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All reviews gold panning the bus day trippers cold cuts suspension bridge drying room served family style moose river two nights mountain biking denali backcountry animal sightings mosquito netting six hours great pictures bike ride granola bars
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Reviewed 11 January 2018

Given some glowing reviews about this property, I feel compelled to file one, despite not wanting to be negative. I am suspect about the positive reviews since EVERYONE staying at the lodge at the same time as me in September 2017 expressed negative feelings about Denali Backcountry Lodge, and the other guests were great, the best part of the stay, other then the animals. First, the bus going to the lodge picks you up later in the day, due to waiting for the train, so those of us not on the train had to wait but there was no information or suggestions about where to wait and what to do, the place and time to meet. Several of us banded together and wondered into the museum, cafe, store dragging our suitcases, asking if anyone knew.They didn't. We tried to call the lodge, there was no answer. but we finally found where to wait after several hours. Bill, who met us at the park entrance for the arrival and departure buses was very nice and helpful. The ride in was with a wonderful bus driver, Mary (?), who knew everything about the park and stopped for animals, sites and vistas. However, when you depart from the lodge, the bus leaves at 6 a.m. so that is one night at the lodge.Not worth anywhere from $550-1200 for dinner, breakfast and 2 bus rides, even if the buses did have snacks with tea/coffee/ hot chocolate, which was welcome on cold days and during a long ride. There are a few beautiful, costly cabins on the water but the others are so close together that guests complained they were kept awake by neighbors snoring, people leaving at 5:30 a.m etc. My cabin, although nicely appointed and comfortable inside, was near a motor running all night, which kept me awake and disappointed when I wanted the sounds of nature. The first night, after our late evening arrival, I expected cocktail time with introductions to the staff and other guests, plus a naturalist talk or other activity after dinner - even a movie about Denali would have been welcome. There was nothing. The young staff members took over the bar and hung out with each other there. Breakfast was a nice buffet, but lunch was totally inadequate for a high-end resort, especially after hiking for hours. Dinner was variable, at best, but the vegetarian offerings were terrible. It seemed the kitchen was using up whatever food was leftover as the lodge was closing the following week.The friendly young men from overseas who waited on us tried to be helpful; however, clearly there was no real server training. There was a Moose on the property early one morning, but no one bothered to let guests know, nor was there an offer to wake us during the night to see the Northern Lights, when visible, as was done at another lodge where I stayed outside the park, no sharing of information about animal sightings even though the staff knew of them. There was one young female staffer who tried to do everything, set up programs, attend to guests, but no one else seemed to lift a finger. We had a nice, young female trail guide, who also did the botany walk, but that was it. Then, at lunchtime, two bus loads of tourists arrive for lunch and swarm over the camp. The activity offerings were really meager, even sending guests in a van to Wonder Lake by ourselves one afternoon without any guide, program, information. We were relaying information to one another about how to find trails around the marshy lake area. There were no daytime activities, other than kitschy gold panning, at the lodge, no fly fishing, which I had wanted do or any interest in asking or trying to offer something. Management seemed more concerned about whether the staff were happy and the young people were running the "show" , without supervision. No Ritz Carlton training here, and the guests seemed incidental, even annoying. When I complained that I was not getting up at 5 am on vacation, missing a whole day at the lodge after paying $$$ for the night, they charged me $80 to leave on the afternoon bus, even though there were many extra seats. No one had made any effort to help me get the afternoon bus, or alternate transportation. The manager was incredibly dismissive and rude, after making me wait to speak to him. Our driver leaving the park kept saying he wanted to be somewhere by a certain time and raced past, bear, moose, caribou sightings. I do not know whether the other camps inside the park are better but one of the other guests suggested she had a better experience at Northface several years before but I suspect it is more expensive.

Stayed: September 2017
17  Thank FoodFemme
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 October 2017

Our creekside cabin at the Denali Backcountry Lodge was fantastic and the bus trips in and out provided great wildlife viewing made all the more enjoyable by the colourful drivers/guides. However, for an expensive resort, the food was well below expected quality. preparation and presentation and beverage charges were exorbitant. I would have expected the office personnel and guides to at least have some sort of uniform or neat jackets although they were mostly helpful and friendly. We were there shortly before the season close and we got the impression that things were well and truly winding down (even though we had paid a lot to stay there). I would be interested to hear what guests staying in mid season thought.

