"Denali Backcountry Adventure"

Old Dec 30th, 2007, 05:07 AM
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"Denali Backcountry Adventure"

Looking at booking this tour. It is about 13 hours for $150 per person. Any comments? Also - really silly but necessary question - when one goes on such a tour, what does one do for bathroom needs?
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Old Dec 30th, 2007, 06:14 AM
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Gail, look at this link
http://www.reservedenali.com/shuttle_bus.php

First, there is only one road through the park so regardless whether you are on a private bus or a park shuttle, you take the same route. Your bus and shuttle stops at the same exactly spots every 1-2 hours for restroom breaks. No problem here. However, I would like to suggest to you using the shuttle bus instead of a private tour. First, you have more freedom, second you pay for the shuttle $44.00 per person (all the way to Kantishna where you private bus goes or less for shorter destinations). If you go with a shuttle, your lunch is not included, you need to bring your lunch. When are you coming? If you are arriving in Denali before the end of July I wouldn't go to Kantishna or Wonder Lake because of pesky mosquitoes and they can be really, really bad. I suggest chose your destination wisely based on a time of your visit. If you use a shuttle you may leave the bus and do some hiking around or take a walk, then wait for another shuttle to pick you up. With a tour you do not have such an option. The shuttle drivers are no obligated to narrate but they all do an excellent job. We never had a driver who wasn't very good spotting wildlife and narrating
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Old Dec 30th, 2007, 06:24 AM
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Thanks. "pick your destination wisely" - give me some hints on how to do that.

We are looking at staying at Grizzly Bear Resort and cabins and this tour was listed on their website. We will have a car, but understand we can't use it in Denali.

We will have about 7 days to see what little of Alaska we can in that amount of time before a cruise from Whittier. Tentative plan is spend half at Denali and half at Kenai Peninsula.

Thanks for mosquito reminder - I had heard that, but unfortunately, mid-June is set.
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Old Dec 30th, 2007, 08:03 AM
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What I mean is, do not go all the way to Kantishna or Wonder Lake if you are visiting mid-June. Get your shuttle book to Fish Creek only ($29.25). This is the most beautiful part of the park anyway, IMO. Book your shuttle asap.

We met a family of four people who stayed at the Grizzly Bear Resort and they said it was a very noisy place but I never stayed there so this is not my personal experience.
Did you read reviews on tripadvisor.com?

I think the most popular place is the Denali Lakeview Inn in Healy.
www.denalilakeviewinn.com

Mosquitoes are not as bad as you think. We never had a problem except the far end of the road in Denali NP in June-July. Bring a bug spray, do not go all the way to Kantishna/Wonder Lake and you'll be fine.

You do not need a pass and you can can drive on the park road the first 14 miles. This is a paved section. You can stop anywhere you want and hike unless there are sign discouraging hiking. We like to park at the end of this section and then hike from there. If you see a shuttle or tour buses stopped in some area, slow down and figure out what they are looking at. You'll be looking at the same wildlife. Bring a pair of binoculars for each of you.

If you are planning to stay on Kenai Peninsula are you thinking of Seward or Homer or both? Seward is a great option if you want to go on day cruise to Kenai Fjords NP. Homer is a perfect base bear watching day tours and halibut fishing. Both have more to offer but not if your time is so limited. If I had a choice I would go bear watching before a longer cruise but you need to make your own decision.
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Old Dec 30th, 2007, 08:06 AM
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I agree with Way_North, it's much cheaper to use the park shuttle busses instead of the "Tundra Tour" busses, plus you can get off and hitch a ride with another bus on the shuttle but you are stuck on the formal "Tour".

Since you have a car you can simply drive to the visitor center where you catch the bus. You can also drive the first 14 miles into the park with your car, we often see moose and sometimes grizzlies in this section.

Bathroom stops every 20-30 miles once inside the park. No problem.

I would just do the 8 hour shuttle bus trip, the trip to Wonder Lake is 12 hours and I feel too long (but then I'm usually spending a week near Wonder Lake at a lodge, so maybe others have a different opinion on the longer trip). In mid-summer Wonder Lake is one of the buggiest places I've ever seen though.

Bill
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