Deciding Where To Stay At Denali Park

Denali National Park hotels vary widely from full service premium hotels such as the Grande Denali Lodge to smaller family owned lodges offering cabin style accommodations such as the Denali Grizzly Bear Cabins. Most visitors to the National Park stay in Denali’s “front country” just outside the Park Entrance along a 13 mile stretch of the Parks Highway. While those seeking a more intimate experience and an extended stay in Denali often combine a stay at the Park entrance with a two night stay deep within Denali National Park’s at Kantishna, also referred to as Denali’s “backcountry” located at the end of the Denali Park Road.

Outside of the Park entrance the accommodations are generally recognized as being in two distinct areas – either north of the Park entrance in the Nenana “Canyon” area, or south of the Park entrance in the “Village” area. Check out this Denali map for an overhead view of where each of the hotels are located. The Canyon accommodations are located just a mile north of the Park entrance on the east side of the Nenana River on either the river itself or along the hillside overlooking the Nenana Canyon below. Intermingled amongst the hotels located in this area are a variety of restaurants, shops, and outfitters offering activities in the Park area. Hotels, among others, located in the Canyon area are the:

The “Village Area” is located six miles south of the Denali Park entrance. The village area hotels are located along a scenic, winding section of the Nenana River. The village area has both traditional and cabin style hotel rooms set in a wooded area among rolling hills that the Nenana River flows. The village area has limited services and only one hotel restaurant which is located at the McKinley Park Village. Generally speaking, this area is best suited for clients who have their own transportation – the exception being the McKinley Park Village which also has a fairly extensive shuttle and transportation system. Many of the visitors who stay in this area enjoy the restaurants located a few miles south such as the 229 Parks Restaurant. Hotels, among others, in the village area are:

Denali National Park has many choices on where you can stay. If you’re traveling independently to Denali, your choice of where to stay will depend on your means of transportation while at Denali, the type of accommodations you are seeking – traditional hotel rooms or cabins, and the value you place on additional hotel services such as onsite restaurants, gift shops, and resort style activities.


  1. Skagway
    April 1st, 2010 | 10:54 pm

    Nice information about Denali National Park hotels with good picture.
    Thank you,

    September 1st, 2010 | 11:47 am

    My family stayed for four days at the end of June at the McKinley Lodge. We were on a tour with Cruise West. The whole experience, the tour company, McKinley Lodge, Denali National Park, rafting,
    atv-ing, trip into the park, everything was superb. We will all remember this trip for a lifetime, and I, for one, plan to return.

  3. Bob Hoppenworth
    July 31st, 2013 | 10:49 am

    The McKinley Lodge looked like a nice place to stay, and did have some great food. However, I would not suggest staying at the Denali Rivers Cabins that are adjacent to it. Barebones accomodations and essentially no hot water. The plumbing in our cabin for the shower was backwards (hot on the right side and cold on the left)so the first day we didn’t think there was any hot water at all. The second day we figured this out and the hot water at 100% was maybe 80 or 85F at best, okay but not great. Plus, the gas heater in the room didn’t work, which explained why there was also an electric heater in the room. After we complained about the gas heater and they verfied the problem they provided a second electric heater that solved the problem. But come on, how classy is it to have to light the pilot light on the gas heater for your room? Then the safety issue of if it all, we got the pilot light to ignite several times, but it would go out within several minutes, so how do you or they know that you are not going to become asphyxiated??? If a heater is not working, then repair it or take it out of the room, and at the very least tell anyone staying in that cabin not to use it. To recap I would not recommend staying at the Denali River Cabins unless of course you like cold showers.

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