Great Alaska Endurance Race
June 20th, 2021
Start Line Lodging
Denali135 Runners and their crews will be required to attend the pre-race meeting and dinner at the historic Gakona Lodge located approx. 3.5 hrs from Anchorage on June 19th at 4pm. The Lodge is located approx.. 1 hr south of the starting line of the race in Paxson.
The Gakona Lodge has accommodations for approx. 28 people and other area lodging within an easy hour’s drive of the lodge or less can be found here:
Search AirBnB for the Gakona and Glennallen areas.
RV Campers can stay at Gakona RV Park
Denali100K Runners and their crews will be required to attend the
pre-race briefing and dinner at the Alpine Creek Lodge which is approximately half way across the Denali Highway. The pre-race briefing will be held at 1pm on June 20th. The race begins at 2pm so don’t be late.
Lodging is available at Alpine Creek Lodge and they have some room for RV’s and tent camping. Really reasonable rates.
Finish Line Lodging
The Denali135 race finishes just outside the town of Cantwell near the junction of the Denali Highway and Parks Highway. Originally, the Post-race award dinner was to be held on the campus of our Non Profit Partner, The Denali Education Center. Plans have changed as our host will not be opening this summer due to Covid related difficulties. For this year (2021), the Post-race award dinner will be held nearby at McKinley Creekside Cabins. Lodging can be found in the vicinity at various lodges, Airbnb’s and campgrounds. Use the terms “Mckinley Village” or “Denali Park” when searching.
Please contact Sean@Spirit-Trips.com for assistance with locating lodging.
The Denali Education Center is an amazing local Alaskan non-profit who works with Denali National Park whose entrance is 20 minutes away and whose mission is to “Promote understanding and appreciation of Denali through informative and inspiring programs”.
It is imperative that runners and their crews reserve all of their lodging as soon possible since lodging starts to fill up in Alaska quickly after the first of the year. For lodging reccomendations, contact Sean@spirit-trips.com
Denali135 and Denali100k Race Ambassadors
Dan is the ultra legend you've probably never heard of. He's the record holder of Ultra Grand Slams at 8, 11 Western States finishes, 8 Leadville finishes, 12 Vermont 100 finishes. 112 hundred mile race finishes!
Maybe the greatest thing about Dan is his kindness and unassuming manner. He's a heck of a nice guy!
Check out Dan's race results at UltraSignup
All car rentals should be made the same time as lodging to ensure securing a rental vehicle. Only a limited number of rental car companies rent cars that can be driven on the Denali Highway due to the gravel surface of the road so Spirit Trips has partnered with Alaska 4×4 Rentals to provide competitive rental rates for SUV’s, Jeeps and Trucks that can be used as crew vehicles and driven on the Denali Highway and during your stay in Alaska.
This is a convenient arrangement since Alaska4x4 is located at the Anchorage Airport and make the pick-up and drop off of your rental vehicle super easy and straight forward.
As with lodging and car rentals…..RV rentals fill up quickly each year so reservations should also be made no later than January 15th.
Denali Highway driving tips and etiquette will be discussed during the mandatory pre race meeting in Gakona.
Nothing too crazy…just a few tips to make your trip more enjoyable.
Sample Itinerary (7-8 days in Alaska total)
Since any trip to Alaska is a big deal, we thought we would give you a basic outline of what you could accomplish in a week’s time when you come up for the Denali135. It’s a biiiig state so we encourage you to take as much in as you can while you’re there.
Day 1 – Arrive Anchorage and pick up your rental car (and coolers….info on those in Runners Info Pkg)
Day 2 – Spend Day in Anchorage food shopping and taking in local sights.
Or……travel to Gakona and do activity there….fishing/rafting/flightseeing etc.
Day 3 – Arrive Gakona for Mandatory pre-race meetings and dinner.
Day 4 – Run the Denali135…and maybe finish for the speedsters!
Day 5 – Run the Denali 135
Day 6 – Post-race dinner and award ceremony at McKinley Creekside Cabins….explore Denali National Park area.
Day 7 – Explore Denali Park area activities or Travel south to Talkeetna for activities there or depart for home from Anchorage Alaska with your badass Denali135 belt buckle.
If you have additional time, the Kenai Peninsula 4 hours drive south of Anchorage has some amazing scenery and activities galore. Rafting, Fishing, Gold Panning, Bear Viewing etc.
We know Alaska pretty well so don’t hesitate to ask us anything about how to make your Denali135 adventure a trip to remember!!
If time permits, we strongly recommend any guided trips with Ascending Path One hour south of Anchorage. Owners Heather and Matt run a top notch program with an excellent selection of amazing trips in Girdwood/Spencer Glacier. Take our word on this one.
Contributing back to the communities where we hold our races is super important to us at Spirit Trips. In the case of the Denali100K & Denali135, we have chosen to raise awareness and donations for the Denali Education Center. The people at The Denali Education Center strive to bring awareness and appreciation for Denali National Park and their programs and outreach range from taking visitors on 2 hour interpretive guided natural history walks to multi day immersive nature programs for youth who without the Denali Education Centers outreach and passion, would never have a chance to experience the wonder of Denali. Our post race award banquet was to be held there at their campus but due to restraints placed on their programing due to Covid, we will be joining them for the 2022 running of our Denali races.
Spirit Trips will be donating a portion of each race registration fee to The Denali Education Center and we strongly encourage our runners and their crew & pacers to do donate however they feel they can.
To share the words of Henry David Thoreau…..
“In Wilderness is the preservation of the World”