by Phil Corless
Surrounded by large resorts, these 39 handbuilt log cabins stand out as an authentic and affordable wilderness experience. Ideal for a small family, some of the cabins have two queen beds, while others have a king bed and a full sleeper sofa. The rustic exterior of each cabin hides a luxurious interior decorated in tasteful alpine furnishings. Other amenities include satellite TV, coffeemaker and free Wi-Fi. Above the cabins is a large viewing deck where guests can warm up in a wood-fired sauna or relax in an outdoor hot tub while watching the sunset. The onsite restaurant, The Overlook, is a fine dining experience that highlights a farm-to-table and port-to-plate philosophy. For something more casual, walk down the hill to Prospector Pizza for a kid-friendly meal.
Denali Crow’s Nest Cabins is 10 minutes from the Denali National Park Visitor Center. Free shuttles run between the hotel and the park entrance, as well as the train station and area shops. You can pre-book many local excursions and activities through the hotel’s website at a discounted price. Older kids will love taking an ATV tour into the Denali wilderness, while parents might enjoy touring a newly opened brewery. The Denali Crow’s Nest Cabins have made it easy to schedule a satisfying itinerary in one of the most exciting places in Alaska. Having a quiet log cabin to return to at the end of the day makes this a great choice for your family adventure to Denali National Park.
Our Editor Loves
- Hot tub and sauna
- Handbuilt rustic log cabins
- Onsite restaurant
- Horse Back Riding
- Water Sports
- Free Wi-Fi
- Onsite Dining
by Franklin F
My wife and I, along with another couple, celebrated our fortieth anniversary by taking a “bucket list” trip to Alaska. With only one exception, this trip was everything -- and more -- than we thought it would be. The one exception to this delightful experience was the three miserable nights (September 9, 10, & 11, 2019) spent in the Crow’s Nest Cabins at mile 238.5 Parks Highway, Denali National Park and Preserve, AK 99755. These three nights were not simply unpleasant, they were somewhat dangerous as well. When we first arrived, we were told that we could either be shuttled to our rooms which were on the fourth level of a terraced hillside, or we could walk, but that we could not drive because there was no parking. We chose the shuttle and were taken to our rooms. The first room appeared to be clean and presentable, however the second room smelled strongly of a dead rodent. Our friends requested another room, a request that was initially answered by sending a maid with a can of deodorant spray and a message from the manager on duty that there were no other rooms available. When our friends explained that this was not sufficient and threatened to leave, the manager reluctantly discovered an empty room and they were reassigned to the second level.
One of the reasons we chose the Crow’s Nest was that the “Overlook Restaurant” was on site. However, upon arrival we were informed that the restaurant whose “central philosophy is ‘Farm to Table and Port to Plate’” was closed for the season. We had not been informed of this closure and it compounded our dissatisfaction when we discovered that our continental breakfast was primarily dry cereal, bagels, bread, milk, coffee, orange juice, and some not-too-fresh store bought pastries.
Three of the reasons that I believe that the Crow’s Nest accommodations were not only unpleasant, but were dangerous as well, are as follows: The railings and foundations on the fourth level were not sound. The foundations had “settled” and thus the floor in the room tilted toward the front. Since the room tilted, the bathroom door had to be completely closed or it would swing open; this wouldn’t have been a major problem except that when it swung open it rested against the room’s heater. It was obvious that this problem had existed for some time since the back of the door was singed. The entire fourth level was in such bad shape that my friend described it this way: “the fourth floor was more than just not level -- it was horribly twisted and warped, like a hall of mirrors at a carnival, there were no straight lines or right angles…(and he was)...amazed that they hadn’t been condemned by the local authorities.” In addition to the problems with the precarious physical structure of the fourth level, there was a distinct odor of raw sewage as one climbed the stairs from the second to the fourth levels.
One of the things that bothered us the most was that we felt that we were constantly deceived. We had been told that there was an open restaurant on site -- and there wasn’t; that there was a great continental breakfast -- and there wasn’t; that there were no empty rooms -- and then we noticed that very few of the rooms were actually occupied, and that except for the employees vehicles, there were only two or three cars in the lot.
The charge for these rooms was $279/day; a charge that was considerably out of line for what we received. I will note that we went near the end of the season and that there appeared to be only a “skeleton crew” of seasonal staff trying to handle things. It appeared that management had decided to shutter the place for the fall and had left everything in the hands of a few young people who did the best they could with what they had been handed, but who lacked the authority to offer anything but excuses. I don’t blame the staff for the abysmal state of affairs, but I do blame the owners/management for promising one type of experience and then delivering another. I am sixty-eight years old, have traveled extensively, and believe that the conditions and deceptions at the Crow’s Nest are indefensible. We were charged high season rates for abysmal, low season service and extremely sub-par accommodations.
by Marie W
My husband & I stayed 4 nights because we wanted to be close (1 mile) to the national park. For what we paid, there is so much wrong with this place. We really didn’t mind having to climb 4 flights of outdoor stairways to our cabin. When we went inside, it was like going into a fun house with slanted floors. Hubby’s beer bottle almost slid off a dry table! There is no fridge in the cabin. The lights are dim & inadequate; 1 bathroom light did not illuminate the shower, pretty dark in there. Other reviewers mention the fluffy beds: they’re fluffy because of the good quality feather bed & down comforter. BUT I woke up with a backache each morning because under all that fluff is an ancient 1980s swayback mattress! We had a rental car so could get ourselves in & out of the park easily. Next time look at other options in Glitter Gulch if you are going to pay Crowsnest prices. I must say the staff was very sweet & helpful, even tho they were closing for the season in a few days. Next time we think we may opt to stay 10 miles north in Healy.