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Help on Alaska Vacation

Help on Alaska Vacation

Old Oct 9, 12, 7:06 pm
  #1  
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Help on Alaska Vacation

This thread isn't strictly related to Alaska Airlines but I thought the posters in this forum might be able to give me some good guidance. I have booked my in-laws on some flights to Alaska next summer and needed some help with some of the particulars.

The itinerary (all on AS):
PHL-SEA-FAI in F
ANC-SEA(stopover)-PHL in Y

They'd like to take the train from Fairbanks to Denali, stay in Denali for 4 or 5 days, then take the train to Anchorage. They are going to have rental cars in Fairbanks and Anchorage, and no car in Denali.

1. Are there lodging accommodations within Denali that are walking distance from the train station in Denali National Park? If not, do places provide a shuttle?
2. They'd like to go on some guided tours of the park and also be able to do some hiking on their own on the trails located inside the park. Are there any places people would recommend them to stay?
3. Are there any tours that you would recommend at the park?

Thanks.
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Old Oct 9, 12, 8:55 pm
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Princess has rail cars on the Alaska Railroad as well as lodges in Denali.

http://www.princesslodges.com/denali-rail-tours.cfm
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Old Oct 9, 12, 9:20 pm
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I have moved this thread to the Alaska destination forum, where it is more appropriately located for discussion about the state itself.

Regards,
jackal
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Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan forum
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Old Oct 9, 12, 9:22 pm
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They'd like to take the train from Fairbanks to Denali, stay in Denali for 4 or 5 days, then take the train to Anchorage.
^ I highly recommend going in a dome car.

3. Are there any tours that you would recommend at the park?
The Sled Dog Demonstration (free and put on by the park rangers.) You don't make reservations; you get in line inside the park for the short bus trip over to the kennels.
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Old Oct 15, 12, 1:21 pm
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fti
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It is a drawback to not have a car at Denali. There really are no hotels within walking distance of the train station, especially with luggage. But there are several hotels and lodges with transportation to/from the park. Not having a car means you are limited in your lodging options. It also means you can't get onto early buses into the park. You also can't drive the first 15 miles into the park in the evening without a car.

>>2. They'd like to go on some guided tours of the park and also be able to do some hiking on their own on the trails located inside the park.

>>3. Are there any tours that you would recommend at the park?

I would avoid "tours" and concentrate on "shuttle buses" in Denali. Most all shuttle bus drivers give excellent commentary. They are MUCH cheaper than the tour buses and you can get off the bus to go hiking on your own. Note - there are very few formal trails in Denali NP. You just get off the bus and hike on the trail-less tundra. The bus drivers and park rangers are an excellent source of information for good places to hike. The only real trails in the park are near the entrance. They can be nice, but limiting. There is one trail near Wonder Lake but there are so many other great areas in the park to hike. Check into the 3-for-2 shuttle bus tickets offered if you call to make your reservations. That will give them three days on the shuttle buses for the price of two.

You can check the Top Questions about Denali in the Denali forum on Trip Advisor. There is a list of lodging options near Denali that have transportation to the park.

When will they be in Alaska and for how long? What are their interests? Having 4-5 days in Denali is great but it is very worthwhile to see places like Seward, maybe even a glacier cruise from Whittier, etc.

Too bad that they will miss being able to stop along the drive between Denali and Anchorage. You might consider looking at the cost of a one-way car rental between Fairbanks and Anchorage (not cheap I know) and taking the train from Anchorage to Seward and back. It is much easier to get around Seward without a car than Denali. When comparing the costs, realize you can probably get lower-priced lodging near Denali if you had a car. Also realize that the flexibility of a car including stops you can make, etc. has value that is hard to put a pricetag on.
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Old Oct 15, 12, 6:23 pm
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If you posted this before booking I would have told you to just go in and out from nchorage. Rent a car frm there drive up to Denali for the 5 days, drive back to anchorage. Do some stuff you need to drive to near there. Then return the car to anchorage then do a train to Seward for about 3-4 days.

Other option you can do to and back to Denali frm Fairbanks for the 4-5 days...then take the train to anchorage. Then take the train to Seward.

It's helpful to know your flight timeline for this.
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Old Nov 8, 12, 9:30 pm
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We did a similar iten, but without the train. We camped for 2 nights in Denali (one night at the main area and the second night at Wonder Lake.) There is no where inside the park that is close to the train station, where you could stay without a tent or an RV. That said, if you're planning to get from FAI to ANC by way of Denali, it may be worth renting an RV for both transport and lodging in Denali.

The sled dog demonstration at the park is awesome and I'd highly recommend it.

Most of the trails at Denali are located by the Visitor Center, so if they want to see most of the park they will need to arrange for some kind of bus to get them out towards Wonder Lake or one of the Katishna lodges.

I hope this helps.
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