
Alternative places to stay nearby
Where possible, we like to offer a range of accommodation for each stop of your trip, chosen by our specialists as some of their favourite places to stay. To help you make the right choice, we give each property a rating based on its facilities and service, but we also look for hotels with distinct character or a location that can’t be bettered.
Rustic log cabins and splendid isolation await at the Kantishna Roadhouse deep in the heart of the Alaskan wilderness. With hiking, biking, fly fishing and wildlife spotting on the doorstep, it makes an authentic base in Denali.
Experiences while staying here
The following activities are designed to give you the most authentic experiences of the area where you’re staying. We work with local guides, who use their knowledge and often a resident’s eye to show you the main sights and more out-of-the-way attractions. Our specialists can also suggest outdoor pursuits and activities, such as cooking classes, that will introduce you to the traditions of the area’s inhabitants.
This is a full day narrated tour that covers the entire wilderness road into Denali National Park, with a two hour stop at an exclusive lodge in the Kantishna area for lunch.
This is a six to eight hour narrated tour that takes you 86 kilometres along the wilderness road into Denali National Park. The duration of the tour may vary, depending on road and weather conditions, particularly in the shoulder seasons of May and September.