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Itinerary help - 9 days in Alaska

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Mar 6th, 2013, 08:20 AM
  #1
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Itinerary help - 9 days in Alaska

We are a group of 3 people, young and active, in decently good shape. We love hiking, and the outdoors in general.

This is the route we are considering right now, with around 2-3 days in Denali.

Anchorage -> Denali ->Valdez for kayaking -> Whittier (for the cruise if we take it) -> Seward/Kenai Fjords/Harding Icefield

Either on the way to Denali or on the way back to Valdez, we want to stop for the ice hike with Mica guides. Also, is the bridge to Child's Glacier still out? Is there any other place to see and spend some time in front of a calving, roadside glacier?

We would probably add in some details around Seward, probably some hikes or drive near Chugach state park area or maybe Girdwood. So, I have around a day and a half in the end that still needs filling in. So, I would really appreciate any comments/suggestions on the route and also some ideas for around Seward.

Thanks,
S
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Mar 6th, 2013, 08:23 AM
  #2
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I also wanted to add that this trip is during the July long weekend. The kayaking trip we are considering is Columbia Glacier, the cruise is 26 glacier, the ice hike is Matanuska. Sorry about missing those details, I copied my last post from another forum.

Thanks,
S
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Mar 6th, 2013, 10:57 AM
  #3
 
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Looks good to me.
1 nt Anchorage
3 nts Denali
1 nt. Mat-Su Valley
2 nts. Valdez
2 nts. Seward. Assuming you have a later flight home fron Anchorage

We are also planning a hiking and outdoors trip this July--our first trip to Alaska. The owner of EarthSong Lodge in Healy, just north of Denali, where we are staying, is very helpful with hiking in Denali.

On your way back from Denali, stop at the Matanuska Glacier to do your hike with the MICA guides, spend the night nearby--Homestead Cottages gets good reviews. We are staying at the Matanuska Lodge on a buy 1 night/get 1 nt free.

Then head to Valdez. I hear this drive is beautiful, especially the nearer that you get to Valdez We regretfully are missing Valdez--and we are staying 2 weeks--I failed to realize that the ferry didn't run on the Wednesday we needed to travel.

Then you can take the ferry to Whittier--there seem to be lots of good hikes and a really nice bike trail in the Whittier/Girdwood area. Then you can head down to Seward--there is a very highly rated kayak trip$$$ here in Seward---then back to Anchorage.

We are staying at B&Bs, all about $140-$170/nt--2 offer complimentary kayaks (Matanuska Lodge and Bear Lake)and Coastal Trail B&B in Anchorage offers complimentary bikes and is right next to the Tony Knowles trail.
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Mar 6th, 2013, 11:46 AM
  #4
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Thanks Lindian Ohio! Good to hear that you are also going to be in Alaska in July.

We are thinking about the ferry to Whittier, it seems pretty expensive as compared to the drive, and probably takes just as long? We are also doing a PWS cruise the next day, so we should get to see a lot of the scenery then. Is it a terrible waste to backtrack and drive from Valdez to Seward? Any hikes/glaciers/sights that we can stop at on the way?

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S
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Mar 6th, 2013, 05:36 PM
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I think the drive from Valdez to Seward is beautiful but it does involve a lot of backtracking if you don't take the ferry. I don't have my mileage chart right here with me but I have read trip reports where travelers drive both ways. There are a lot of hikes along Turnagain Arm.

Do you have the Milepost? For those who have driven Alaska, it is highly recommended and often older discounted copies are available on Amazon or ebay. It lists all the routes and hikes/ restaurants/grocery stores/attractions etc. along the route.

We were originally planning on taking the ferry. It was recommended that we take the ferry that takes the longest route--not the fast ferry. I think it was about $285 for the 2 of us and our car. We weren't going to take the PWS cruise if we took the ferry.

Both the Prince William Sound Cruise and the Kenai Fjords cruise are in the Toursaver and Northern Lights coupon books (buy 1/get1 free)
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Mar 6th, 2013, 06:02 PM
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Would this work?
1 nt Anchorage
2 nts. Seward
1 nt. Talkeetna
2 nts. Denali
1 nt. near Matanuska Glacier
2 nts Valdez and then back to Anchorage
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Mar 6th, 2013, 07:25 PM
  #7
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This does look like it might work, we might drive back to Anchorage the last day and just spend some time around there, just to make sure there are no driving delays.

I just ordered the milepost, that should be very helpful with our hikes.

Do you mind sharing your itinerary if you don't mind? I might get some ideas that I haven't thought about. Also, which is the highly rated kayak tour in Seward that you talk about, is it the one that goes to Aialik glacier? We did consider that, but we would blow our "activities" budget pretty much just on that tour. Otherwise, it sounded like a great way to spend a day.

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S
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Mar 7th, 2013, 11:28 AM
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Here's our itinerary

Tues. July 16th: Arrive Anchorage 1:31 PM Pick up car, groceries. Ride bikes on trail. Spend night in Anchorage: Coastal Trail B&B near the Tony Knowles with complimentary bikes

Wed. July 17th : Drive to Seward. Stop along Turnagain Arm, hike, Spend nt in Seward. ( 3nts Bear Lake Lodgings: complimentary kayaks)

Thurs. July 18: Seward Kenai Fjords Boat Tour

Fri July 19: Seward. Hiking possibilities Exit Glacier/Lost Lake/ Harding Icefields

Sat. July 20: : Drive to Homer.(4 hrs)stop in Hope to hike part of Gull RockTrail (3 nts Good Karma Inn) or do Sat. Ranger led hike on Harding Icefield on way to Homer?

Sun. July 21: Possible bear sightseeing.

Mon. July 22 : Homer day trip to Halibut Cove/ Grace Ridge Trail

Tues. July 23: Drive to Girdwood.(4 hrs) Stop in Cooper Landing to hike Russian Falls. Several possible hikes near Girdwood Winner Creek /Crow Pass Trail/Byron glacier/Virgin Creek Falls. Spend night in Girdwood (2 nts Hidden Creek B&B)

Wed. July 24: Prince William Sound Cruise/ Possible hikesortage Pass Trail /Tram/Spencer Whistle Stop train to Glacier 25%off

Thurs. July 25: Drive to Palmer/Sutton. Matanuska Glacier Hike (2 nts Matanaska Lodge: 1 nt free)

Fri. July 26 Reed Lakes hike/Hatcher Pass/Independence Mine

Sat. July 27: Drive to Denali . Stop for lunch/dinner in Talkeetna, flightsee??(Stay 3 nts in Healy-- Earth Song Lodge)

Sunday July 28: Denali Shuttle to Wonder Lake booked

Monday July 29: Denali Shuttle to Wonder Lake booked

Tues. July 30th: Flightsee? Fly home at 8:30PM
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Mar 7th, 2013, 05:08 PM
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ssmile, if you end up driving to Whittier, you can stop by Byron Glacier on the way there, it's a short hike from the parking lot which is less than a mile from the tunnel entrance. Also, if you are adventurous enough, some people have been known to explore the abandoned, closed off, Buckner building in Whittier, you'll need a flashlight and facemasks for the mold.
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Mar 7th, 2013, 06:21 PM
  #10
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Thanks for that tip, Paul. We will try and check it out.
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