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Denali State Park vs. National Park

Denali State Park vs. National Park

Old Jun 21, 21, 8:25 pm
Join Date: Jun 2021
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This is very informative but I wanted to frame the question in a slightly different way. My wife and 12-year old son are visiting Alaska for the first time in early August. We will be visiting my wife's college friend who lives on the Kenai peninsula and so will be spending most of our time south of Anchorage. However, I would like to see Denali. I note from looking at a map that the National Park is maybe 4 hours round trip further than the State Park.

The question for me is the opportunity cost given our time restraints. For example, say we could get to Katmai National Park if we went to Denali State Park but not if we went to Denali National Park (that's just an example but you get the point).

So I take it from everything I've read here is that wildlife viewing is far superior in the the National Park. That matters to me but it is not a showstopper (especially if the extra time in the car costs the opportunity to see it somewhere else). I see facilities are better too. If I'm going to Denali though, I'd really like to see the mountain itself. I know there is no guarantee of seeing it in either location, but is there a materially better chance of seeing it from the National Park than the State Park? And if the weather is such that it can be seen at both locations, are the vistas of it materially better at the National Park than the State Park?

Also, feel free to tell me that I'm an idiot and why I'm thinking about this all wrong.

strawkid is offline  
Old Jun 22, 21, 7:04 pm
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State park doesn't have any roads aside from Parks hwy going through it - it's not really a sightseeing destination imo. Denali NP is a nice park with lovely vistas but many seem to think that wildlife can only be found there and (aside from some species) it's completely untrue.
IME you can see plenty of animals in ANC and south - eg moose was abundant in ANC in Kincaid and Earthquake parks (we saw 7-8 with some 10 feet away from sidewalk munching on leaves vs a couple distant ones in Denali). You can explore parks nearby and even probably arrange wildlife flightseeing. You are probably more likely to find bears around Katmai vs Denali.
Basically imo unless you plan to spend 2-3 nts near Denali I would skip - that's lots of driving that may or may not reward you with any wildlife sights.
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Old Jun 29, 21, 1:26 am
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Denali National Park is somewhat unique because the territory is generally open and not heavily covered with shrubs or trees, making it easier to spot wildlife even from a distance.

Denali State Park is in a more wooded environment, meaning that the wildlife may be there but can be invisible.
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Old Sep 3, 21, 7:48 pm
Join Date: Dec 2001
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Originally Posted by fti
I will be at Denali Mon Aug 23 to Thu Aug 26 (camping at Wonder Lake).
With those dates it looks like someone is going to have a story to tell given the landslide that closed the park road on Aug 24th!

I snagged a permit for the Denali Road Lottery in September and was planning on driving out to Wonder Lake and Kantishna again but that's been scrubbed.
Quokka is offline  
Old Sep 7, 21, 11:55 am
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A belated Thank You

Glad that strawkid has waken up this thread after 10.5 years of hibernation! We should make this into a WIKI.
Apologize that I forgot to give this thread a proper closure, after having benefited so much from the rich contents that the Alaska gurus had so generously shared.here.

First, thanks to all. I did my first trip to Alaska and Denali NP in 2011. It was a slice of a much longer itinerary (RTW ex-AMM DONE3). Alaska was (and is) so awesome that I had returned for more in 2018 (via yet another RTW ex-JNB DONE4).

Id like to share what I experienced from these 2 trips. Both trips took place at the end of August and early September. Fall foliage and Aurora Borealis were on my wish list.

Didnt see Aurora on the first trip (I over slept), but did witnessed the amazing Northen Lights for the first time on the second trip. I had some photos and timelapse to share.

I posted a Trip Report on FT, the ex-AMM DONE3. Begin from Post #32 (pertaining to Alaska)

100 days & 500 photos: my oneworld DONE3 Adventures

I keep a Travel-Photography-Adventure web site where photos from Alaska & my personal Travel Journals in Alaska are shared. Please use links below:



I am planning another trip to Alaska (probably in early fall again, next year perhaps) to do some more road trips. Hopefully find some new scenic routes that I had not driven on.
Suggestions welcome
allset2travel is offline  
Old Sep 10, 21, 8:33 pm
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Originally Posted by Quokka
With those dates it looks like someone is going to have a story to tell given the landslide that closed the park road on Aug 24th!

I snagged a permit for the Denali Road Lottery in September and was planning on driving out to Wonder Lake and Kantishna again but that's been scrubbed.
That post of mine was not from this year but I went again Aug 23-27 to camp at Tek Campground. Woke up on Friday morning to 2 of wet heavy snow.

Unfortunately no Road Lottery this year.
fti is offline  

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