Kenai & Denali in 10 days?

May 7th, 2009, 11:35 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 2
Kenai & Denali in 10 days?

My husband and I are planning a trip to AK in early to mid September. He is a fisherman and I'd like to spend a good amount of time int he Kenai for that reason. I'd also liek to not miss the chance to see Denali. We are planning to camp or rent an RV and keep the trip relatively cheap. Is 10 days enough time? Any recommened routes or campgrounds? ANy big dollar tours well worth the price?
JB82 is offline  
May 7th, 2009, 12:32 PM
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I would go with an RV. We didn't see many "campgrounds" as you think of them. Most we saw were just parking lots.

We've done the RV thing twice in a 10 day period. We rented from Great Alaskan Holidays and were pleased.

Denali--take the shuttle bus, not a private tour bus. They all use old school buses and the shuttle bus drivers are knowledgeable and will stop for wildlife and scenery. You'll need to get there the day before and buy your tickets. You will spend 8 or more hours on the tour so you will want to spend that night there as well.

One of the best tours I've ever taken was a flightseeing tour over the mountains--it was outstanding. The coupon books usually have 2 for 1 tickets for this and you will quickly get your coupon book money back.

Seward--we love the city campground. It's right on the edge of the water with great views of the water, mountains and the boats and ships coming and going. Close enough to walk to the small city center too.

Most do their fishing on the confluence of the Russian and Kenai Rivers. The Russian River national forest campground accepts reservations and they are a must. This is where they do "combat" fishing. They use special tackle and techniques. Stop at Cooper Landing for your tackle and then just watch the fishing people for a little while. You will need waders or hip boots too. If you want to get away from the crowds, drive just past the campground and park on the right shoulder just after you cross the bridge over the Kenai River. There are some short trails through the woods to the river and it's usually free of people or not very crowded.

A great forum for RVing is They are very friendly and knowledgeable about all aspects of RVing and locations.
Connie is offline  
May 7th, 2009, 12:34 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,960 Denali, I'd stay at the campground at the entrance of the park--Riley Creek campground. They have a store and a fairly new bath house. It's nice to take a real shower every once in a while instead of using the small one in the RV and scrimping on water.
Connie is offline  
May 7th, 2009, 02:46 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,834
You must buy The Milepost, THE guide to Alaska, especially if you are driving an RV. We loved our RV trip in Alaska.
padams421 is offline  
May 7th, 2009, 03:43 PM
Join Date: Jun 2006
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Get The Milepost for camping and general driving into.

Go to Denali first (early Sept), since it's peak for tundra colors late Aug - early Sept and by mid-Sept a lot of services are closed down and the tundra has lost it's colorful zing. Late Aug/early Sept is our favorite time to visit Denali. Mid-Sept on the Kenai is still OK, so it's best to do them in that order.

I would try to fit in a fly-in day trip for bear viewing and/or rainbow trout fishing to Katmai (easiest to do from Homer), if it fits your budget. You can do both (bear viewing + trout fishing) at Brooks Camp the first couple of weeks in September, for example.
Bill_H is offline  
May 8th, 2009, 05:01 AM
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Connie has some outdated/wrong information. The tour buses ARE superior to the shuttle buses, but cost triple the money and go the least distance. They also are operated by the SAME company as the tour buses, Aramark. They are NOT private "tour" buses.

I too only recommend you consider heading to Denali Park FIRST, shuttle buses stop running by mid Sept. IF you can get in on the road lottery- AND an approved vehicle- there are big restrictions on acceptable roads in Alaska with rentals. VERIFY these, before you start looking at driving non paved areas.
BudgetQueen is offline  
May 8th, 2009, 07:16 AM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 2,881
Here is a the link to the Denali 'shuttle' busses (which, like Connie, I recommend taking because you can get off if you wish, they are a lot less expensive, and they offer the option of going further into the park) ...

Here is a link to the "Tundra Wilderness Tour" busses for comparison. These busses do appear to have more comfortable seating than the shuttle busses. Most of their customers seem to be cruise ship pax doing add-on land packages.
Bill_H is offline  
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