McKinley Chalet Resort has an excellent location – just a couple of minutes from the entrance to Denali National Park. On arrival, McKinley Chalet Resort is impressive. The large timber and stone chalet-style building houses the lobby, shops, restaurant and coffee shop with accommodation in separate buildings overlooking the mountains.
Although there is a crowd in the lobby, we have a quick and easy check in.
The rooms are located in two-storey timber buildings over quite a large area, on land sloping down to the river at the back of the main building – with a backdrop of snow covered mountains. We are in T Block – an attractive, rustic looking timber building in immaculate condition. Our room is on the first floor.
The room is a pleasant surprise – we have a warm and cosy living room, bathroom and bedroom, and a pretty view through the trees to the river and mountains.
The living room is comfortably furnished with sofa and armchair, coffee table, side table, desk and TV.
The bedroom is a good size with opening windows overlooking trees and the river – we can hear the beautiful sound of the river as we drift off to sleep at night.
We have a Queen bed, bedside tables and lamps, small hanging space, luggage bench and TV. It has the feel of a log cabin.
The hand basin is located in an alcove between the living room and the bedroom, with the bathroom (shower and toilet) through a door near the basin. Soap, shampoo and conditioner are available in dispensers on the wall in the shower, and soap is provided for the hand basin.
It is a bit of a walk uphill back up to the main lodge building however a shuttle service runs regularly for those who don’t want to walk. An area called Denali Square is located in the centre of the resort (behind the main building and in front of the accommodation blocks). In Denali Square is Karstens bar and restaurant plus the Golden Nugget Saloon (Music of Denali Dinner and Theatre), and an outdoor area with benches and open fires. Unfortunately it was raining during our visit so not conducive to sitting outside.
There is no WIFI in the rooms – only in the main lodge building and the Denali Square precinct.
Canyon Steakhouse & Karstens
There are two main restaurants in the resort:
- Canyon Steakhouse in the main building, and
- Karstens Market and Espresso in Denali Square
We preferred the Canyon Steakhouse because it was smaller, less noisy and the food was delicious. However we also had a good meal at Karstens Market restaurant – a different experience – it was a large, more impersonal place to eat – and is located in a large building on Denali Square which also includes a bar.
Grizzly Grind Espresso
In the main lodge building there is also the Grizzly Grind Espresso – a casual coffee café – eat in or takeaway. Box lunches are available from Grizzly Grind to take on the tours into Denali National Park but must be ordered the evening before the tour and collected on the morning of your tour (be early to pick up as there are long queues in the morning).
Village of Nenana Canyon
McKinley Chalet Resort is in the small settlement of Nenana Canyon on the Parks Highway – about 1.5 kms from the entrance to Denali National Park. There are two main resorts here – McKinley Chalet Resort and Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge plus a number of shops and eateries.
McKinley Chalet Resort is open mid-May to mid-September. The resort had only just opened for the season during our stay and a lot of the staff are new.
McKinley Chalet Resort – highly recommended
We enjoyed our stay at the McKinley Chalet Resort. The accommodation is very clean, cosy and well maintained. It has good restaurants on site and is just across the road from a selection of independent eateries and shops. The Resort is only a couple of minutes drive from the entrance of Denali National Park.
17-18 May 2018