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Driving to Denali via Hatcher Pass

Old May 20th, 2006, 12:15 PM
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Driving to Denali via Hatcher Pass

We are staying overnight at a B&B near the Independence Mine Historial Park in early September and heading out the next morning to explore the area then drive to Denali via Hatcher Pass. Is it reasonable to plan to arrive at our Denali lodging by late afternoon or early evening or should we plan to stay somewhere inbetween? Thanks for your thoughts!
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Old May 21st, 2006, 03:28 AM
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First off, unless you have a specific rental, with an independent, most all of the major rental companies will not allow you to drive Hatcher Pass west, gravel, unpaved. You will need to return via Palmer, Glenn to Parks.

IF you do get a rental that allows the drive, you will definately make it by early evening. BUT take out all the extra insurance waivers available, your own auto insurance would probably be void, mine is. Photograph and make note of every ding in the car. They usually are in rough shape and you don't want to be disputing damages later.

Windshield cracks are VERY common.
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Old May 21st, 2006, 07:47 AM
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You may already know this, but you cannot drive in Denali itself, not even with a rental car. You must take shuttle busses.
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Old May 21st, 2006, 11:35 AM
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I think OP is asking how to get to Denali via Hatcher Pass NOT about driving inside the Denali National Park.
I'm only repeating what Budget Queen said so the easiest and least risky way is to back up to Palmer and go from there with a stop in Talkeetna. You may stay in Talkeetna if you wish to take a sightseeing flight
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Old May 21st, 2006, 09:31 PM
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Once you get just a little past the summit at Hatcher's Pass (which is a very short way past the mine), the rest of the ride is not all that enjoyable. You're just bouncing the heck out of yourself on the gravel road, and all the best scenery is in the mine area anyway. We live up here, we have an SUV, we did the ride once, I have no desire to repeat it.

Go to Hatcher's Pass, go to the mine, that area is awesome. But, do yourself a favor & go the long way back to Palmer to Denali. Or, at least make sure your rental company will allow it, as BudgetQueen advises.

However, either option, I think you will have no problem getting to Denali late afternoon.
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Old May 31st, 2006, 10:37 AM
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Thanks for your responses. We are driving our own car to Alaska via the Eastern Route to the Alaska Highway, so we are prepared for the possiblity of cracked windshields even before we get to Hatcher Pass. We have also decided to stop overnight in Talkeetna before heading to Denali. Thanks Again for your input!
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Old May 31st, 2006, 06:16 PM
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ckaszubski:
From where will you be driving to Alaska? We are getting closer and closer to a driving trip from VA. I know it will be long, but we can take the time. I would love to know what route you are taking. Will you be taking the ferry at all or driving the whole way in on the Alaska Highway?

I'm thinking of driving to Skagway, doing the train trip and then taking the ferry to Haines and then either Fairbanks or to Wrangell-St. Elias.

Would love to know how you have planned your route.

Lynda
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Old Jun 1st, 2006, 01:55 AM
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If you are driving your own car, then you might want to consider driving the Denali Hwy. We were only able to drive the 20 mile paved section from Paxson last summer, but the views were spectacular of the Alaskan Range. I'm sure BQ and others could give you more information.

Good luck with your planning!
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