Denali - 2006

Old Nov 28th, 2005, 10:54 AM
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Denali - 2006

When does Denali changes color in Fall ? I would want to see Polychrome Pass in orange and red. However, the latest day for a shuttle to Polychrome is 8/23. Is it too early for fall change of colors? Do I have to depend on a shuttle to get to/from Polychrome and hike there ?
Thanks.
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Old Nov 28th, 2005, 12:31 PM
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I'll defer to Budget Queen's Alaska expertise (esp. about Denali) but we were in Denali on 8/27 a couple of years ago. Took the Wilderness tour -- it's longer than the apparently useless Natural History tour. We were blessed with great wildlife sightings -- moose, caribou, dall sheep, grizzlies, even a lynx. But my favorite memory was the stop at the top of Polychrome Pass -- the sweep of scenery is huge and wonderful. It made me want to sing, but I refrained because I was not alone ;-) The trip was a few days after the first frost, and the tundra had changed to its fall shades of gold and burgundy. Oh, and no mosquitoes...

Maybe you are misinformed about the shuttle dates? Check here for the full scoop on the bus tours (school bus, narrated, with stops and snacks): <http://www.nps.gov/dena/home/visitor.../bustour.html>

Or the shuttle: school bus, get on/get off along the route. No narration or snacks provided (but you can bring your own, of course): <http://www.nps.gov/dena/home/visitor...schedule.html>
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Old Nov 28th, 2005, 12:37 PM
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Meant to add, the Tundra Wilderness tour is 6-8 hours, and goes to Mile 53 (turns around at the Toklat River). BQ recommends the shuttle, which takes you 10 miles further to Fish Creek, good for bear spotting. Depends how much time you have, and how well you tolerate long rides -- we had no problem because there is so much to see.
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Old Nov 28th, 2005, 01:39 PM
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I have been in Denali in early September and the colour of the tundra is spectacular - as SB_Travlr says gold and burgandy as far as the eye can see. Snow was starting to fall towards the end of the trip. Maybe you have got wrong info about shuttle. I caught shuttle all the way in.
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Old Nov 29th, 2005, 06:00 AM
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Sorry, my mistake about the shuttle. I just took another look at the Schedule. They do have buses to Polychrome in the end of August / beg. September. Thanks for pointing this out, SB_Travl and pykiwi.
You mentioned SNOW. Was it also windy? One of the main reason I want to spend a week in/around Denali NP is that I want to hike in the Park. How cold will it be for hiking? Will it be possible to spend a few hours hiking? I am in good shape but not looking forward to long hikes in cold weather.
Also, is it warmer in Healy and outside the Park than in the Park itself.
Sorry to bother you with so many questions, but I plan to spend about a week in Denali and want it to be a memorable experience.
On the other hand, if you need any information about Kenai Peninsula, esp. Homer and Katmai area, you are welcome to ask. This is the link to my photo gallery Allaska-2005:
http://lempert.smugmug.com/gallery/896277
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Old Nov 29th, 2005, 07:59 AM
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It is extremely difficult to predict fall colors in Denali Park and actually have ONLY a 3 day peak window. Some color rest of the time. I hit day two this year on 9-1. But I have also hit near peak going another year on 9-8. Best would be to set your sights on some ALASKA color and not specific to Denali Park. This trip did have a snow blizzard in Denali Park with Polychrome pass completely "gone" on the way out and pure white on the way back.

As for the weather, big possible range. This trip temps were probably 35-50, with the coldest around Toklat with it "warming" up past Eielson to Wonder Lake where there was no snow. The bus picked up a several underprepared hikers who were freezing and actually took our bus in the wrong direction to get warm. Be well prepared is the key. Here are some photos if you care to look. http://community.webshots.com/user/budgetqueen
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Old Nov 29th, 2005, 11:33 AM
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OK. I do not want to hike at 35F weather. Even for beatiful colors. This means that I have to schedule my Denali trip earlier in August. BudgetQueen, is it warmer mid-August? Are there big crowds? Thanks
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Old Nov 30th, 2005, 03:33 AM
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For clairfication, there is no way to predict the temps in Denali Park. I have gone many many times end of August with moderate temps. Early August can be hot or cold. So my suggestion would be to go when your activites are peak. There are plenty of places to hike in Alaska without limiting you to Denali Park if foul weather. "Crowds" are NOT any concern in Denali Park. Easy for solitude.
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Old Dec 1st, 2005, 12:46 AM
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I have stayed in July in denal i and it was hot.

