We changed our itinerary and showed up in Denali a day ahead of schedule. We checked 3 different motels, which were all full, before finding Denali River Cabins.
We were pleased with the condition and location. For walking in with no reservation, we were given a rate of $139/night plus tax, and had a river-view cabin with 2 queen beds. The cabins are separate, but very close together, and reached by walking down a wooden board-walk. We were at the end of the boardwalk, so we only had one "neighbor", but I thought it had the best view of the river. I loved the dutch doors! The cabin itself was really just a basic hotel room, with the 2 beds, sink out in the main area, and bathroom with shower and toilet. One drawback was that the bathroom door was a sliding (rather than swinging) door, and didn't close completely.
There was cable TV, but only a few channels. But who wants to sit and watch TV, when there is so much to do at Denali!
Unique Quality: The cabins are nextdoor to McKinley Village Resort, where a lot of tour buses from the cruise lines lodge their customers. There is a restaurant at the Denali River Cabins, plus a restaurant at the McKinley Village Resort. Also an espresso stand at the resort (good coffee!), and a tour desk for activities.
Several raft companies launch in the Nenana River right in front of the cabins. It was enjoyable to watch the rafters come and go.
Can someone recommend a hotel or B&B in the Denali area in the $100 - $150 range. My only requirements are that it is clean with some local "color" and charm. I don't even care if it has a private bath or not.
We stayed at two different places in Denali in July of 2005. Carlo Creek Lodge would be my recommendation, especially for a place with local flavor. It is about 12 miles south of the park entrance, so you would need to have a car to stay there. We stayed in a cabin with two queen beds and a twin bed, and a full bath. The creek ran right behind the cabin. It's across the highway (walking distance) from a good pizza place (Panorama Pizza) and a good restaurant that serves breakfast/lunch/dinner (The Perch).
We also stayed one night at Denali River Cabins. It's closer to the park, but far enough that you would need a car there also. The cabins were quite new, and it's a much larger place, so it didn't have as much character. It was also more expensive.
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Address: Mile 231.1 Parks Highway, Alaska, 99755, United States