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“As Superlative as the park it is in!”
Review of North Face Lodge

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North Face Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 27 June 2011

There are not enough adjectives to describe how fantastic our stay was at North Face Lodge. The staff is what truly made this an experience of a lifetime. They are well-versed in the outdoors and are eager to share their love of this wilderness area. The planned activities were perfect for all levels, and the ability to have unplanned activities such as canoeing in Wonder Lake or riding a mountain bike through Denali National Park road were a plus. The rooms were comfortable and the meals excellent. Everything about our visit exceeded our expectations. Be prepared for a long bus ride in and out of the Park, but the drivers/guides make it a great experience as well. And if you are lucky enough to see Mount McKinley, so much the better!

  • Stayed: June 2011, travelled as a couple
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6  Thank dgbinpc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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104 - 108 of 131 reviews

Reviewed 26 April 2011

The North Face lodge provided us withe opportunity to see wildlife and landscape scenery that we will remember for a lifetime .We treasure the hundreds of pictures taken and marvel at what we viewed. Where else can you find great views of Mt.McKinley and have a short walk to Wonder lake. The fall colors were a surprise to us and as beautiful as any we have ever seen.The staff was professional and out to please everyone . The rooms were small but we look at them as a clean comfortable place to sleep . The main lodge provided a great place to lounge and meet people. Daily hikes occurred from a number of locations reached by the North Face Lodge Van . Each hike had a superb guide and tailored to the wish of small groups of 4 to 6 people . Our interest in photography was matched with superb,patient and helpful guides. I do not think there is abetter way to see perhaps our most beautiful National Park . The Lodge is remote and and and it takes above 5hours to get there from the Park entrance . The scenery is great along the route and the lodge bus stops to allow viewing and photographing of wildlife.It is expensive but price covers everything and there is no cheaper way to see the Park.

  • Stayed: September 2010, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank BunsenBurner40
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 September 2010

Not desiring to be repetitious, I would encourage you to read the many other reviews. I will attest to their accuracy and fair-minded representation of the layout and cleanliness of North Face Lodge. However, just as my wife gushed in abrupt honesty while I was attempting to capture the vivid, explosively rich fall-flavored colors painting the taiga landscape with my camera: "There is no camera on earth that can do this view justice!"; likewise, no review can truly encapsulate accurately the entire experiential tsunami that North Face Lodge provides. Having never visited the Alaskan interior, we were in speechless awe of the mosaic patterned landscape which was so intense; we could almost taste and palpate the colors! The plentiful wildlife further enhanced the overall experience. (Thankfully, we rarely saw a mosquito this late in the season, however!)
Yes, the almost 8 hour bus trip along the ever narrowing park road that leads to North Face Lodge was long and tortuous at times. However, truthfully, this "all day-tour" counted as our first of 5 wonderful days (4 nights) with the lodge. As previously described in other reviews, our bus driver/naturalist guide was outstanding--enlightening our awareness and educational understanding of the geology, geography, and biology that flowed by our oversized bus windows. This set the pace and amazing quality for our daily outdoor experiences that followed.
All of our naturalist guides had at least Masters Degrees in ecologically oriented sciences, providing a ready and most competent resource every step we took. Each evening after a scrumptious organically crafted dinner there was an informative lecture provided by one of the staff, splendidly supplemented by an appropriate slideshow. Also at dinner, each evening, "Hiking Highlights" were shared as various guests or guides would summarize their respective day of discovery from each of the exploration groups. Never more than 10-11 in a group (frequently only 5 or 6 to a group) allowed easy access to the staff member leading the foray, providing enriched respectful answers for our barrage of questions sparked by the singularly unique Alaskan terrain and wildlife we experienced firsthand.
The Lodge staff worked zealously to ensure our needs and requests were met. The only disappointment I experienced was the lack of a decaffeinated Earl Grey teabag for my after dinner repose--yeah, what a ridiculous request nearly a hundred miles from any recognizable civilization--but the service was that good, that you expected the unexpected!
Definitely place this North Face Lodge experience on your own bucket list. You will not regret (nor forget!) experiencing the marvelous wonder of raw unspoiled wilderness--much like the original explorers encountered over 100 years ago....but with the comforts of home!

