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Deep in Alaska’s wild interior lies over six million acres of preserved wilderness otherwise known as Denali National Park. With glacial lakes, frozen tundra, expanses of unspoiled forest and massive mountain peaks (including the towering Mount McKinley, North America’s tallest peak), over 400,000 visitors flock here every year for the unique wildlife viewing and spectacular scenery on display.

Offering a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the pure, untamed wilderness that is Alaska, Denali National Park is Alaska’s most popular land attraction. Though it’s almost impossible to experience the park in just one day. Most visitors choose to stay 3 or 4 nights, (we chose to stay for 5), though when you find yourself wanting to spend multiple nights in Alaska’s wild interior, the question then becomes, where do you stay?

Alaska.org advised that “90% of visitors choose a Denali hotel near the park entrance because it’s convenient, less expensive, offers a variety of lodges from luxurious to rustic, is near the national park visitor center, and is within easy access to transportation and interpretive bus trips along Denali Park Road and a variety of recreational activities and Denali excursions”.

This was sound enough logic for us, and we as such checked into The Lodge at Denali Park Village.

Located just seven miles from the park entrance and nestled among 20 acres of spruce forest along the glacial-fed Nenana River, we found The Lodge to be the perfect gateway to Denali National Park and Preserve, as well as a fantastic base camp for additional excursions and adrenaline activities which launched from right outside our door.

There are light hiking and interpretive trails onsite, with more rugged trails nearby (the Triple Lakes and Oxbow trails offer spectacular views…photos below), and several rafting trips launch from the river right in front of the property. You can take a walk of the Nenana River and watch for wildlife, enjoy dinner on the outdoor seating decks as rafts float by, an evening drink by the outdoor fire, or peruse the gift shops on-site.

This is the place to get back to nature while enjoying the luxuries of a first-class lodge. It is close to the action while allowing you to enjoy the solitude of nature as you relax to the sound of the river sweeping by.

Open mid spring – the start of fall (2015 dates of operation: May 13 – September 13), Denali Park Village offers outstanding views, fine dining, and superior guest hotel rooms. Room choices range from modern guest rooms at “The Lodge” or cozy rustic cabins at “The Cabins”.

The Lodge

Constructed with environmentally responsible material with a high-timber lodge look and feel, The Lodge is spread out among seven two-story buildings (one of which has an elevator and each with a fully functional fireplace and comfortable seating in the lobby area), and hotel rooms feature double beds or two queens, comfortably sleeping up to four adults.

Our River View Room overlooked the Nenana River, and there was nothing like returning to our room to find a perfectly made king-size bed welcoming us back from our adventures at the end of each day!

Renovated and refreshed for the 2014 season, the Lodge Rooms offered all of the modern comforts and amenities you would expect – complimentary WiFi, a wall-mounted television and in-room phone, and with beautiful views of the Alaskan wilderness from your window.

The Lodge offers dining opportunities and a magnificent deck with a fire pit and breathtaking views where you’ll unwind after a day of adventure. After having worked up a hearty appetite exploring Alaska’s vast wilderness, the range of dining options did not disappoint. The Lodge offers everything from fine dining and simple pub fare to the best pizza in Denali!

There is also the Alaska Cabin Nite Dinner Theatre on-site. While we didn’t manage to take in a show, this is a popular option for families looking for hearty food, terrific music, talented performers and an Alaskan-sized helping of fun! The show tells colorful stories of the great Alaskan Gold Rush while guests enjoy an all-you-can-eat family-style meal in an authentic roadhouse.

The Cabins

Don’t be fooled by the term “cabin” – constructed along the banks of the Nenana River for stunning river and wilderness views, these cabins are fully furnished with a private bath, comfortable king-size bed bedding, wall-mounted TV and telephone, and were freshly updated for the 2014 season.

Smaller and more secluded than rooms at the lodge, these are perfect for couples looking for a touch of cozy solitude in a private cedar cabin. Each cabin offers simple comforts and amenities, and guests can take advantage of the BBQs and sauna located on the three riverside decks.

