Kenai or Denali

Old Mar 26th, 2003, 07:37 PM
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Kenai or Denali

We will be arriving in Seward in mid June following a cruise. With two and a half days in the area prior to flying home, we need suggestions as to spending our time in Kenai/Anchorage area or going on up to Denali. Thanks!
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Old Mar 26th, 2003, 09:25 PM
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We are doing a 2 week tour in the summer without cruising. I have done extensive research and spoken with many people in the state and everyone seems to love the Kenai. They say the scenery is breathaking. It will take you several hours if you are going to drive up to Denali, like 8 or 9 non-stop. I hear the train is not any faster. Then once you get to Denali, the shuttle bus into the park is several hours as well and you need to reserve well in advance. Personally, I think you will be sorry. an awful lot of driving for 2 and a half days. You would be better off spending a day in seward and then driving up to Anchorage,(the ride up the seward highway is supposed to be fabulous) with maybe a stop in Girdwood area, to check out the Alyeska resort, which is Alaska's only 4 star resort.
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Old Mar 27th, 2003, 03:46 AM
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Kenai without question. I have been to both and we really enjoyed Kenai area so MUCH more. We were a little disappointed with Denali. I think we had high expectations for that area.
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Old Mar 27th, 2003, 04:34 AM
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I haven't been to Denali but I would rate the drive between Seward and Anchorage as fabulous. You could easily spend a day on this drive, stopping to enjoy the view. Make sure you have binnoculars. We enjoyed the tram ride up Mt Alyeska and stopped to watch salmon fishing at Bird Creek (in early August the silvers were running). If I did it again I would check tide charts to time the drive for high tide when we might have a chance to see whales. The farmers market on Saturdays in downtown Anchorage was fun, a combination of food, crafts and music. In Seward, we missed hearing Hobo Jim by one night. He is Alaska's balladeer and I heard he is funny. You can check the Anchorage Daily News closer to your trip to see what events might be scheduled. www.adn.com
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Old Mar 27th, 2003, 06:49 AM
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Yes, the drive from Seward to Anchorage is really pretty. I was amazed a tthe beautiful views along the route. Exit Glacier is just a few miles off the highway and is well worth a stop. Wear your hiking boots and you can walk up and touch it! I also got some great photos of wildlife around the glacier.

Anchorage is really a shopper's paradise. If you're looking for quality Made in Alaska gifts to take home, this is the place. There are also many excellent restaurants around the downtown area that are worth a visit. (Glacier Bay Brewhouse was my favorite.) Also, after being in a small cruise cabin for so long, you will appreciate a big hotel room so you cn stretch out!

The hotels in Anchorage all have the Alaska Channel which gives other ideas of tours you can do. The Native Heritage Park is excellent! If you really want to see wildlife, but don't want to drive all day to Denali, you can arrange a flightseeing tour. The Visitor's Center (log cabin downtown) can help you find an operator.
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Old Mar 27th, 2003, 09:17 AM
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Two and a half days is barely enough time for a round trip to Denali NP if you want to take the shuttle into the park for wildlife and/or mountain viewing. Half a day there (at least), next day into the park, second night in or near the park, half a day or more back to Anchorage. It's doable but sounds like a lot of driving, plus accommodations around McKinley fill up early and tend to be pricey.

Unfortunately the same sort of thinking applies to the southern part of the Kenai Peninsula (Homer et al). It's a longish drive there, and once past Portage, not the world's most scenic road (frankly, boring in stretches), and you have to retrace your steps to return to Anchorage.

Given the time, I guess I'd recommend hanging out in and near Anchorage. There are good day trips possible - Matanuska or Knik glaciers, Hatcher Pass (historic mining area above the Matanuska Valley); take in the Native Heritage Center in Anchorage; have a look at the cemetery in the native village of Eklutna, or go back down the Seward Hwy to the Hope cutoff and spend an afternoon in Hope. You can treat yourselves to some flightseeing over the Chugach Mts. or, if you want a longish day trip, head to Talkeetna and do a flightseeing jaunt toward McKinley if the weather's okay.
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Old Mar 27th, 2003, 06:21 PM
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There is also a great one mile hike to Byron Glacier, which is near Portage Glacier. The visitor center can tell you how to get there.
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Old Mar 30th, 2003, 02:08 PM
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We were in Alaska 2 years ago, I would definitly spend my time on Kenai/Ancorage area. Stop at Hope on the Kenai Penn. and the CrowCreek Gold Mine is interesting and the drive up the coast to Anchorage is worth doing it twice. If you want to see more drive toward Palmer. You can pull up all of this on the internet and get the roads to travel. ENJOY!!!
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