Denali Journals

Summer in Denali National Park

A June 1999 trip to Denali by ThereSheGoes

Quote: I accepted a job offer in beautiful Denali National Park in the summer of 1999. Between living in and exploring the area, I found many terrific things to see and do!

Summer in Denali National Park

Overview

Quote:
There are so many best things to do in Denali and the surrounding area. My most memorable moments were Open Mic nights at the various bars in the area, hiking up Mt. Healy for summer solstice and watching the sun circle our heads, taking a bus trip into the backcountry and being rescued from a grizzly bear. Quick Tips: Everyone working in the park is very friendly and willing to give suggestions on things to do. Ask the summer locals: working in the restaurants, hotel front desks, and gift shops. Summer employees are provided 'comp' trips on everything the park and surrounding areas have to offer. So, they really know the best companies and best trips to go on. Personally, I got to go for a f...Read More

Denali Salmon Bake

Restaurant

Quote:
I am biased, since I worked here and ate here every day for 3 months. That being said, after 3 months, I still enjoyed the food. There is a pretty inclusive salad bar inside the restaurant, with the rest of the food picked up outside at the cookshack. You can then either eat outside at the picnic tables or inside the expansive dining room. Breakfast offers reindeer sausage and huge pancakes. Dinner is baked salmon, which is the cookshack's specialty. I ate it nearly every night. If you are looking for a fine dining establishment, this is not it, though. The Salmon Bake is a restaurant that serves up great sandwiches, huge burgers, and tapioca pudding for dessert. Finally, the signs outside look a litt...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on March 19, 2004

Denali Salmon Bake
P.O. Box 107
Denali, Alaska 99755
(907) 683-2733

Alaska Cabin Nite Dinner Theater

Restaurant | "Alaska Or Bust Cabin Dinner Theatre"

Quote:
This is a fun dining experience. The dinner theatre is full of cheesy jokes about Alaskan ways and singing and dancing. Even being a 21-year-old single girl trying to look cool, I ended up laughing at some of the silly stunts. The dinner consisted of salmon (an Alaskan staple), rice pilaf, and roasted corn, all in huge Alaska-sized portions. Dessert was some kind of berry cobbler. You sit at long tables so you are expected to mingle with the people at your table, which also actually turned out to be fun. Most everyone there are tourists, and it is fun to hear what they did in the park.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 19, 2004

Alaska Cabin Nite Dinner Theater
McKinley Chalet Resort
Denali, Alaska
(800) 276-7234

Quote:
This is one of the 10 or so bars in the area. Every Wednesday they hold open-mic nights, which are always fun. Typical bar food is served here, I remember the pizza and jalepeno stuffed peppers were pretty good. Lots of local employees hang out here, especially after work, after 8pm or so. Therefore, if you aren't into the young 20-something scene, you may not want to hang out here at night. They often had a bar singer as well, who was often quite bad.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on March 19, 2004

Cruisers Bar at Princess Lodge
Denali National Park
Denali, Alaska

Black bear Coffee House

Restaurant | "Blackbear Coffee House"

Quote:
This is a cute coffeehouse on a boardwalk in Denali. They have internet access for pretty cheap, and huge lattes. They also have great sandwiches. This is a terrific place to chill and listen to people talking about moose and bear sightings in the area. Many of them are full of it, but they like to hang out here.

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on March 19, 2004

Black bear Coffee House
Denali National Park
Denali, Alaska

Quote:
I do not recommend this place. It is the last place for cooked food until you get into the park, which makes it the most expensive place in the area. The food is all pre-made and pre-packaged. The bagels were soggy and the pickles were droopy. Sodas cost over a dollar for a can. I would recommend stopping at any of the other restaurants in the area and getting either a pre-made box lunch or something before coming into the park.

Member Rating 1 out of 5 on March 19, 2004

Denali Park Hotel cafeteria
Denali National Park
Denali, Alaska

Lynx Creek Pizza

Restaurant

Quote:
Pizza! This is the only place to get pizza in the area, and all the local employees know it. It might not be the best pizza, but it is the only pizza, which means that the restaurant is extremely crowded at all hours of the day/night. The pizza choices aren't especially inventive, but again, it is the only pizza for 120 miles.

They serve Alaskan beers and have a nice patio out back. They also have boardgames like Scrabble and Candyland at the bar if you want to waste some time. The atomosphere here can't be beat; this is a great place to have a great meal.

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on March 19, 2004

Lynx Creek Pizza
Denali National Park
Denali, Alaska

The Smoke shack

Restaurant | "The Smokeshack"

Quote:
This is a great place to eat if you are looking for nachos or burritos. The area doesn't have much in the way of anything but salmon, so this place gets pretty full of local employees craving refried beans and tortilla chips. The place has picnic tables inside, carved with names of employees past (mine is on one of them...). They also have dollar bills people have drawn on covering the ceiling. The restaurant is enclosed in windows, making it like a warm greenhouse on colder days.

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on March 19, 2004

The Smoke shack
Denali National Park
Denali, Alaska

Denali National Park & Preserve

Attraction | "Area Hiking"

Quote:
Hiking in Denali is great. I have been on all the major trails in the area, and saw lots of animals. Lots of people too. Get a guidebook and maps from the visitor center before you go out. This is one park you don't want to get lost in. The trails right outside the park's entrance are usually crowded with slow tourists. I recommend taking the park bus into the actual park, then hiking around inside the park. If you are with people, you don't have to worry about bears, they will hear you coming. If you are out by yourself, you need to find a group of people to tag behind, or talk to yourself to let bears know you are coming. They are out there. Also, I'd recommend the ranger-led w...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on March 19, 2004

Denali National Park & Preserve
Alaska Route 3/George Parks Highway
Denali, Alaska
(907) 733-2231

Quote:
I went paddling down the Nenana River five or six times while I was working. It was my first time ever, and it was scary but fun. For a first trip, I'd recommend riding near the middle of the boat, on a guided trip, no paddling. If you are into a little (a lot) more adventure, sit in the front position on the boat, and grab a paddle. Going later in the summer gets you a better and more exciting ride, but early summer you get to see all of the wildflowers blooming. I recommend the above company - they give you complete drysuits (meaning you wear your street clothes and don't get wet) and a heated bus ride back to the starting point (the river is cold). If you go with a different company, ma...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on March 19, 2004

Nenana Rafting Company
Denali National Park
Denali, Alaska

A summer local's recommendations

Best Of IgoUgo

Story/Tip

Quote:
I found out about working up North on the internet. I interviewed over the phone, and flew up there by myself, a 21-year-old single girl, knowing no one and having no idea what I was getting myself into. I would recommend doing that 100%. It was the most amazing summer I have ever had, and I am still trying to convince my boyfriend to let me go back. I did Denali the cheap way, and had lots of fun. My grandparents did it the expensive way, and while they saw lots, they say they wouldn't do it again. Therefore, I recommend doing it cheaply. Camp in the park, or near it. You are okay in a tent as long as you don't have food inside. If you have a car, while you are in the area, do...Read More