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“Amazing Place to Stay!”

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Kantishna Roadhouse
Certificate of Excellence
Sweetgrass, Montana
Level Contributor
222 reviews
34 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 183 helpful votes
“Amazing Place to Stay!”
Reviewed 11 September 2012

I was a little apprehensive about my stay, since I had trouble finding the information I was seeking, and didn't know what to expect. But Kantishna Roadhouse is a fantastic all-inclusive resort!

Here's what you need to know... The bus picks up guests from the Denali Train Depot after the 1 pm train, which comes from Fairbanks. If you arrive on the train from Anchorage, plan on staying the night somewhere else and meet the Kantishna bus the next afternoon. The bus ride from the train depot to the roadhouse is about 6 hours, as it's a 92 mile trip with stops for scenery and wildlife viewing, so you will arrive at the roadhouse around 7:30 pm and dinner for the new arrivals will be served at 8 pm. (More about dinner later.)

The cabins are about the size of an average hotel room, but the wall are very thin. You will have running water (i.e. shower, toilet, sink) and each room has a heater, but being in a rather remote area, the heat is propane and it takes awhile for the heater to heat the cabin. You are provided with fresh towels and sheets and blankets, but not hair dryers or irons or in-room coffee makers. And don't forget your alarm clock!

Breakfast is buffet style and offered from around 7:30 to 8:45, with no assigned seating. Toast, English muffins and bagels are staples, as is a hot cereal, like oatmeal. Biscotti and small muffins are also available, as well as a couple hot items such as pancakes or eggs, and seasoned potatoes and/or bacon. Yogurt and fruit are also provided. There is not a wealth of choices, but what is available is good food.

Every morning there are group hikes led by a staff member, which leave the lobby at 9 am. There is a casual hike, usually around 2 miles, a moderate hike and a strenuous hike. The roadhouse provides a sack lunch, which includes a wrap, a piece of fruit and a cookie. Guests in need of a waterbottle, day pack, rain gear and/or mosquito net can sign out these items for the day, free of charge.

At 9:30 each morning, a shuttle is available to take guests to Wonder Lake for about an hour.

A dogsled demo is presented every afternoon at 2 pm for anyone that is interested in attending, and guests can pan for gold with an employee at 3:30 every day. Also available upon request at any time: fishing rods (spinners and fly) and waders, bicycles and helmets. There are rocking chairs on the porch, a free-standing swing by the river, a campfire circle, a second story screened porch and library as well as a small gift shop. Soda and candy is also available for about $2 each.

Smokey Joe's Saloon opens at 1 pm every afternoon for drinks, with appetizers served at 5:15. The selection in the bar is limited- mostly wine, a small number of Alaskan beers on tap, and a few drink specials, some hot and some cold.

Dinners at the Kantishna begins at 6 pm, and offers two choices- meat or vegetarian. The tables are usually multiple parties seated together in groups of about six or eight. The food is very good and is generally served family style. Bread, salad with dressing, a main dish and a side, and then dessert. Coffee, tea and cocoa are available pretty much all day long, but again the selection is limited due to the remote location and difficulty of transporting supplies.

After dinner, an educational presentation is usually offered by a member of the staff in the library. Attendance is completely voluntary. There is also a green house and a few historical buildings that remain. A pay phone is also available since there is cell phone service or internet at Kantishna.

Remember to bring clothes for layering,as the weather is unpredictable and can change quickly. You may also want to consider bringing snacks and anything required for specific tastes (flavored creamer for your coffee or a specific flavor of tea, etc.)

Kantishna Air Taxi is also available for flightseeing tours of Mount Denali and the area, but the cost is not included in your stay at Kantishna.

On your last day at Kantisha you will need to be up early and have your bags out on your porch by 5:20 am. Breakfast will be served around 5:30, and you need to be on the bus by 6:15 because it will approximately 5 hours on the return trip since fewer stops are made.

  • Stayed September 2012, travelled solo
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Helpful?
17 Thank Crissy B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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176 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (25)
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English first
Windham, Maine
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 August 2012

We stayed at the Kantishna Roadhouse for 3 nights in mid-August and have no regrets. True, it is expensive but we may not make it to Alaska again so we splurged. The bus trip in with Kirstan was amazing. Kirstan has an amazing amount of knowledge about the park and its wildlife and she shared it all in addition to spotting wildlife. She gave our bus full of people plenty of time to view and take pictures and still got us to the lodge in time for a fantastic meal. The food was great. Yes, sound transmits through the log walls (which we have experienced before) but our neighbors were quiet and considerate. The atmosphere is very friendly and laid-back, the staff is knowledgeable. The guests all appeared very happy and like minded. We did two hikes with Kelly, whose enthusiasm was catching; the dog sled demo with Emmit far exceeded our expectations; and the gold panning was fun. The only fault was the breakfast which was very standard with no meat offerings and cool scrambled eggs. The small bar was a terrific place to hang out before dinner and share experiences with the other guests. If you go, go for at least 3 nights to be able to experience everything and seriously look at your budget to see if you can fit in the flight-seeing from the neighboring airport.