  • Stayed: September 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel
1  Thank 117cliven
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Christopher H, General Manager at Denali Backcountry Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 16 November 2017

117cliven,

The fantastic portions of your trip that included the bus trips and your cabin at the Denali Backcountry Lodge are what we would fully expect to hear. We are happy to hear that we met your expectations in those areas and certainly hope that you will share those memories for years to come.

Our team members at the Backountry Lodge are always friendly and helpful and we hope that they went out of their way to make your stay enjoyable. We were sorry to hear that the food preparation and presentation didn't meet your expectations while staying with us. We strive to provide a number of choices for our meals as well as choices that are locally harvested or influenced that are served hot and in a timely manner. Please feel free to share more details with us if you can.

As you know the only beverages that we charge for at the Denali Backcountry Lodge are alcoholic beverages. All non-alcoholic beverages are free of charge and there is always a large selection of beverages no matter what you choose to pair with your meal. We have a number of local draft beers on tap along with bottled and cans beers for your enjoyment, as well as a good selection of wines from many regions around the world. While we cannot provide dozens of choices in each category we certainly have a good selection and at very reasonable price.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us and we wish you safe travels and many more great adventures as you travel the world!

Regards,

Chris

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 October 2017 via mobile

If you want to disconnect from your electronics, this is the place!
This place is at mile marker 92, it's at the end of the only road that enters Denali National Park. A lot of outdoor activities for both adults and kids. We took the backcountry adventure tour and stopped here for lunch. My kids wanted to to go panning for gold in the river. Great time!
We did not stay overnight here, but we did peek into a room while housekeeping was in it...smaller room, I did not see a TV, bright white linen sheets with an older style look.

Stayed: August 2017, travelled with family
2  Thank jlipp5240
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kimberly K, Operations Assistant at Denali Backcountry Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 17 November 2017

Hello jlipp5240,

Thank you for your review. We're glad that you enjoyed the vast landscapes and wildlife of Denali National Park and Preserve on your day trip on one of our Denali Backcountry Adventures.

Happy to hear your family enjoyed lunch and activities at our Denali Backcountry Lodge. Hope you get the opportunity to come back and stay at the Lodge in the future.

All our best,
Kimberly K

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 October 2017

We had an amazing 3 night stay at the Denali Backcountry Lodge! I am so happy that we splurged on this part of our trip because the views are worth every penny. The other options to take the bus out & back for a day trip would be a crazy long journey. Staying overnight gave us 2 full days on the property / in the area for hiking, biking, and just observing the amazing landscape. The cabins are nicer than I was expecting and I read some bad reviews about the lunch options but I was pleasantly surprised. This is more than just cold cuts---there was soup every day and salad. Breakfast is expansive and dinner was lovely every night with a fish, meat, or vegetarian option. Everyone on the staff is incredibly friendly and knowledgeable and the family style seating for dinner is great because you meet new people. I would recommend this in a heartbeat -- if you really want to see the beauty of Denali, this is the way to do it!

  • Stayed: September 2017, travelled as a couple
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel
Thank vabekah
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kimberly K, Operations Assistant at Denali Backcountry Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 17 November 2017

Hello vabekah,

Thank you for your review. We're glad that you enjoyed the vast landscapes and wildlife of Denali National Park and Preserve during your stay at our Denali Backcountry Lodge. Our Lodge in the Kantishna area is a place where time stands still, nourishes the soul, and stirs the mind into wonder; there's so much history there. We're glad you were able to experience it fully during your three-night stay with us.

All our best,
Kimberly K

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Reviewed 1 October 2017

The Denali Backcountry Lodge stay is an experience. And what a wonderful it has been for me and my family when we stayed there for two nights in August 2017.The ride from the entrance gate to the resort is one of the most unique safaris into a national park.

  • Stayed: August 2017, travelled with family
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel
Thank 19SunitaC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kimberly K, Operations Assistant at Denali Backcountry Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 17 November 2017

Hello 19SunitaC,

Thank you for your review! We're glad that you and your family enjoyed the vast landscapes and wildlife of Denali National Park and Preserve on our Denali Backcountry Adventure to your stay at our Denali Backcountry Lodge.

We’re happy you stayed with us and took advantage to truly enjoy the Kantishna area by experiencing some of the many activities that we offer at our special location nestled in the heart of Denali National Park and Preserve.

All our best,
Kimberly K




All our best,
Kimberly K

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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