What makes the KANTISHNA ROADHOUSE different from the other lodges inside the Park?
Most of the differences are subtle and will gently become apparent as you settle into your stay. But mostly, it is the sense of permanence and history about the place and the people. The Kantishna Roadhouse is owned and operated by Doyon Native Corporation whose shareholders are of Athabascan Indian decent and have ties to the land that date back thousands of years. You will have the opportunity to interact with many Alaska Native staff members at the Kantishna Roadhouse. These lifelong Alaskans are happy to share information about their culture and heritage as well as their personal stories of life in modern-day Alaska. Alaska is a vast state with a total population of less than one million people spread across millions of acres. The road system is very limited and many Alaska Native villages are only accessible by air. Therefore, many visitors come to Alaska and never interact with real Alaskans; but at the Kantishna Roadhouse you will have that unique and rewarding opportunity.
It’s a lot of money, is it worth it?
Because it is an all-inclusive package, the total price is indeed a lot of money by anyone’s standards. While there is really no other way to offer our product, it does present challenges in conveying the value of the purchase. By including roundtrip transportation on our private bus, your sleeping cabin with full bath, all meals and snacks, and guided activities, we have selected the best of everything for your stay in the remote backcountry of Denali. Yes, it can be done more economically by riding in on an unguided Park shuttle bus and hiking into a remote camping area with all of your food and accommodations on your back—and that is exactly what some folks are looking for. But our philosophy is that hiking, biking, and fishing during the day and returning to a comfortable cabin, a hot shower, and a beautifully prepared meal at the end of the day is WORTH IT! The inclusive guided activities can also make a real difference in your experience of Denali. Our interpretive guides are ready to show you everything from the tiniest wildflower to the splendor of the Alaska Range of mountains while guiding and supporting you as you go. Safety combined with discovery, fun and adventure is the foundation upon which we build our hikes and other activities. A knowledgeable naturalist guide will keep you safe and introduce you to the wonders of this wild and amazing place.
Is there cell phone coverage and Internet access?
The Kantishna Roadhouse is located 93 miles inside Denali National Park and is surrounded by 6 million acres of true wilderness. There are no telephone lines or towers and thus NO cell phone coverage. Satellite pay phones are the only telephone connections available. If you foresee a need to place a phone call while you are staying with us, you may either bring a pre-paid phone card or purchase one at our front desk to place a call from the coinless pay phone located in a small private booth on property. There is no way to send or receive a fax during your stay. We have a limited satellite internet connection for business use only; the bandwidth is small and the price is high and we are therefore unable to offer it to our guests, even for a charge—it is for critical business functions only. This is your opportunity to truly DISCONNECT from the barrage of daily electronic messaging that has overtaken our culture. For a mere 48 or 72 hours you can turn off your phone and computer and soak up the sights and sounds of nature!
Are gratuities included in the price?
Gratuities along with retail purchases, alcohol, spa treatments and optional flightseeing are not included in the package price. We are unable to put gratuities on a credit card and we are unable to cash personal checks. Gratuity envelopes are available at the front desk for your use at the end of your stay. We ask that you address the envelopes to those individuals that have made your stay memorable or, to a particular staff of individuals such as the Guide Staff, Dining Room Staff, or Housekeeping. All envelopes marked for “All Staff” will be combined at the end of the season to purchase something that can be used by all staff members; for example, one year eight new bicycles were purchased for staff use.
Is alcohol available for purchase?
Kantishna Roadhouse is the only backcountry lodge with a full-service bar. We offer an extensive (in wilderness terms!) wine list, Alaskan beers on tap (no cans or bottles), and all your favorite spirits at very reasonable prices. We are not endeavoring to make a profit but rather to provide a service, and we ask that you please do NOT bring your own alcohol. Baggage space is limited on our bus and the care and handling of heavy bottles is not considered to be part of the baggage service. Additionally, all garbage must be transported out of the Park on a weekly basis and that space is also limited. Thank you for respecting our policy and allowing us to serve you from our saloon while you are with us. We guarantee that you will be pleased with both our service and our prices.
Why does it take so long to get to the Roadhouse?
The lodge is 93 miles from the park entrance and accessible only by travel along a narrow, mostly gravel road that winds its way through the park. Frequent stops are made along the way as guests enjoy the views, snap photos of wildlife or just take a break at one of the convenient rest/interretive stops offered by the park service.
Why do you have a two night minimum stay and recommend three nights?
Because we are deep inside the park and accessible to so much natural beauty, hiking and lots of backcountry activities, we recommend that our guests take full advantage of this opportunity to enjoy a unique and once in a lifetime stay inside this park.
Which is easier in terms of time, arrival from Anchorage or from Fairbanks?
This all depends on your choice for travel to the entrance of Denali National Park. Guests traveling by rental car can choose either city as a starting point. If you choose to travel on the Alaska Railroad, boarding in Fairbanks means that you may arrive at the Denali Depot in time to board our tour bus that departs daily from the Denali Train Depot. But, if you choose to travel by train from Anchorage, you will arrive too late to continue on to the lodge on the same day. This choice means an overnight accommodation at the entrance to the park. We recommend choosing a hotel that offers full transfer services from/to the rail depot.
Why am I only allowed one checked bag on the bus; and why does that bag have to be a roll-aboard size?
Our buses have seating for up to 40 guests and the area for luggage at the back of the bus is limited. If the bus is at full capacity, one roll-aboard sized bag per person would completely fill the luggage area. On your trip into the lodge the bus might not be filled to capacity, however, on your return trip it could be. Therefore, we must strictly adhere to our luggage policy at all times.