Denali Dispatch

Denali Dispatch is a journal of the goings on at Camp Denali.


Written by members of our staff, this journal is an opportunity to peek into life in Denali: notable events, wildlife sightings, conservation issues, recipes from our kitchen, and insights into the guest experience at Camp Denali. Dispatches will carry on through the winter, when we hope to share stories of snowy ski adventures, deep cold, and the events of a small Alaskan community.

An Outhouse?!

October 19, 2016

Throughout the years of operating Camp Denali and North Face Lodge, we’ve spent many a phone call talking to people about our lodges. Camp Denali, specifically, is regarded as a must-do, truly authentic, Alaskan experience. We are the first to admit it is not for everyone, but it can be a perfect fit for many travelers, even if it doesn’t seem so at first glance. What is one of the most common hesitations people have about Camp Denali? Outhouses!

We know what you are thinking: A midnight nature call, dark, stumbling along a trail, and then, OH NO! A BEAR! Forget it, no way, I need an indoor bathroom.

The above scene is not an unfamiliar fear of guests interested in joining us in the heart of Denali, but who do not feel comfortable with an outhouse. Allow us to set the record straight with a few key points about Camp Denali’s outhouses:

  1. Distance: Each cabin and outhouse configuration is slightly different. Distances from a cabin to an outhouse vary from 10-40 steps on a maintained trail. If you have mobility concerns or frequent nighttime nature calls, just let us know a closer outhouse is an important requirement for you.
  2. Large animals: It is very rare for a bear to wander onto our property. Although it has happened every now and again, it is not an event we expect. Chances of a large animal being on the trail to your outhouse is slim at best. Grizzlies in Denali are not like bears in other places; they have not been habituated to humans so prefer to steer clear of human activity.
  3. Darkness: The majority of summer in Alaska experiences daylight well into the nighttime hours. In June and July, we have average daylight of 20 hours/day. Once August rolls around, the sun begins to set for a few hours each night. For those times of the summer, there will be a flashlight in your cabin.
  4. Privacy: Each cabin has its own private outhouse. The main bathhouse is a shared facility with hot showers and flush toilets located next to the dining room, but your outhouse is yours and yours alone during your stay.
  5. View: Most of our outhouses do have a view of Denali. Those that do not are tucked away more privately, offering a different advantage. Regardless, the walk to your outhouse brings you outside during some of the best times for mountain viewings or northern lights displays.
  6. Cleanliness: We clean our outhouses regularly. We advertise them as well-maintained and pristine, and we make a point to follow through on our promises! Guests are typically pleasantly surprised at the minimal odor and overall cleanliness of their outhouse.
  7. Chamber pots: We are happy to provide your cabin with a chamber pot during your stay to save frequent trips out of doors.
  8. Sustainability: Think about all the water you are saving. Every time a toilet is flushed, several gallons of water are used. Denali is an arctic desert, and our water is sourced from the hillside right behind the property. Outhouses are a great way to contribute to water conservation.

Don’t believe us? Guests have the same things to say after they join us for a stay at Camp Denali. Below are guest comments taken from TripAdvisor reviews:

- Although our room had no running water or electricity and we had to use an outhouse, this was an awesome experience.

- If you can view outhouses, gas lamps and wood stoves as part of an adventure and not an inconvenience, this place is for you.

- The tiny cabins and outhouses were spotless.

- I have to admit I was a little apprehensive about the outhouse but by the time I was leaving (3 days later), it was no big deal. It wasn't just any old outhouse. It was cute with a regular toilet seat, very clean, and had a window with a view of Denali.

- “Four Seasons Experience & an Outhouse!”

- Surprising how quickly you get used to the outhouse!

- Fun factoid - even the outhouses have a great view of the mountain (yeah, I had to verify it).

- I know they also have a lodge but quite honestly, given that the price is the same, I would strongly recommend the cabins instead unless someone simply cannot stand to use an otherwise pristine outhouse with a million dollar view.

- They say that they maintain their outhouses and they do.

- Just go here. There is no place else to stay with this view. I am not a fan of the outhouse, but it came with an amazing view and a great overall experience.

- Ok, there's an outhouse. Ok, the showers are in a different building. But who cares if you have such spectacular views of Denali? Will we return? Very likely.

- Do not let the idea of outhouses scare you, this destination should not be missed.

Now that you have our detailed overview of Camp Denali’s outhouses, including visuals, we hope you will consider it an adventure worth having.


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