Since its development, the area 7-miles south of the Denali National Park entrance has been called the McKinley Village, the area’s name associated with the McKinley Village Lodge located on an arching river bank cut long ago by the Nenana River. The Village name remains in part, but the owners of the lodge have now replaced “McKinley” with “Denali Park”. This change is welcomed by those who support ridding North America’s tallest peak the name associated with President William McKinley in favor of Denali, the Athabascans’ name meaning “The High One.” The new name is therefore is The Lodge at Denali Park Village.
The Denali Park Village has expanded to include its former neighbor, the Denali River Cabins, which was purchased by Denali Park Resorts early last winter. The River Cabins, considered an economical, value property in the past with its small cabins located on the Nenana River has been re-branded as The Cabins at Denali Park Village. The Denali Park Village owners have spent the winter freshening up The Cabins’ interiors and replacing the double beds with one king bed. Other amenities include a wall-mounted television, telephone, alarm clock, hair dryer, coffee maker and complimentary Starbucks coffee. You can upgrade to a deluxe cabin that in addition to the standard room amenities also includes a bathrobe, complimentary bottled water, and feature either a wilderness or river view.
Next door is the re-branded The Lodge at Denali Park Village tying the two properties together. Denali Park Resorts has plans to connect the two newly joined properties by creating a new mining town themed “village” marketplace that will have shops such as a grocery market, a s ‘mores and ice cream shack, apparel shops as well as some fun stations such as a penny arcade and gold panning station. With the Lodge situated 7 miles south of the Denali Canyon area where most of the visitor services are located, the new marketplace will be a welcome addition for visitors staying not only at the Denali Park Village but also at other hotels nearby such as the Denali Grizzly Bear Resort which is a short walk across the Parks Highway.
The Denali Park Village offers a guest shuttle to the Parks’ Visitor Center as well as the Wilderness Access Center inside the Park. The shuttle hours may fluctuate depending on demand, but for 2014 are generally scheduled from about 6:00am – 6:00pm nightly. The hotel also provides transportation to and from the Denali Rail Depot and the Park Connection Motorcoach picks up at the Denali Park Village for guests traveling between Denali, Talkeetna, Anchorage or Seward on its scheduled bus service. Other local tour operators such as rafting and flight-seeing vendors will also pick up from the Denali Park Village.
The Denali Park Village is an excellent option for travelers seeking a quality lodging experience in a scenic location along the Nenana River and with the additional changes they are planning should make a stay in the “Village” area even more convenient for guests.