Daydreams of a quiet cabin in the heart of the Alaskan wilderness come true at Kenai Backcountry Lodge, enviably tucked away in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge on the shores of Skilak Lake. Accessible only by boat, the Lodge accommodates just 16 to 18 guests at a time and makes every effort to be as sustainable as possible. The former 1930s hunting lodge was transformed into a rustically elegant retreat with an outdoor gazebo, wood-fired sauna and main gathering lodge, all powered by a custom hydro-electric system to minimize dependence on generators. Guests can rest and reconnect with the nature around them, distanced from the more heavily touristed areas of the state. Activities led by expert guides highlight the remote wilderness area, including hiking the magnificent Cottonwood Trail, kayaking on the lake and evening bonfires.
Settle into one of nine guest cabins, each just a short walk from the main lodge, the gazebo, the sauna and the Skilak Lake beachfront. While the cabins are connected via gravel pathways and boardwalks, the Lodge has diligently kept the grounds as natural as possible. Each guest cabin is heated and has a minimum of two beds, a private en suite bathroom and shower, fluffy towels, simple furnishings, a private porch and a propane light. The lodge and cabins are not wheelchair-accessible and not all cabins can support CPAP machines. Electrical outlets are available in the main lodge and other public spaces throughout the property.
After rafting down the Kenai River and through the Kenai Canyon, guests are motored across Skilak Lake, where they can check into their cabin and learn the lay of the land. Guided activities, such as hiking, boat tours and kayaking, are available daily. All meals are included in one’s stay and are served family-style (dietary restrictions can be accommodated with advance notice). Expect hot breakfast buffets, lunch fixings from sandwich ingredients to homemade cookies, cold beverages readily available each afternoon, and four-course dinners, accompanied by wine and Alaskan microbrews.
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