  • Stayed August 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank Joleen R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Honolulu, Hawaii
Level Contributor
63 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 August 2012

While the price is a shock, it is understandable, given the remote location and the short season. The 90 mile bus ride is more of a safari than a transportation. Our driver, Gary, was a very effective wildlife spotter and the scenery is stunning. One major advantage of staying at the Roadhouse is that the return trip starts at 6:15 am and is first bus until at least the halfway point, allowing a better view of the more shy wildlife, who disappear with the traffic. The guided hikes that my wife and I took, were world class with few other hikers. Each morning's hike selections are graded by difficulty and are timed to return for the sled dog demo. The hotel staff is mainly young college students, although the bar is run by John, a veteran of 16 seasons with many stories. The only downside is the food. The pork dinner was very tough and the buffet breakfast had no breakfast meats. While the cost of transportation is high, it costs the same to transport a high quality cut of meat as a poor quality cut. My rating is 2 stars for the food and 5+ for everything else.

  • Stayed August 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
4 Thank Ted W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Detroit, Michigan
Level Contributor
20 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 August 2012

We took the bus 90 miles into Denali to reach the end of the road. Our bus driver Kristen was simply amazing and had amazing skill at spotting wildlife. the ride is long but well worth it. We saw all of the big 5! even saw a mother bear with 2 cubs. Kantishna is located at the end of the road and when you stay here they provide all the meals. Also available is gold panning, sled dog demosntrations, guided hikes, bikes. Can get cool at night so bring a good jacket. We did not have a warm enough jacket which was needed on the evening hikes. During the day, mosquitoes can be a nuisance. Nice place.

  • Stayed August 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank Robert H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Georgetown, Texas
Level Contributor
25 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 August 2012 via mobile

Kantishna Roadhouse is beautifully situated deep in Denali National Park. The staff is great, the food is good, and the cabins are okay. However, I'm stunned at the price. Truly unbelievable! I would rather have stayed at a more moderately priced lodge.

Stayed August 2012, travelled with family
Helpful?
2 Thank jaba2705
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
California
Level Contributor
8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 August 2012

My husband and I were originally booked at the Northface Lodge, just a short distance from the Kantishna Roadhouse. However, our independant travel agent really screwed up and never made the full deposit to the Northface Lodge, so we scrambled to find a new place to stay. Word travels fast in Alaska and by the time I phoned the Kantishna Roadhouse, they already knew of our plight and were holding a room. Fantastic!

Turns out, we think we lucked out. The Roadhouse is really laid back, with lovely grounds, good food, and great hikes. Our cabin was large and comfortable, although the wall separating our room from the adjoining one was paper thin. Fortunately, our friends were next door and we all agreed to be quiet.

It's possible the North Face Lodge offers a more personal experience, but when we rode our mountain bikes over to the North Face Lodge to look around, we decided we liked the Roadhouse better.

If you're taking the train to Denali, we would recommend both the Kantishna Roadhouse at the end of the park road, and its sister property, the Denali River Cabins near the park entrance. We spent one night at the River Cabins and were impressed by the incredible scenery and casual ambience.

  • Stayed August 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
2 Thank SharonO_7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Islamorada, Florida
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 July 2012

We had this trip in July, we were worried because is very long, but it was the best decision we have beautiful weather, saw Mt. Denali, and so much wildlife, bears with the cubs, Moose on the lake male and females, caribous, a lynx cat, more bears, sheep, and so more. Our guide mark was excellent, we have so more knowledge, and make the tour interesting, I usually sleep at some point in long trips, but I never close my eyes with him, learn so much about the ark and history, I will do it again and recommend this trip to anybody who visits Denali.

  • Stayed July 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
6 Thank Mari250
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Kantishna Roadhouse

Property: Kantishna Roadhouse
Address: 1 Doyon Pl # 300, Denali National Park and Preserve, AK 99701-2941
Phone Number:
Region: United States > Alaska > Denali National Park and Preserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #7 of 26 Speciality Lodging in Denali National Park and Preserve
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Kantishna Roadhouse 2.5*
Number of rooms: 32
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Kantishna Roadhouse is a backcountry lodge resort in the heart of Denali National Park. Comfortable well-appointed cabin lodging, all-inclusive experience. Enjoy abundant activities including daily guided hikes, gold panning with expert guides, free mountain bike rental/usage, and fly-fishing for Arctic Grayling in Moose Creek. For those that choose to stay in camp for the day, our comfortable natural history library, cozy lobby, or outdoor screened-in porch -- offer pleasant alternatives. This is a true Alaskan adventure in one of the most beautiful national parks in the world. The transportation to and from the resort is half the fun. Our red and white bus, marked "Kantishna Roadhouse," gives you the opportunity to see abundant wildlife in its natural setting, including grizzly bears, wolves, moose, caribou, dall sheep, among other critters. Kantishna Roadhouse is the only resort in the backcountry with a bar/saloon. Sip wine on the banks of the Moose River while you take in a beautiful sunset by the fire. Enjoy activities and relaxation. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Kantishna Roadhouse Hotel Denali National Park And Preserve
Kantishna Roadhouse Alaska/Denali National Park And Preserve

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