Practical Information

As we were traveling with our vehicle, Denali Park Village was convenient as it provided complimentary parking onsite. While shuttle buses which travel the 92-mile Denali Park Road leave from right outside the hotel lobby, having our own vehicle allowed us to drive into the park ourselves and explore independently of a tour.

Visitors can drive personal vehicles into the National Park as far as the Savage River at Mile 15. Travel beyond is mostly limited to tour and shuttle buses, bicycles and hikers on foot.

When traveling to Denali National Park, be sure to pack for the right weather conditions for adventure. As quickly as the terrain changes here, so can the weather. Denali Park Village recommends “while our summer climate is comfortably cool, with days in the mid-60s and chilly nights, we always recommend dressing in layers, bringing extra outerwear, and checking the forecast frequently throughout your stay.”

Visit http://denaliparkvillage.com for more information or to book your stay.

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Megan is an Australian Journalist who has been travelling and blogging since 2007, with the main aim of inspiring others to embark on their own worldwide adventure. Her husband Mike is an American travel photographer, and together they have made the world their home.

Committed to bringing you the best in adventure travel from all around the globe, there is no mountain too high, and no fete too extreme! They haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on their list.

Follow their journey on Facebook, TwitterYouTube, Pinterest and Instagram.

Full Disclosure: We were guests of Denali Park Village. All opinions are our own. 

    32 Comments

  1. This a very interesting review! I’ve been dreaming about Alaska for years now! I was even THAT close from purchasing a plane ticket, but instead I went to Swedish Lapland. It looks like the summer season is quite short, just like in Lapland. I found the pictures of the accommodations appealing – if I ever come to Alaska this will be my point of reference. Thanks Megan for this review!

    • Thanks Agata! You should definitely book a trip to Alaska when you next have the chance, we had such a fantastic time, and highly recommend traveling by land – we saw so much more of the interior than we would have been able to on a cruise 🙂

      Let us know if you have any Q’s closer to the date!

  2. Megan – the cabins sound amazing. If I went just with my hubby, we would definitely book a stay in one of the cabins because of their relative seclusion and access to saunas. Would they also be a good option for a young family with a toddler?

    • Hi Miranda, glad you enjoyed the review – the cabins really are fantastic for couples. I would probably recommend to stay in the lodge if you’re traveling with a toddler, just because these rooms are more spacious and you can request two beds.

      The cabins are smaller and only come with one King. That being said if you have your heart set on a cabin you could call the resort and see if they can provide cots – it’s a potential option 🙂 The property itself is a great location for families.

      Let me know if you have any other Q’s 🙂

  3. We went to Alaska twice: in 2009 in an RV and in 2010 by plane and then rented an RV. We thought it was the best way to explore the state on the road with your moving bedroom. Denali gave us he chance to see the alpine tundra and its wildlife plus Mt. McKinley!

    • Sounds like you would have had a fab time Carol! We would love to get back to Alaska when we can – I’m super impressed you took the RV, we had enough trouble on the roads with just a little rental!

      Very cool idea though to travel with a moving bedroom – especially in that part of the country where it’s so wild and sparse. Glad you had the opportunity to enjoy Denali 🙂

  4. Thanks for this review. I stayed in Katmai before, but look forward to checking out Denali as well. Happy travels!
    Koen

    • Glad you enjoyed it Koen – I hope you have the chance to visit Denali soon 🙂 We really did have a spectacular time! Happy Travels to you also 🙂

  5. These cabins look really cosy and I love your bear shots, hopefully those were taken with a telescopic lens not up too close!

    • Haha yes, rest assured the bear shot was taken from the other side of the river…nice flowing body of water which was separating us on the hike 😀

  6. I absolutely love Alaska, this looks like the perfect place to stay for my next trip to Denali.

    • It absolutely is – having accommodation so close to the entrance of the park is just so convenient, and it’s really nice to be able to enjoy the comforts of luxury accommodation after you’ve been out in the wild all day!

