Denali Wilderness Lodge
Unfriendly to kids, overpriced for little to do.
At $435 a night per person, I was expecting a lot from this luxury wilderness lodge. As it turned out, there was little to do but hike. On the first day's hike through mosquito filled spongy tundra, we stopped every five minutes to learn the details of some wildflower or geological formation. At night, there was absolutely nothing to do but attend naturalist talks that were held in the one common area which prohibited you from using the few board games they had. The cabins were pretty basic with no running water, only propane lights not bright enough to read by and an outhouse. The nearest showers were quite a hike away. The food was only fair. The first night's "dinner" was a cold picnic at 4 pm served outside the bus. The second night featured bland salmon. The third night they served overcooked and oversauced beef. The last breakfast was at 6 am as we had to leave the Park at 7. They had no water for their guests on the six hour ride into the park or the four hour ride out, despite the fact that there was none at any of the rest stops. One of the directors spent the whole time shushing my nine and twelve year old boys whenever their voices rose above conversational level. They expected them to act like little adults when there was absolutely nothing for them to do. The worst was when I returned home to find a letter from the GM accusing my boys of losing one trekking pole and damaging another. I replied with photos from the hike showing that my boys only had one pole between them which the visiting naturalist damaged when he jammed it into the ground to demonstrate where the permafrost began. Instead apologizing, he replied with another false accusation. There really is no reason to stay in the Park, as we saw all the animals on the six hour ride in. But if you feel like you must pay for that luxury wilderness experience, go to the Denali Backcountry Lodge where my mother, sister and nephew enjoyed a wonderful stay last summer.
Unique Quality: Great views of Mount McKinley were all this accomodation offered.
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