When you pick a place to stay for a visit to Denali National Park, it may seem like you have just two options: staying right near the Park entrance, surrounded more by people and tour buses than wilderness, or deep in the park, where a stay calls for a greater commitment than many travelers can do.
But this collection of 46 cabins set in the woods—at mile 229 on the Parks Highway, and eight miles from the Park Entrance—offers the best of both options, and with plenty of comfort and convenience.
Enclave of Lincoln-Log-Style Cabins
Most of the cedar cabins are clustered along a raised boardwalk in the forest by the front office and the Prey Bar & Eatery, and the rest are tucked away in a more heavily wooded area—the latter are a little smaller, but feel more removed. The cabins range in size from having one full or queen bed to having two beds plus a separate living area with a futon–great for families. Either way, along with the Lincoln-log-style aesthetics, you also get contemporary comforts, from private bathrooms to 42-inch TVs and cable.
From Reindeer Sausage to Alaska Celebrity Sightings
The resort’s shared buildings at the front of the property have everything you need to keep you connected: there’s a lounge, a computer area with Internet and printer, and free wifi (some of the cabins have wifi, too). The onsite restaurant, Prey, offers excellent Alaskan comfort food—burgers, reindeer sausage and salmon BLTs, as well as blueberry-white-chocolate cheesecake—along with proof of its beyond-the-typical-hotel-restaurant reputation: Locals love this place, including past Iditarod champ Jeff King (who offers the nearby Husky Homestead tour). Prey serves a continental breakfast, and then off-the-menu lunch and dinner; if you're heading into the Park for the day and order the night before, they’ll set you up with a box lunch featuring a house-made ciabatta-bread sandwich, fruit, chips and a cookie.
Quiet Base Camp
Indeed, most of the guests use Denali Cabins as a base camp for a one- or two-day adventures into the national park. Many use one day to take the Denali Backcountry Adventure tour—featuring lunch and downtime at a Kantishna lodge, deeper in the park than most travelers ever go—then use their second day to take another tour (like a rafting trip, flightseeing tour, guided hike or dog-kennel visit) or just go into the park on their own. The staff at Denali Cabins is always happy to talk to you about your interests, and point you in the right direction for the day. The lodge also offers a free shuttle to the park entrance, as well as one to the train station. You may even find yourself wanting to add a day or two to the Denali portion of your trip, since this quiet home base gives you an easy way to make the most of the park.