Situated against the Alaskan Range in Denali National Park, Kantishna Roadhouse is located in a place of extraordinary beauty and rustic Alaskan-style adventure. Located 90 miles inside Denali National Park, the lodge features 32 full-service cabins set along a meandering creek. The beautiful log main lodge includes a dining area, a library resource room, a hand-crafted bar, a spacious lobby and even Smoky Joe’s Saloon.
Wildlife viewing and photographic opportunities abound. Guided hikes leave each morning from the main lodge, mountain bikes are perfect for exploring old mining roads and fly-fishing in nearby Moose Creek is a favorite activity for beginners and experienced fishermen alike. Flightseeing trips can also be arranged. There are a variety of cultural programs at the lodge and guests can even try panning for gold. Kantishna Roadhouse has something for everyone—adventure travelers, wilderness enthusiasts, families or solitude seekers.
Kantishna Roadhouse Review
AdventureSmith Explorations’ Kantishna Roadhouse review includes a detailed description and photo gallery. Our adventure travel experts have firsthand knowledge about where to stay in Denali National Park, and can help compare the Kantishna Roadhouse with other adventure lodging and Alaska land tours.
Choose the Kantishna Roadhouse for its exceptional value and historic location in the Kantishna mining district, meaning you experience authentic Alaskan culture in addition to the natural wonders of Denali. Owned and operated by an Alaska native corporation, the Kantishna Roadhouse is our preferred lodge inside Denali National Park and it receives good reviews from our travelers.
Kantisha Roadhouse History
The Kantishna Roadhouse lies deep in the heart of Alaska’s pristine wilderness of Denali National Park and dates back to 1918. The property has evolved over time, with stints as a private residence, community center, post office, gold miner’s tent camp and informal hotel. Steeped in history and local flair, guests can still see the old log structure and other remnants of the past throughout the property. Many nights were spent spinning tales of the trail over a hot cup of coffee and a hearty meal. Today, guests still can enjoy sharing tales of Alaskan adventure over coffee and hearty meals.
Common Areas at Kantishna Roadhouse
The Kantishna Roadhouse main building serves as the central social and meeting area for guests. The beautiful log Roadhouse building is the hub of activities, meals and general relaxation. Sit inside a huge lobby in front of a crackling fire, the front desk, gift shop, activities desk, library, dining rooms and saloon.
Due to the remote location, there is no radio, television, cell phone service or internet access at the Roadhouse. A satellite pay-phone is available on the property for outgoing calls. Electricity is produced on-site by a 100kw diesel generator, making electricity a precious commodity that must be carefully conserved. As such, electrical appliances such as hair dryers, coffee pots, irons and electric alarm clocks are not provided in the rooms. Battery operated alarm clocks are available at the front desk.
Located upstairs from the Lobby, the Roadhouse Library contains a huge collection of Alaskan books, DVDs, puzzles and games. This area also hosts the afternoon and evening naturalist activities when held indoors. A beautiful second-story screen porch is accessed through the Library. This area boasts large comfortable chairs and seating; a perfect place to relax with friends or a good book and listen to the soothing sounds of Moose Creek just below.
Dining at Kantishna Roadhouse
The main Roadhouse contains two dining rooms with fireplaces in each. The smaller dining area is used for breakfast and lunch and the larger, more formal dining room, for dinner. Large windows provide lovely views of Moose Creek and occasionally, wildlife will wander by—causing quite a stir in the dining room. Meals are a great part of the experience. After a long day of hiking, biking, fishing and fun in Denali National Park, there is nothing better than a fine family-style dinner to bring people closer together.
All Roadhouse meals are prepared with the freshest ingredients possible; in fact, some veggies are grown in the backyard Alaskan-sized greenhouse. Breads and other scrumptious treats are baked fresh daily and the kitchen often features wild salmon, halibut and cod from Alaskan waters. The Roadhouse features complete breakfasts, lunches and dinners. With advance notice, the kitchen staff can accommodate most specialty diets. For guests going on day hikes, the kitchen prepares sack lunches for the trail. A beverage station with coffee and tea is open throughout the day and evening.
To compliment a meal, the Kantishna Roadhouse has the only full-service saloon in the Denali Park backcountry. The Roadhouse Saloon serves a great selection of complimentary fine wines and Alaskan beers, as well as all traditional spirits and libations for purchase. The bar itself and much of the shelving are handmade from Hawaiian koa and Alaskan birch—a striking and beautiful combination and conversation piece that contributes to the comfortable atmosphere. Appetizers are served each evening at 5:00pm in the Saloon and a guide is in attendance to answer questions about activities and programs for the following day.
Activities at the Kantishna Roadhouse
Kantishna Roadhouse features an abundance of included guided activities to explore the wonders of Denali’s wilderness. An activity desk in the main lodge is staffed by naturalist guides and contains maps, schedules and descriptions of the guided hikes and activities available daily. Each evening, meet with a guide to plan activities for the following day. Guides can also assist in planning your own, independent activities. And onsite the lawn offers various games, including volleyball.
Wildlife Viewing (When Arriving/Departing by Bus)
During your travel to and from the Kantishna Roadhouse you will have excellent opportunities to see wildlife in their natural habitat. The height of the bus and its large sliding windows provide the perfect viewing platform as you meander through the Park. Very experienced Driver/Guides are expert wildlife spotters and will stop the bus whenever an animal or view of Denali comes into range. Binoculars and cameras will be put to great use as you enjoy the amazing landscapes and animals of Denali.