  7. Oh thank goodness! I was worried this was going to be all about camping. I don’t mind camping, but it’s great to se a National Park offering different options at different price points to meet the wide variety of tourist needs. This lodge looks stellar, I have to say!

    • We did do a few days of camping after our stay here at Denali Park, though I think we’re probably starting to get soft because we couldn’t wait to get back to the rooms at the lodge…something nice about being able to take a shower at the end of a long day’s hike!!!

      And absolutely, we were so impressed by the options for pretty much every travelers needs when it came to accommodation in Denali 🙂

  8. Alaska has been on our bucket list for some time now and the cabins looks great, thanks for this review!

    • I hope you manage to make a trip happen soon Catherine 🙂 The cabins really are just exactly what we imagined from Alaskan accommodation!

  9. Alaska has been on my mind so much, but it’s never “on the way” anywhere… One day I’d love to take a week to explore it. I’d surely enjoy a hotel like this.

    • For us we planned a US roadtrip up to Seattle and then figured while we were in the area it would have been a crime to have not extended our trip! 😀

      I really hope you have the chance to get there soon Pola – it’s such a majestic destination unlike any other we’ve traveled to before. Sometimes though if it’s not on the way you’ve just gotta bite the bullet and plan for a little detour 😀

  10. The “cabins” sound fantastic. Denali National Park is on my list. I’ll add The Lodge so I known where to stay. 🙂

    • They’re exactly what I imagined Alaskan accommodation should be! Hope you manage a trip to Denali soon Lesley 🙂

    • Oh absolutely – and I think this is the kind of location where you really do want to splurge out on really nice accomm. Camping is fab too, but a hot shower and comfy bed has never felt so amazing or been more appreciated after you’ve been out hiking all day in the wild!! Really nice balance.

  11. A really beautiful part of the world…pretty slick lodgings considering the isolation..i’m jealous!

    • SUCH a beautiful part of the world – totally agree! And the lodgings were absolutely amazing – it was really nice to have the balance of wilderness hiking throughout the day and being able to retire to a comfortable setting with hot showers and gourmet food in the evenings!!!

      We did do three days of camping in Denali also, though staying at the Lodge was definitely more comfortable and we enjoyed that more 🙂

  12. Coming from the other side of the globe (okay, maybe not quite the other side, if from Alaska), staying in a cabin in an Alaskan national park would be a great experience, what more when the cabin comes with full facilities. Great for when you come back from hiking at the end of the day to have a first class facility waiting for you. 🙂 Also impressed with the dining options too, which should accommodate everyone.

    • Absolutely – the thing we loved about having this accommodation right there at the entrance to the park was the ability to collapse in comfort at the end of the day after 8 – 12 hours of hiking … no exaggeration on the amount of hours spent hiking!!!

      And the dining options do accommodate everyone, so while camping is definitely a fun option to consider, we loved that we didn’t have to cook and clean at the end of each day when we were totally exhausted from the days activities!

  13. Pretty spiffy lodge! And definitely deceiving with the word cabin as its nothing like a cabin I’ve stayed in here in Australia before. I’m not a huge outdoors person so would most certainly be comfortable staying there.

    • Right!! The cabins are amazing because they’re so luxurious inside, despite the term maybe suggestion that it will be basic accommodation. We’ll have to change that Australian definition!!

  14. Alaska has always been one of those mysterious places that I would love to visit someday. I like this post and the bear one too. The cabins looks great!

    • Thanks Orana – so glad you’re enjoying our Alaska posts 🙂 It really is a magical place – I hope you manage to coordinate a visit soon!

  15. I was in Alaska too long ago…This was a great appetizer to return! With adventurous teens in tow, Denali (and this property) looks just perfect.

    • Glad we could provide some inspiration for a return trip!! And Denali is definitely a fab playground if you’re traveling with teens – they’ll love it!!

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