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Denali Backcountry Lodge

Denali Backcountry Lodge

Set by the bend of a creek in a remote valley in Denali National Park, Denali Backcountry Lodge offers instant access to Alaska's pristine wilderness. The setting is dramatic and far removed from everyday life with the lodge sitting at the end of the Denali Park Road, the only ribbon of gravel to cross the park.

Guests are transported to the lodge by bus from the Denali Park Visitor Center 148 km (92 miles) away. The trip in or out offers sweeping views of snow-capped peaks and broad valleys as well as frequent sightings of wildlife.

Stays are all-inclusive and dining and lounge areas are found in the spacious Main Lodge, while rooms are in a series of cedar cabins. The decor is simple but comfortable and all cabins have en suite bathrooms which is unusual in such a remote location.

The lodge also has its own spa and offers guided hikes in the surrounding area as well as a series of natural history presentations. Guests can also hike independently, pan for gold, go fishing or borrow mountain bikes.

Along with transport and meals, a stay includes park entrance fees, and all guided activities (except flightseeing) and naturalist programmes. Beer and wine are not included.

Our rating: Medium

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The wood cabins at the lodge are simple but comfortable with cedar-lined interiors, white linens, a bright blanket and photos of local wildlife on the walls. Blackout curtains help with a good night's sleep on summer nights. Cabins sleep two to four guests and the Superior Cabins by the creek have the most space. The compact bathrooms have a shower or shower over a small bath, and all cabins have a private deck. There is no TV, Wi-Fi or phone coverage. 


The lodge is set in Kantishna, a remote spot in the heart of Denali National Park. It's a five-hour drive on a graded gravel road from the park station. The road is not open to private vehicles but a shuttle service to the lodge is included in a stay. En route you'll drive over four mountain passes, get sweeping views of the park and most likely encounter a range of wildlife. The driver-guides are highly knowledgeable and provide commentary along the way as well as stopping at points of interest. If you prefer, you can also fly to Kantishna on an Alaskan bush plane from Anchorage, Talkeetna or Fairbanks. 

Food and drink

A breakfast buffet is served in the Main Lodge and includes a variety of fresh fruit, cereal, pastries and hot items such as eggs, sausages, waffles and French toast. Lunch is also served as a buffet, this time in the Day Lodge, and generally includes a soup, salads, sandwiches and a dessert. In the evening, dinner is eaten around large communal tables in the Main Lodge and features classic, seasonal American dishes. All meals are included in a stay. 

Facilities and activities

Guests can join the lodge's naturalists for a guided hike, botanical walk or a trip to a nearby historic site. If you would prefer to hike independently, staff can advise on local trails and can provide a packed lunch and bear spray. Mountain bikes are available to borrow and you can fish and pan for gold. Evening talks related to the national park, its geology and wildlife regularly take place and the on-site therapists at The Nest Spa & Wellness Center offer a range of holistic treatments.

Our opinion

Denali Backcountry Lodge offers an exciting opportunity to leave civilisation behind, and stay in the heart of a vast wilderness landscape.

Denali National Park tour ideas

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    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.

    • Camp Denali, Lodge

      Camp Denali


      Traditional Alaskan cabins with comfortable rooms but basic facilities offer an authentic wilderness experience within sight of America's highest peak in Denali National Park. The pristine environment and knowledgeable, onsite naturalists ensure a rewarding stay.

    • Kantishna Road House, Denali National Park

      Kantishna Roadhouse


      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.

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      Denali Road Tour

      Denali Road Tour

      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.

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    • Denali Tundra Wilderness Tour
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      Denali Tundra Wilderness Tour

      Denali Tundra Wilderness Tour

      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.

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