Guided hiking is the premier activity at the Roadhouse. Join daily walking and hiking excursions, either directly from the Roadhouse or a nearby trailhead. Guided hikes leave the Roadhouse each morning—you can choose a 2-hour walk or take a bag lunch and hike for up to 6 hours. Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or advanced trekker, the Roadhouse offers an opportunity for you to explore the Park on foot and learn about the wildlife and flora of the Kantishna Hills from an experienced naturalist guide.
If mountain biking is a favorite outdoor activity, then spend some time exploring the countryside by mountain bike. Pedal to Wonder Lake or investigate the old mining roads in the area, via a standard bike or e-bike. Ask a guide to assist with bike and helmet selection. Daypacks and water bottles are also available.
Moose Creek flows through the property and arctic grayling (a member of the trout family) are abundant in its crystal clear waters; so whether you’ve always wanted to try your hand at fly fishing or you’re an experienced fishing enthusiast, this is the activity for you. Hip boots and both fly and spinning rods are available for guest use and your first lure or fly is complimentary. A selection of tackle is available for purchase at the front desk and fishing licenses are not required in the park. A solitary morning or evening spent casting in the ripples is a unique and wonderful way to connect with nature. Practice catch and release fishing at the Roadhouse.
Kayaking & Stand-Up Paddleboarding
At nearby Wonder Lake, grab a paddle and hit the water in a kayak or paddleboard to enjoy one of the park’s largest bodies of water (2.5 miles long and 0.5 miles wide). A short bike ride or 10-minute shuttle ride bring guests to and from this not-to-be-missed lake. Roughly 30% of guests see Mt. Denali from the water when the weather is fair.
Dog Team Presentation
One of the most uniquely Alaskan activities is the dog team presentation. Emmitt Peters Jr., son of Iditarod Dog Mushing Champion Emmitt Peters Sr., will regale you with a talk about dog mushing in Alaska. Afterwards, he will take you to meet the team of Alaskan sled dogs, harness them up and take them for a run. Since there is no snow in summer to run a sled on, the team is run with an ATV, which is a common way to exercise dogs in the summer. This presentation is educational as well as entertaining—be sure to have your camera ready.
The Kantishna district was the sight of a gold rush in the early 1900s. Every afternoon provides a chance to slip on a pair of rubber boots, grab a pan and head for Moose Creek with a guide to learn the history and methods of the old-time prospectors and try your hand at panning for a little “color.” Any gold you find is yours to keep and onsite staff are happy to create a complimentary “Gold Card” for you at the front desk—your gold flakes will shimmer and shine when they are laminated onto the black card. Kids of all ages—9 to 90—thoroughly enjoy this activity and are astounded to learn about the legendary lives and times of the early prospectors.
Fannie Quigley Cabin Tour
Within a short hike or shuttle ride from Kantishna Roadhouse lies the cabin of Fannie Quigley, a frontierswoman who stood out among her fellow miners. Enjoy a guided tour of Fannie’s cabin and hear tales of her efforts to survive in the backcountry and find gold.
Give yourself a true gift and the special attention you deserve during your stay with a full body massage. The in-house massage therapist offers 1-hour and 1.5-hour massage treatments in a private and tranquil spa setting. After an adventurous day of hiking, biking or fishing, any aches, pains or tension will be released as you connect with yourself and with nature during this luxuriating treatment. Chair massage is also available in the afternoons. Note: Massage is at additional cost.
For guests arriving via aircraft, the 55-minute flight in and out is a spectacular part of staying at Kantishna Roadhouse. At the private airstrip of Denali Air, just south of the park entrance, board a 206 Cessna with up to 4 other guests to soar over the Denali wilderness. In fair weather you may see Mt. Denali, the Alaska Range, boreal forest, lakes and tundra. For additional flightseeing during your stay, tours can be booked at the Roadhouse front desk. Visit Kantishna Air Taxi for more info about their flightseeing opportunities.
Each evening, relax in a cozy setting as the naturalist guides provide a lecture from a variety of possible topics. Through these nightly lectures, learn fascinating details about native Alaskan culture, Kantishna, Denali and its surrounding wilds.
Accommodations at Kantishna Roadhouse
The guest cabins at Kantishna Roadhouse are the epitome of Alaskan charm and style. They are delightfully scenic, quiet and cozy. Built from Alaskan White spruce logs, these cabins are cozy and comfortable – each furnished with two beds, either full-size or queen-size. Down comforters and quilts will keep you warm and cozy on chilly Alaskan summer nights. All cabins are part of a duplex or four-plex, and each cabin has its own private bathroom and scenic front porch. All cabins are just minutes away from the Roadhouse main lodge, dining room and saloon.
For guests with special mobility needs, Kantishna Roadhouse has two fully accessible cabins outfitted with ramps for easy entry. One of these cabins has a king-size bed and the other features a queen-size bed plus a twin. Both feature accessible showers and a larger floor plan than the other cabins to make them easy to navigate for guests traveling with a wheelchair or scooter. These cabins are located very near to the main lodge building and are a good choice for guests with limited mobility.