How to Experience the Sheldon Mountain House in Alaska

When you need to unwind and get away from it all, where do you go? Do you pack up the car and head to the beach? How about the nearest spa? For some, the perfect place to unplug is a cabin in the snow. That’s exactly what you’ll find at the Sheldon Mountain House, a hexagonal hut in southcentral Alaska. Perched on a rock in the middle of Denali National Park, this house is a destination for wilderness-seekers. There’s no electricity, cell reception, or wifi – just a small woodstove and some great books. It’s a truly magical place, but it’s not for the faint of heart! Here are some things you should know about the house.

Everything You Need to Know About the Sheldon Mountain House

Brief History

Don Sheldon was a master glacier pilot who was revered by the climbers he flew into the Alaska Range. When he decided to build a shelter for mountaineers, skiers, and photographers, Don tied lumber to the wing struts of his Cessna 180. He made numerous flights into the Gorge before he had enough material to build the hut.

The Mountain House was constructed in 1966 by two Talkeetna locals. Today, the cabin is filled with history and even boasts years of visitor journals. Don’t forget to leave an entry of your own!

How to Get There

Surrounded on all sides by towering granite walls and glaciers, the Mountain House may be the world’s most spectacularly situated cabin. It sits in the middle of the Don Sheldon Amphitheater just above the Ruth Gorge, and the only way in is by airplane. A 40-minute flight from Talkeetna takes you to the airstrip, then it’s a 15-20 minute hike up to the cabin. Your air taxi will provide a sled and snowshoes to make lugging your gear a little easier.

What to Bring

The Mountain House is a cabin in the wilderness. There are four sleeping platforms that can comfortably fit four adults, and two more can sleep on the floor. Visitors must provide all of their own gear including sleeping bags, cooking utensils, clothing, and personal items. You’ll also need to bring your own food and water. Firewood is provided to keep the cabin warm at night.

Pro Tip: Be sure to pack plenty of extra food! Changing weather can cause guests to be weathered-in beyond their intended stay, sometimes for several days.

Important Things to Keep in Mind

Staying at the Sheldon Mountain House isn’t for everyone. People who have experience in wilderness environments see it as a unique structure in a spectacular setting; others view it as a primitive hut on rugged terrain. The Mountain House is best suited for adventurous spirits who can live without modern conveniences and take care of themselves without a guide. It is not recommended for children.

Make Your Reservations

Reservations for the Mountain House are open year-round and visitors can apply for a stay up to a year in advance. Kate Sheldon manages reservations for the cabin and is available by phone at (907) 854-7007 or via email at

The Sheldon Chalet

Recently, the Sheldon family constructed a luxury home in the middle of the Don Sheldon Amphitheater. The Sheldon Chalet sits on 4.9 acres of rock and ice and boasts sweeping views of the Alaska Range. Enjoy running water, electricity, and heat as well as amenities like an open concept kitchen and woodburning fireplace. You’ll even have a private chef. Visit the Chalet website for details and rates.

Come Home to Alaska Garden Gate B&B and Cottages

After a few days at the Sheldon Mountain House, treat yourself to a relaxing stay at our bed and breakfast. Our comfortable cottages, apartments, and bed and breakfast rooms are located in the heart of the Mat-Su Valley and have everything you need to unwind. We even provide a delicious breakfast each morning! Visit our accommodations page to see what’s available and contact us today to book your stay. We look forward to having you!

Looking for more great places to explore? Read our blog about Denali Basecamp.

Photo Credit: Get Outside Photography

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