denali national park shuttle tours

Old Jul 5th, 2005, 05:44 PM
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denali national park shuttle tours

has anyone a suggestion for which of the bus tours to take, the guided tours last about 6-8 hours. but the park shuttle goes further in to the park and last from 5 to 12 hours, so is it worth it to spend the extra time at the park or is 6-8 hour tour sufficient?
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Old Jul 6th, 2005, 07:43 PM
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Denali is a beautiful park. If you can tour as far as WonderLake. I would. I once drove through the park to get to a camp site at Wonder Lake. Normally you can"t drive yourself. Anyway it is georgous and you will love any tour but I think longer is better. Don't forget it stays light much longer there.
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Old Jul 7th, 2005, 06:37 AM
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The tour buses have two tours, the natural history tour for about 3hrs, goes 30miles up the 95 mile denali park road. The tundra wildlife tour goes to mile 52 and is about 6 hrs. They cost up to $85 from tour operator, go on tan school buses, and provide bad lunch and drinks. They do have a guide narrator on board. The shuttle buses are green school buses, have no lunch or water so bring your own. You can take shuttles all the way to Wonder Lake, mile 85 for about $34,about 11hrs. The trip to Fish Creek, mile 66, is about 8hrs and is very good. The shuttle bus drivers are very knowledgable and give commentary all along the way. They stop anytime someone spots wildlife, just as the tour buses do. On the shuttles, you can get off and hike and get back on another. The shuttles stop about every 1.5hrs for reststops. I have taken the shuttles three times and would definitely recommend these. Book in advance, get early morning bus. Check out on denali park site.
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Old Jul 7th, 2005, 07:17 AM
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so is it worthwhile to take the 11 hr shuttle going to wonder lake?
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Old Jul 7th, 2005, 10:25 AM
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Lee88,
On our particular tours, I'm not sure that the time to go that last 19 miles was worth the wildlife views we saw after Fish Creek, mile 66. We did not see mtn. Wonder Lake is beautiful and nice place to stretch before heading back. You don't have enough time to hike far unless you catch another bus later. I have heard others say they saw lots more wildlife later in tour. The time really does go faster than you can imagine. With rest stops, animal stops and lots of excited talking about what we saw, plus eating our snacks, the time wasn't bad.
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Old Jul 7th, 2005, 01:44 PM
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For clairfication the Natural History tour only goes to mile 17. The shuttle to Wonder Lake is $42.50.
After mid August, yes the shuttle to Wonder Lake is worth it, IF You have the interest??? The land is different and wildlife is still seen in the areas. Fish Creek is mile 63 and my min. distance in.
It is over 2 miles to walk around Wonder Lake.
You can get the 35% held back tickets 2 days before, just be on the phone when they open at 7am and you can get any tickets you want for 2 days later.
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Old Jul 7th, 2005, 02:15 PM
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Here is the denali website link to read their descriptions of the tours.
http://www.nps.gov/dena/home/visitorinfo/bus/index.html

It appears that the natural history tour now includes the visitor center which has increased the time and cost from 3hrs to 5hrs for $47.50 plus $10 park fee. the tundra tour is $74 + $10 park fee. The shuttle to Wonder Lake is $32.50 + $10 park fee, unless the website prices are not accurate. Bottom line, if it fits your schedule and you are interested in scenery and wildlife, go on shuttles to at least Fish Creek, and possibly to Wonder Lake.
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Old Jul 8th, 2005, 06:03 PM
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thanks for the helpful advice, I think I'll go with the suggestion to take the shuttle bus to wonder lake. If I decide to get off the shuttle, about how long do you usually wait for another to show up?
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Old Jul 9th, 2005, 03:57 AM
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i don't think i ever waited more than 20 minutes for a shuttle, because they stop for wildlife, their schedule sometimes gets a little out of whack. but don't worry just walk along the road in the direction you want to go and flag them down.
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Old Jul 12th, 2005, 09:11 AM
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would anyone recommend the guided tour over the shuttle to denali?
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Old Jul 12th, 2005, 11:28 AM
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TravelGirl88,
While I have not taken the tour bus, I have read many reports over the last 4 yrs from those touring denali. The only advantages that anyone ever mentions are the lunch (bad), they have a guide on board (often hired for summer only, not a local), and these tours are often part of the cruisetour packages offered by cruise ships. The buses are the exact same. Road is same. Shuttle bus drivers are well trained on the park and wildlife and usually more experienced local people. Shuttles go at least 13 miles or further into the park and cost about 1/3. Do whatever best fits your schedule. Take your own food and drink on shuttle tour.
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Old Jul 12th, 2005, 05:22 PM
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No I NEVER recomend the tour buses over the excellent shuttle bus options. Why would anyone pay three times the cost for a shorter distance in?? The tour buses are also most always full. There are a few held back seats on the shuttles on the way in.
I have never encountered a driver who did not know Denali Park extensively.
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Old Jul 13th, 2005, 07:02 AM
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thanks for all the great advice, I was leaning more towards the shuttle b/c they go further into the park and you take the same road anyway. And of course it costs much less. And since this is my ony full day at denali, I should spend the whole day there. I'm staying at the cedar's lodge, does anyone know if they have shuttle buses to the park, and is there a store nearby where I could stock up on food for the park?
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Old Jul 13th, 2005, 04:36 PM
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For full groceries, you will need to stock up in Fairbanks, Anchorage or Wasilla. Only small "convenience" limited stock in Glitter Gulch. Contact the lodge directly and inquire about a shuttle.
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