TALKEETNA, Alaska -- Climbers attempting to trek the
20,320-foot-high Mount McKinley, called Denali, or "the Great One,"
by native Alaskan Athabaskan Indians, regularly use Talkeetna as
the base camp for their great ascent.
Lately, however, Talkeetna has become a destination unto
Shore excursions put together by cruise companies include
Talkeetna as a stopping point between Anchorage and Denali National
Benefiting from this influx of visitors is the 98-room Talkeetna
With 104 additional rooms scheduled to come on line next May,
bookings are already coming in strong for next summer, said general
manager Sharlene Berg. This past summer, the lodge maintained 90%
occupancy, said Berg.
Royal Caribbean alone has blocked 80 rooms a week throughout
next summer to accommodate its new tour company, Royal Celebrity
Tours, she said.
Meanwhile, Holland America's tour company filled an average of
30 rooms a night this summer, Berg said.
In addition to cruise passengers, another of the lodge's major
markets is independent travelers who come to Talkeetna to fish its
salmon-rich Susitna River, said Berg.
In the winter months, the inn relies on local conferences to
fill its empty rooms weekdays and on locals for weekend
The lodge is made up of seven buildings, including a main lodge
and four guest lodges. All rooms feature dataports, coffeemakers,
satellite TV and hair dryers. Outside, a hot tub bubbles and steams
year-round on the lower deck.
At the Base Camp Lounge near the lobby, guests sip beer, wine
and spirits while viewing a Hall of Fame wall celebrating climbers
who "peaked" Denali.
"The lodge captures the spirit of the mountain better than its
own national park," said Berg.
Rates range from $99 per person, double, during the shoulder
season, to $169 per person, double, May through August.
Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge
Phone: (888) 959-9590