Denali Backcountry Lodge or Outside the Park

Old Apr 5th, 2005, 12:45 PM
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Denali Backcountry Lodge or Outside the Park

Family of four traveling to Alaska in August. Trying to decide between staying two nights at the Backcountry Lodge v. staying outside the park. Is the cost worth it? Also, I was told that the bus from the entrance to the lodge does not leave until the afternoon.Do we miss the best animal viewing time by going in the afternoon. Thanks.
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Old Apr 5th, 2005, 01:48 PM
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I think that our stay there was the highlight of our month in Alaska (along with our stay at their Kenai Backcountry Lodge).

The bus was after lunch. But we stopped at one point while three grizzlies played for 10 minutes or so within about 10 feet of our bus. We saw quite a bit of other wildlife as well. Realize that this bus trip goes a lot further than the other busses or the general public.

But in terms of wildlife the real highlight was the very early morning trip out. We saw a lynx, an entire pack of wolves that circled the bus when we stopped, a lot of grizzlies, and about every animal known to reside in Denali. It was amazing. And meanwhile the clouds started clearing just as we were heading towards Denali -- and the view was magnificent. We had three days of full view of the mountain which is unusual.

The Lodge is just great, with an amazingly helpful and friendly staff. Each evening everyone gathers in the lounge for wine and appetizers and recount the day's activities. There are lots of choices of what to do each day -- too many in fact. And while the cabins are "rustic" they are extremely comfortable and "neat". The meals are served family style and were really excellent food. While it looks like a whole lot of money, realize that you won't spend another penny those days -- it is truly all inclusive. When I added up other days in my journal, sometimes we spent even more, counting the meals, admissions, activities, and incidentals, plus our gas, etc.
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Old Apr 6th, 2005, 01:52 AM
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Some of the Lodges within the Denali NP require a minimum stay of 3 or 4 nights (i.e. Camp Denali). You should verify this with the lodge you have in mind.

You should also check, when the bus will return from the Lodge till the park entrance at check-out day (normally in the early morning).

This means, that you will have only 1 day left for activties within the park. Of course the travel to and from the lodge is an advantage for itsself.

It might be an advantage for you to plan for the first & last day activties within the park close to the park entrance (if you prefere more self guided activties), so that you can minimize travel times. In this case I would recommend to stay outside the park.
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Old Apr 6th, 2005, 06:31 AM
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Be aware that early August can be significant bug problems. But the lodge activies are what is best about them. Try and see if you can get some copies of Alaska magazine, several articles extensively reviewed various lodges that probably would be helpful for your decisions. I too would suggest at least 3 nights so to have a couple days there enjoying the activities.
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Old Apr 6th, 2005, 06:40 AM
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I also just realized that you are talking about this August. We booked three nights at Denali Backcountry Lodge in October or Novemeber of 2000 for the following July (2001). We had to take our third choice of dates and rearrange our schedule accordingly as our other dates were already booked. I would probably be surprised if you can still find availability for this August, but I hope you can.
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