I recommend, to stay in one of the Denali backcountry lodges. I had a good impression from Camp Denali. They had special hiking trails for Lodge visitors, which were not visable from the park road and they will transport you with a Van in a small group to every point of interest in the Park. You really get an extra value for your money.
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Old Dec 1st, 2005, 06:45 AM
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I plan to go in the middle of August. That is to heed Budget Queen's warning about mosquittos. My plan is to arrive ANC about 3 pm, pick up a rental car, spend 2 nights in/around the town, and then head to Denali(Healy). I want to spend 5 days & 6 nights in and around Denali, having either Lakeview Inn or Touch of Wilderness as my quarters.
Details of this trip will require much research on my part but I have about a few months before everything is set.
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Old Dec 2nd, 2005, 06:19 AM
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Is it necessary to buy the newest Milepost or 2004 will suffice.

Thanks
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Old Dec 3rd, 2005, 03:42 AM
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Do you already have the 2004 edition?? Then that's certainly fine. But be sure to consult the Alaska highway department for construction locations as your old book will be out of date. That and some ads are all that is different.
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Old Dec 3rd, 2005, 05:00 AM
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We were in Denali around Aug 20th this year and we loved the yellow, red and violet tundra colours, sometimes also pink.
Weather ? Really unpredictable but last august there were a lot of fires around the park and north of Fairbanks which made the air quite foggy !! and also rainy, but after a lot of rain the next day the fog went away and the air was so clear that it seemed we could touch the mountain range !!

I always recommend: stay at least 3 or 4 nights in Denali so that you will not leave the park disappointed because of the weather ! You have more chance to see the park and wildlife !!
Take the early morning shuttle bus to Wonder Lake !
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Old Dec 3rd, 2005, 09:06 AM
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Oleg, I almost fell over when I saw your photos. How in the world did you get so close to the bears? Actually, how close where you to them? The one photo looked like you were 5-10 feet from them. Those are some of the most beautiful photos I've ever seen!
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Old Dec 4th, 2005, 02:13 AM
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For clairfication, there were no fires in Denali Park last year, the fires were over 100 miles north of Fairbanks, burning thousands of acres, flew over them then and again this year. The winds carried the smoke through Denali Park.

Birder- do you mean my photos?? I don't think Oleg has gone yet??

The bear was very close to the road and I used a 12x zoom for the fall down the hill. Taken with a Canon Powershot S-2, purchased a few days before the trip.
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Old Dec 4th, 2005, 02:18 AM
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Sorry- you were referring to Olegs photos.
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Old Dec 4th, 2005, 10:36 AM
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BQ, I hadn't realized you posted photos - but I loved them also!! The bear falling down the hill was so amazing ... just to be there and see that in person!!
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Old Dec 5th, 2005, 11:14 AM
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Thanks to Birder,BudgetQueen,Fabio and all for helping me plan my Denali trip 2006.
The pictures of the bears were taken in Katmai NP, at Hallo Bay Bear Camp. I spent 4 memorable days there, with the BBC TV crew who were filming trilogy on bears(brown / polar /black ). Yes, I was very close to bears. Sometimes about 12-14 feets.
The rest of the photos are of PWS cruise from Whittier, Saddie Cove Wilderness Lodge in Kachemak Bay, and around Homer.
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Old Dec 6th, 2005, 07:36 AM
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birder -
I use Panasonic FZ10 camera. It has 12X zoom which I seldom used on max around Hallo Bay camp - may be just for birds.
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