Not sure where to stay in Alaska? Denali National Park, in the shadow of the tallest peak in North America, is replete with lodges and cabins that will open up a world of wildlife-watching, hiking, fly-fishing, river-rafting and more – and they’re all bookable on Culture Trip.
Chances are, if you find yourself traveling to this remote outpost of the continental United States, you’ve already elected to embark on a true bucket-list trip. Whether you’re brave enough to venture into the frozen winter wilderness of this most epic of national parks – home to the 20,310ft (6,190m) Denali (aka Mount McKinley) – or come in the summer months to witness nature at its brightest, the interior of Alaska is bound to wow you.
When you’re in the middle of the challenging-yet-beautiful wilds of Alaska, you’ll need somewhere that wraps you up like a warm blanket at the end of a rewarding day in the drama-packed hinterland. What a relief, then, to arrive at Denali Backcountry Lodge. Near the former gold-mining settlement of Kantishna, you’ll experience the best creature comforts via cozy private cabins in a wild landscape. You’ll return from your adventures (guided trail-free hikes, cycling, fishing and more) to fresh and seasonal cuisine, a snug fire and a spa-studded haven under the Northern Lights.
A journey to Alaska is the trip of a lifetime, so you’ll want your experience to be enhanced by the best hospitality around. Happily, the rustic cabins of Kantishna Roadhouse provide a blanket-like base in the heart of the backcountry. Your stay includes private bus transportation and there are a variety of daily activities available. They include hiking opportunities and the chance to observe wildlife in the breath-snatching scenery of Denali National Park. You can even pan for gold if you’ve forgotten your credit card.
This boutique, friendly Alaskan lodge is just 15 minutes from the entrance to Denali National Park. So, it’s the ideal accommodation for those of you looking to perch on the edge of the action. If you’re getting to know the area, you’re offered all kinds of adventure packages (ranger-led walks, Jeep tours, photography, fly-fishing and more). On return, scenic creekside cabins and a homey cafe – serving Alaskan-brewed beers and Mt. Denali cinnamon rolls – offer space to trade tales of adventure.
This resort on the banks of the Nenana River is less than 2mi (3.2km) from the entrance to Denali National Park. With shuttle services to and from the park entrance, you’re never far away from the wild action, while the tasteful and bright rooms offer views aplenty. Maybe you’ll even spot some wildlife from your very own balcony. The sociable Denali Square complex includes a courtyard with fire pits, regular live music, the Karstens Public House, and views of the nearby mountains.
Don’t let the name mislead: they don’t let out rooms to grizzly bears here. Still, you’re in the middle of the wilds at this resort, which offers hotel accommodation, cabins, or even an RV and campsite. The rustic rooms overlook the nearby river. Dine at the food-truck court – served by Denali Thai, Mariachi Moose and others, with plenty of outdoor seating – or head off on one of the many local tours (river rafting, ATV adventures, hikes, and more).
It’s called the overlook for a reason: the elevated views over the surrounding forests and mountains are spectacular. Designed around the impressive window-lined and fire-warmed Great Room, the accommodation is spacious yet cozy (thick rugs and natural woods), with stunning vistas everywhere you look. In the winter, there’s access to cross-country skiing, snow-machining and snowshoeing.
Offering a personal and friendly touch, this lodge on the edge of century-old-trading-post-turned-adventure-centre Talkeetna is a peaceful retreat. However, it’s also a prime spot for discovering all the high-octane activities on offer at the park. After days spent zip-lining, salmon fishing, dog-mushing, and bear-viewing, slump back in the rooms and cabins, with names such as Snoozin’ Moose, where cuteness and comfort coalesce.
Denali Park Hotel has all the trappings of a classic US motel, moved to the middle of the Alaskan wilderness. You’ll be surrounded by striking natural scenery – including moose roaming freely – at this small-town base in Healy. It has everything you need for a comfortable base; it’s only 10mi (16.1km) from the park itself, with convenient access to shops and restaurants, yet plenty of adventures on your doorstep.
One for those who truly like to be at one with nature… except with heating, and a bed and running water. The owners aim to provide you with a comfortable, affordable and relaxing stay. They successfully tick every box. The refurbished cabins provide an ideal foundation on which to build your own Alaskan adventure, with BBQ facilities and a cozy communal lodge. There’s also easy access to Montana Creek for some brilliant fishing and wildlife-viewing.
In the midst of the adventure, but away from all the crowds, is Alpine Creek Lodge – a lodge where you can sleep under the canopy of the Northern Lights, if you’re lucky. The cabins are almost Scandinavian in their light, pared-back design. There’s no running water, but there are more regular suites available, too, with breakfast (and water) included. With bird-watching, a fly-fishing school and gold-panning, you’ll never run out of activities at this Alaskan stay.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.