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Hatcher Pass

Old May 8th, 2008, 04:19 PM
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Hatcher Pass

We are going to Alaska July 2008. We are going from Anchorage to Talkeetna on the first day and then spending 3 nights in Denali, coming out we are staying another night in Talkeetna and then heading to Kasilof the next morning. We would like to travel over Hatcher Pass but have heard the road is bad. We will have a rental car (not SUV I don't think). Is the road too bad for a car? Also, how long would it take to go that way? - Thanks!
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Old May 8th, 2008, 04:53 PM
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Only drove it once, in September, and I thought it was fairly easy. But check carefully with the rental car company to make sure they will let you drive the rental off paved roads.

Bill
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Old May 11th, 2008, 03:06 AM
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Hi Bill - thanks for your response - the milepost from this year makes it sound pretty bad. I guess if the car company doesn't want us driving off pavement we will try just going up from Palmer - I think it's paved from there to the mine. Thanks again!
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Old May 11th, 2008, 06:11 AM
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the milepost from this year makes it sound pretty bad

That's interesting, what does Milepost say? I have an earlier Milepost (1999-2000) and it says "this is a mostly gravel road, not recommended for large RVs or trailers beyond mile 14". Basically when they say it's OK except for long vehicles that means there are some steep hairpin curves but the road surface is smooth enough. If the new Milepost says it's 'pretty bad' maybe the road was damaged and not repaired?

I guess if the car company doesn't want us driving off pavement ...

It's worth asking the rental car company ... the one we used said there was no problem driving their rental on Hatcher Pass but Denali Highway was off-limits, for example.

Bill

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Old May 19th, 2008, 11:04 AM
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You can only drive Hatcher Pass from the Palmer side with a rental car, no matter what they "say". They will be the first to void your contract if you have damage. From the Palmer side it is paved to the mine. The only area I recommend you drive.
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Old May 21st, 2008, 06:41 PM
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Before I moved here, I ignored the clause in my rental car contract that said I couldn't take the rented pick up truck over Hatcher Pass and did it anyway. Got a flat; the tools for changing the tire (so I could possibly not let on that it went flat on Hatcher Pass road) were not in the vehicle, so I was done for. They charged my insurance, which was raised for 3 years or whatever. A serious pain...Do it at your own risk... It's a wonderful, glorious drive (and not that bad, if driven slowly)...I've been working at the local level to get the road paved all the way from the summit to Willow, but that's years away at best.
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Old May 24th, 2008, 02:40 AM
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Hi - Thanks for the info. We will just go from Palmer to be safe - I don't want to have any issues with the car company. Is the scenery driving that way worth the time it takes to drive up to the mine?
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Old May 24th, 2008, 08:48 AM
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Yes, the scenery is decent. We had to stop the car to take photos of the creek, such a wonderful color. The mine itself was one of our favorite stops. Great reconstruction of the old buildings. A good peek into Alaska's history. Excellent displays and old photos.
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Old May 24th, 2008, 09:56 AM
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we were there the first week of august, and this was our favorite drive, so beautiful, and so many places to stop, the mine was fun also, we loved this day trip.
call ahead to the mine, certain days out of the month, they have guided tours, and you get to go in. instead of walk around on your own. there are also a couple of "hikes" you can take, the lady there said they were "tough"

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