Denali Shuttle Bus

Old Mar 22nd, 2006, 11:06 AM
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Denali Shuttle Bus

Anyone knows how late the Denali shuttle bus returns from their destination for early June (6/6)? I called the Denali shuttle bus people, and they said they don't have that schedule yet.

For the date we want to go, the bus to Wonder Lake won't be running yet, so we'll just go to Fish Creek. And I want to know how much off-bus activities I can schedule in that day and which bus departure time I should book. I'm interested in getting off the bus often and hike around.

In general is it better for me to hedge on a certain bus departure time? The earliest it runs is 7 a.m. but we might sleep in as we might be tired arriving the night before and we might be staying far from the park (Healy). Is it better to go ahead and book 7 a.m. or 8 a.m. If I miss a bus, I have to be on standby for the next one. Say if I book 7 a.m. and miss it and it turns out 8 a.m. is more popular, then I might have to wait til 9 a.m. or later. But if I book 8 a.m. and can get up earlier, is it easier to get the 7 a.m. bus?

While you're at it, please recommend some must-do's/see's or hikes along the route to Fish Creek.
Thanks.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2006, 12:46 PM
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Hi JC,
You're really getting into this planning aren't you? You might want to check the denali park servie website again. I have a schedule I printed out some time ago for 2006. The buses to Fishcreek start at 7am and maybe sooner if you call and ask them. The round trip est time is 8hrs I believe, which means the earliest buses would get back around 3pm and latest ones leave at 2pm, which would be about 10pm. If it were me getting on and off, I would not count on getting the last bus.

My preference is to bite the bullet and get up way too early, catch the first shuttle you can book, be there at least 15 min early, and give yourself more options. That way if you spend a few hours hiking, you can still get a bus before the last one. Also in early June, it should not be all the way full. Remember if you get back to transportation center at 9 or 10pm, you would have to have a car there or somehow get back to your hotel on your own. If staying in Healy area, you would probably have a car. You could plan hikes from end of the paved road where you could drive to (Savage Creek campground?)on second day or in evening. We have driven in this far a couple of times and saw no wildlife except a moose, while we saw three or four along hwy outside of the park!!!
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Old Mar 23rd, 2006, 05:10 AM
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For clairfication- the First Fish Creek buses do tend to be full from the start of the season. I am always on the first bus out. I have a 2005 schedule, and that says the first bus was at 6:30am. IF you want to do a lot of hiking, it will pay to be on the first bus. I recommend getting there 30 min. before, since more and more people are now clued into sitting on the left.

Healy is only 15 mins. from the Denali Park transportation center, hardly a long trip.

Your shuttle ticket is for a specific time and NOT transferable. If you miss it, you will have to purchase another one, IF they are available , which if they are will be in very short supply. You can not "stand by" for earlier buses.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2006, 07:41 AM
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My DD and DSIL went last year the middle of June. They took the 7:15a.m. Wonder Lake tour. They got out to hike alittle and when they were ready to get back on a bus, they had to wait two hours because all the buses where full. DH and I will be there on June 8th, we have the Wonder Lake tour booked. We are not hikers, so will just be getting out and back on as the tour goes. Cannot wait!!! We are also booked for two nights at the Denali Crownest Cabins. I did alot of research and checked out two within the park, and they would not book unless I made a tour reservation with them. The Crownest has the shuttle and will take us in the morning and come pick us up. Was also alot cheaper than the other two places I checked.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2006, 09:36 AM
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I'll second (or third maybe?) the suggestion to get the earliest bus possible. Not only will you get more time in the park, but you have a better chance of seeing wildlife and the mountain with the earliest departure. You can always sleep when you get home!
As far as hike suggestions, I like Tattler Creek and the Stony Dome areas. The hike up Tattler is through a creek drainage, so the views aren't very good, but once you get up the drainage a ways, you can either climb the ridge to the left and peek over into the Sable Pass area, or continue up to the head of the canyon, and follow the ridgeline to the left up to the top of Sable Mountain. If the weather's clear, it's a spectacular vista.
At Stony Dome, get off the bus at Little Stony Creek, and you can hike all the way around Stony Dome, or climb to the top. Again, great views.
Also, ask your bus driver for suggestions. Not all the drivers are hikers, but the ones who are know some great places to go.
Finally, I'd recommend doing the hikes on the trip back from Fish Creek. That way you can see all there is to see, check out possible hiking areas, and still get back to the park entrance before then end of the day.
Good luck with the plans- you'll have a great time.

-Tom-
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Old Mar 26th, 2006, 12:39 PM
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We took the 6:30A trip twice last June to Fish Creek. We made the quick drive from Healy early each morning, were in the front of the line and got to know some nice folks waiting for the bus, hopped on our shuttle and didn't get off except to go to the restrooms the first trip. It rained/snowed all day, windows fogged up inside, muddy on the outside. Our driver was quite the entertainer and there were so many neat people on the bus, that the time passed quickly.

The next day was sunny, and we got off several times to hike. We got back that evening in time to rest up and go to dinner in Healy. It's a long day, but then most of them are in Alaska. ;-)
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