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nancy11 Apr 7th, 2004 08:39 AM

Denali vs Kenai
If you had to choose between the two what will you choose? What is most worthy of seeing? Or if you had only 4 days how you will divide you time. Starting point is Seward.


qtr Apr 7th, 2004 09:03 AM

If it is clear, Denali (the actual mountain) is quite a sight--but that is a big "if". When we went, you honestly could not even see the rough shape of a mountain (one of the visitor centers had the outline of it on the window so you would know where it was). We spent most of our time in Homer. When we heard that visibility had become clear, we drove about 4 hours back to Talkeetna, stayed at the lodge (which was really enjoyable) and took the plane ride to land on a glacier up on the mountain. Other than that, the long bus ride we took into Denali National Park was fairly boring. The scenery is more appealing to me at Yosemite, Glacier National Park or Yellowstone. Also, we have seen much more wildlife in other areas (we saw one bear in Denali and a few sheep, I think). However, I am very glad we did get a clear view of Denali from Talkeetna and especially when we circled it in the plane.

qtr Apr 7th, 2004 09:10 AM

I should have added that if you are able to actually stay in Denali or hike quite a bit, I think you would probably enjoy it more. The bus ride was just really long. Of course, in retrospect, it was all fairly low visibility, so on a clearer day even the bus ride would be more enjoyable.

dwooddon Apr 7th, 2004 12:00 PM

With only 4 days and starting in Seward, my clear choice would be to explore the Kenai Peninsula. I'd spend a day on the long Kenai Fjords boat tour, and the rest of that day seing Seward. The second day I'd make a leisurly drive to Homer, enjoying the awesome landscapes you'll see for a large part of the drive. The third day I'd explore the Homer area. Your activities would be dependant on your interests. The fourth day, I'd double back to the Seward Highway and go north along the Turnagain Arm for more spectacular scenery then head to wherever your 4th day destination is.

Have a great trip.

Connie Apr 7th, 2004 12:25 PM


While we had a clear view of McKinley all day, we will never bother going all the way back up there (5 hours from Anchorage).

We loved the Kenai and will spend a lot more time there next time.

Connie Apr 7th, 2004 12:26 PM

With only 4 days I vote Kenai.

While we had a clear view of McKinley all day and saw lots of wildlife, we will never bother going all the way back up there again (5 hours from Anchorage). Once was enough.

We loved the Kenai and will spend a lot more time there next time.

Connie Apr 7th, 2004 12:31 PM

I thought I had stopped my response in time to edit it. Whoops

BudgetQueen Apr 9th, 2004 10:24 PM

You don't mention when you are going, but I am with the others- Kenai. From Homer you can also consider a bear watching tour- look at Emerald air. But I am a clear fan of Denali Park and go there over and over. It is never boring to me. The lack of wildlife can be disappointing but it pays to take the first shuttle out. Moose are early risers with good views usually early in the trip with bears more likely past polychrome pass. The Shuttle is my preference with min. distance in Eielson. Certainly not for everyone but my opinion only Polychrome pass is not to be missed. :) Request the visitor guide for Seward, Homer and the Kenai Peninsula.

Anita96 Apr 9th, 2004 10:33 PM

I went to Alaska in 1999 with my family. I was 21 at the time. Even though I loved seeing Mt McKinley - it was a clear and beautiful sight the day we were in that area. (Everyone told us it doesn't really happen all that often, since it can be a clear day everywhere else, but Mt McKinley can be completely unvisible due to it's own weather systems up there), I would have to vote for the Kenai Peninsula as well. I really, really hated all the driving my father wanted to do. We drove one full day - just to get up to North Pole, Alaska and some other cities north of Anchorage. In Seward, we found some day trips to go on whale watching boat trips. They were awesome! We saw a humpback, sea otters (they are very cute), sea lions, puffer birds (forget their real name), and even briefly - killer whales (orcas) - which I have always loved! It was truly amazing. Due to the time frame of your trip, I would stick to Kenai.

Have a great trip!

nancy11 Apr 12th, 2004 07:18 AM

Thanks everybody for the advice. Just one more question. Since we will be on a cruise for a week, is it more worthy and balanced to go Denali? What do you think?

Mama Apr 12th, 2004 09:06 AM

Denali is amazing!!!! I tell all my friends they shouldn't miss it.
Am I only one on this board who loves Denali?
If I were going on my first visit to Alaska I would spend one night in Seward, two nights in Denali and one night in Anchorage

BudgetQueen Apr 12th, 2004 09:45 PM

The above has too much time in transit for 4 days, in my opinion. Denali certainly IS very worthwhile- always a stop on my trips. The decision needs to factor in what is best in the time frame for the poster?? :) 4 days isn't a lot of time, good planning will make the best use of it.

AlaskaSwed Apr 13th, 2004 11:04 PM

Having lived in Alaska for over 25 years, and in many different parts of the state, I am partial to the Mat-su Valley & Talkeetna. It is by far, the most diverse. You can see it all and do it all there. You can view McKinley, see wildlife, go flightseeing, view the most scenic drive in the state, go gold panning, fishing, and more. The Valley area is the "Gold Nugget" of the state.

If you are looking for the biggest bang for the buck, that is what I suggest. I see you are on a limited time frame, but there are ways to get there quickly and then spend all your time in that area.

Kenai is certainly beautiful also, it just does not offer the diversity of the 200 miles north of Anchorage. Having just gotten off of a cruise, having seen the inside passage, the Kenai area is more of the same. But that's one Alaskan's opinion. Feel free to e-mail me if you have further questions.

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