Tour of Denali

Old Jun 24th, 2004, 02:18 PM
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Tour of Denali

Does anyone have a recomendation of the best way to see Denali? which tour is best? one where you're not stuck in the bus the whole time? if you drive yourself in as far as you can go, good trails?
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Old Jun 24th, 2004, 05:33 PM
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You can only drive to mile 16 of the 90. So there is no way around not taking a bus. Be advised- there are 2 types of buses. TOUR buses- go as far as mile 53, farther if McKinley is viewable- to mile 60. Forget the Natural History tour- useless in my opinion- especially since the park service shuttles to there for FREE. The other bus options is the SHUTTLE bus. Can go the entire 90 miles, but Kantishna is better seen with one of the private buses as the property at the shuttle stop is all private and you can't do anything but get back on and return. Eielson is mile 66- there is a visitor center there and daily guided hike at 1pm. Wonder Lake is mile 85- my opinion only but I will never make this trip again before the end of August. Just too uncomfortable with the significant bug problems for any enjoyment for me. The SHUTTLE buses will stop anywhere along the route and drop you off. You then just go back to the road and wait for a bus coming by with available seats. Eielson has a list you sign up for and they fill every bus leaving from the list. Look at the www.nps.gov Denali site and take a look at the trail map- see what is of interest??
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Old Jun 25th, 2004, 05:35 AM
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We did the Tundra Wilderness Tour a 6-8 hour narrated bus tour where you remain on the same bus the whole time. Stops are about every hour for about 15-20 minutes (restroom, stretch your legs, scenic areas for photography, etc). They also make numerous stops when wildlife is spotted but you are not permitted to leave the bus. I personally felt the tour was too long and next time I'd take the shuttle bus. You have more flexibility to see what you want and the option to hike.
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Old Jun 25th, 2004, 09:11 AM
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We took the park shuttle to Eielson, as recommended by Budget Queen many times, you won't be disappointed. Plenty of wildlife. Check NPS on internet.
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Old Jun 25th, 2004, 10:42 AM
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We just returned from Alaska and took the park shuttle as far as the Eilson Visitor Center as recommended by other posters here. It costs $22 per person and as we have a National Park Service pass, we did not have to pay the $5.00 per person entry fee into the park. Out driver (Jeremy)spoke almost the entire time giving us all sorts of interesting information about the park and the wildlife. He stopped every time he or one of the passengers saw wildlife and we were able to see "the big four" as he called them: a grizzly bear, caribou, moose and dall sheep that were very close to the side of the road. We also stopped and got out of the bus at all the restroom stops to stretch our legs, take photos and wander a bit. I can't imagine why anyone would spend $80 or so to do the same thing, regardless of what the tour is called. All the busses travel on the same road and go to the same places. As the drivers pass one another, they usually stop and advise each other of any wildlife sightings so that all the passengers get to see as much as possible. REMINDER: Do be sure to put on mosquito repellent with deet because the mosquitos this year are truly awful. Any locals we spoke to really emphasized this. Several of the stores in Anchorage were sold out of Deep Woods OFF but we purchased a small canister of Resolve spray which has 100% deet content.
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Old Jun 25th, 2004, 10:49 AM
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I forgot to mention in my previous post about Denali that we were only able to get on the 10AM park shuttle bus, because the earlier ones were sold out when we called to make a reservation 2 days in advance. Everyone had advised taking the very early tours. As it turned out, we did see lots of wildlife and we were able to sleep until 8am, so all in all, things worked out for the best for us. If you really want to take the earlier tours, I suggest that you make your reservation as soon as you can before they are sold out. They always leave room on the busses that leave the Visitor's Center for those staying at campsites who get on at stops along the way, so even though there are empty seats when you leave, they do fill up quickly with campers.
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Old Jun 25th, 2004, 05:28 PM
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We took the loooong bus tour, and never regretted it. Our 70+ parents came with us, and they napped through part of the ride, which was fine with all of us. The SECRET is to bring along a bedpillow for sitting on those bus seats, along with some snacks and water or soda. It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for most people, and we saw so much wildlife--including the elk which walked around us not ten feet away while we were at one of the rest stops. We were lucky enough to see McKinley the entire day. I hope you love it also, Harris3000. We also stayed 2 nights at a great B&B in Healy just outside the park--let me know if you want details.
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