Denali - car, train? Best way to see

Old Dec 26th, 2007, 11:46 AM
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Denali - car, train? Best way to see

Prior to one-way cruise will spend a few days at Denali. First thought renting a car was only way to go, but just watched Travel Channel all-day Alaska marathon and now train seems a reasonable alternative.

Also, what is best way to see Denali/tour operators, etc. Can't seem to get a handle on how to get around in Denali.
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Old Dec 26th, 2007, 01:33 PM
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Gail, start with this link
http://www.nps.gov/dena/

Taking a train is a nice way to go. However, I vote for renting a car. You have more flexibility and you may want to stop in Talkeetna or maybe even visit Hatcher Pass on the way to or from Denali National Park. If you are able to dedicate a few days to Denali NP you really need a car and there is no car rental in the Denali area. With a car you can stay in Healy (12 miles north of the entrance to the park) where many less expensive but wonderful cabins and b&bs are located. None of these places offers transfer to and from the park. With your own car you may drive 14 miles on the road inside the park. To see the park you need to take the shuttle. There are tours offered but they do take exactly the same road since there is only one road in the park and taking a shuttle again gives you more flexibility. If this is important, or not, to you taking the shuttle costs much less than any tour. Read posts here under Denali, Talkeetna, shuttle and decide. Don't take too long to make up your mind about lodging, car rentals and shuttle. You should book your shuttle very soon. To book it go to www.reservedenali.com
When are you going?
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Old Dec 26th, 2007, 04:25 PM
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Thanks - that answers many of my questions. We have a one-way cruise leaving Whittier 6/16/08 and want to spend some time land touring prior to cruise - uncertain of exactly how long we will have, but looking at roughly 7-10 days.
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Old Dec 26th, 2007, 05:20 PM
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Last July, we traveled by car and were very happy with our plan. I'd had trouble deciding on the train vs car idea too but loved having a car where we could pull off the road and stop anytime. Drive into Denali to a certain point and hike. But also spend a day on the bus ride there, atleast to Wonder Lake. Book that ahead, go early in the day. Get off and hike anywhere. We got off the bus at Wonder Lake, hiked on our own and then just boarded a return bus a few hours later. Well worth the ticket.
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Old Dec 26th, 2007, 07:24 PM
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Oh! so you have 7-10 days to spent in the area before your cruise? Three nights in Denali NP is enough time to get acquainted with this park. Maybe you would like to spend a few days on Kenai Peninsula? Do search under Seward and Homer and see what appeals to you. My favorite place is Homer but Seward has a lot to offer as well. Since you're going to Denali in June you should consider taking the shuttle to Fish Creek only. The Wonder Lake area is infested with mosquitoes in May and June.
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Old Dec 26th, 2007, 09:15 PM
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Thanks - on another post several suggested Kenai Peninsula as what to do with the rest of our land time. Tentative idea is to go to Denali first and then Kenai Peninsula and back to Anchorage. From there will probably use cruise line transfer service to get to Whittier.
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Old Dec 27th, 2007, 12:50 PM
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Gail, consider transferring directly from Seward to Whittier. This way you won't have to go back all the way to Anchorage. I know some people who arranged their transfers from Seward to Whittier. Denali, Homer, Seward sound great. However you need to stop somewhere between Denali and Homer. Maybe Anchorage or Girdwood?
Or you can start with Homer, then go to Seward, Denali and at the end transferring from Anchorage to Whittier. These are two not too complicated options
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