  • Stayed: September 2010, travelled as a couple
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22  Thank Texman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 September 2010

We recently stayed at the North Face Lodge in Denali National Park during their Friday-Monday tour. The day trips with their naturalist guides were outstanding. They took groups, no larger than eight in vans and traveled to areas of interest to the lodge guests. We saw a variety of wildlife, indescribable scenery and had lessons on the geology of the park. This is the only lodge within the park that has a view of the mountain. They also have canoes available at Wonder Lake and fishing equipment for the nearby streams and Wonder Lake. We were too tired at the end of the day to take advantage of these.

The accommodations are minimalist but we spent little time in our rooms. The main lodge is very comfortable and is open 24/7. The staff is great and sincerely wants their guests to have an experience of a lifetime. The food was good but not what I would call gourmet. Their brochure says that they serve a fish, meat and vegetarian dish nightly but we were served salmon one night and roasted pork loin the other without a choice of entree. Breakfast was hearty and lunches were packed by the guests before the day trips and enjoyed as a picnic. The evening meal when entering the park is a picnic dinner with a great selection of meats, fish, vegetables, fruits and nuts. Dessert is served in the lodge dining room upon arrival.

The housekeeping service is great and the rooms are clean. I would stay here again if given the opportunity and recommend it over the other lodges. Four years ago we stayed at the Denali Back Country Lodge and did not have the great experience that we had at North Face Lodge.

  • Stayed: August 2010, travelled with family
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8  Thank Alaskarookie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 August 2010

I am not sure what to add to the previous reviews other than to echo what they said - it is a very good all inclusive experience within the park.

The bus rides in and out on the first and last days are best for seeing the park's large mammals and vast, scenic expanses. The optional daily hikes seemed to me to be a more intimate experience with the land.

Just to correct a couple of things some others have said:

1. The bus ride in to the lodge at mile 87 is approximately 7 hours, including a picnic dinner around the mid point. You depart from the Denali bus/train depot promptly at 1:30 PM and arrive at the lodge at approximately 8:30 PM.

2. The bus ride back out is approximately 5 hours long departing the lodge promptly at 6:45 AM and arriving back at the bus/train depot at approximately 11:30 AM. There are still plenty of opportunities to stop and view/photograph on the way out so don't pack your binoculars away like I foolishly did.

BTW, good, clear, high power binoculars are a must for full enjoyment here, especially on the bus rides, but also on the hikes. I was using a 10x42 and would not have wanted less; although, you could probably get away with 8x.

Just remember that however many nights you book, you get one less day of optional activities at the lodge as you arrive late on the first day. So if you booked a 3 night stay you would only have 2 days of optional activities and a departure on the 4th day.

I found the 4 night to be perfect for me - a 3 night would have been too little and a 7 night too much, but that is just me and your mileage may vary.

The lodge has 15 regular sleeping rooms with private baths laid out in an L-shape from main lodge room and dining facilities. In addition, there are additional little known rooms in what is called the annex. The annex consists of 2 double rooms in the back corner of the lodge near the housekeeping, laundry and food storage facilities. They do not have plumbing en suite but do have 2 separate showers and one shared toilet and sink adjacent to the rooms.

Due to my late booking I ended up in the only room available which was room 2A in the annex. I lucked out in this regard as I believe it is the best room in the lodge since it is a corner room with separate interior and exterior entrances and the natural light that goes with the exterior sliding glass door, the only such unit in the lodge.

As a single guy I did not have a problem with the adjacent plumbed and shared facilities, at least they were indoors. The other room, 1A, was also occupied by a single guy and we never even crossed paths once using our shared sink and toilet. But I am not sure how it would work if both annex rooms were occupied to full capacity, probably not well.

My individual category ratings averaged out to 4.5 so I gave it a 5 overall as the service category probably deserved a 6 on the 5 scale.

  • Stayed: August 2010, travelled solo
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8  Thank AustinWhitewater
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about North Face Lodge

Address: Post Office Box 67, Denali National Park and Preserve, AK 99755-0067
Phone Number:
Region: United States > Alaska > Denali National Park and Preserve
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 26 Speciality Lodging in Denali National Park and Preserve
Price Range: $697 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 15
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located near the end of the unpaved, mountainous 90-mile road into Denali National Park, North Face Lodge is one of only two in-park lodgings in view of Mt. McKinley. It specializes in learning adventures for active travelers, featuring naturalist-led hikes and field trips for visitors who wish to explore Denali in-depth. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
North Face Hotel Denali National Park And Preserve
North Face Lodge Alaska/Denali National Park And Preserve

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