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Which Hilton property for one night in ANC

Which Hilton property for one night in ANC

Old Aug 12, 13, 12:15 pm
  #1  
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Which Hilton property for one night in ANC

Hi All,

I'll be spending a little over a week in Alaska in early September. Arrive ANC on Friday 8/30 and driving the same day up to Denali. After 4 night in the park, I'll come back to Anchorage for one night (Tuesday) before heading down to Seward the next morning.

All of the Hilton properties have awards nights available. Which would you suggest for basically a quick stopover and a warm shower after 3 nights in a tent at Wonder Lake?

On the following Sunday, I will be staying at the Hilton Anchorage before flying out Monday evening.

Thanks.
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Old Aug 13, 13, 3:07 pm
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I do not have alot of experience with the Hilton properties in Anchorage. I have only stayed at the Hilton Anchorage which is located in the heart of downtown with close proximity to nice restaurants, bars, shopping, etc... The other locations are not as conveniently located. The downside to the downtown location is parking. You might have to pay for it.
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Old Aug 14, 13, 7:28 am
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Thanks for the feedback.

I decided to go with the Embassy Suites that night primarily due to parking (free vs. $24). I'll be driving down from Denali that day and will be in no rush making some stops on the way (Talkeetna, Eklutna). And while not getting up at the crack of dawn the next day, will likely roll south towards Seward by about 10:00.

On the following Sunday I'll get back into Anchorage early afternoon and have all day there on Monday before an 8:00pm flight home. So I'll stay at the Hilton that night for the downtown location.

Thanks again.
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Old Aug 15, 13, 1:10 pm
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fti
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I would have said Embassy Suites or Homewood Suites. I stayed in the Homewood Suites for a couple of nights a few years ago and really liked it for various reasons.

Do realize it is a good 5 hour drive from Anchorage to Denali. Unless you arrive by 1-2pm it will be a fairly late arrival to Denali if you drive the day you arrive. Also remember you will need to do grocery shopping for your trip to Wonder Lake.

You can also get a nice shower for $4 at the Riley Creek Mercantile if desired.

Are you taking an early camper bus on Saturday to Wonder Lake? It will be very crowded at Wonder Lake that time of year (fall colors). Try to get a site with a higher number and on your left as you walk up the path from the bus (the few sites on the right don't have an unobstructed view of Mt. McKinley from their sites). The main reason I like the higher numbered sites is that they tend to be slightly quieter and the food locker/cooking area tends to be slightly quieter than the other sites. But all sites are first-come, first-served.

Take your time on the drive from Anchorage to Seward. The first 75 miles have a LOT to offer. Here is a good post from Trip Advisor detailing them.

http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic....html#47298453

You can easily spend 4-5 hours if not more in this area alone. When I was there in June, we spent one full day along this stretch of the road (2 nights - arrived late on day one, departed the morning of day three).
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Old Aug 16, 13, 12:31 pm
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Thanks for the additional info:

Originally Posted by fti View Post
Do realize it is a good 5 hour drive from Anchorage to Denali. Unless you arrive by 1-2pm it will be a fairly late arrival to Denali if you drive the day you arrive. Also remember you will need to do grocery shopping for your trip to Wonder Lake.
Flight gets in at 1:30 pm. I "splurged" a whole extra $40 on the plane ticket to arrive in the afternoon. I already have ANC > REI > grocery > Denali mapped out. REI for stove fuel, bear spray and bug spray. I'm bringing freezedried meals with me, so shouldn't take too long at the grocery. I'm booked at the Salmon Bake Cabins just outside the park entrance on Friday night.

Originally Posted by fti View Post
You can also get a nice shower for $4 at the Riley Creek Mercantile if desired.
That's good to know; I hadn't seen that. Will make the drive back to Anchorage more pleasant.

Originally Posted by fti View Post
Are you taking an early camper bus on Saturday to Wonder Lake? It will be very crowded at Wonder Lake that time of year (fall colors). Try to get a site with a higher number and on your left as you walk up the path from the bus (the few sites on the right don't have an unobstructed view of Mt. McKinley from their sites). The main reason I like the higher numbered sites is that they tend to be slightly quieter and the food locker/cooking area tends to be slightly quieter than the other sites. But all sites are first-come, first-served.
I am on the second camper bus (10:00 am ish) Saturday morning. Thanks for info on the sites; I'd read some but not as detailed as yours.

Originally Posted by fti View Post
Take your time on the drive from Anchorage to Seward. The first 75 miles have a LOT to offer.

You can easily spend 4-5 hours if not more in this area alone. When I was there in June, we spent one full day along this stretch of the road (2 nights - arrived late on day one, departed the morning of day three).
I was giving myself about 5 hours. I'll only be in Seward for one night. The plan (and all my plans are always very flexible) is to hike Harding Ice Field on Thursday, getting an early start at sunrise (7am). But then I'll drive back to Girdwood Thursday afternoon with no rush. Additionally, I'll be riding a bike from Girdwood to Hope and back on Saturday and then another 50 miles along Turnagain Arm on Sunday with the Anchorage Bike MS so will have plenty of opportunity to see that area.

Thanks again for sharing your experience.

Last edited by telel6s; Aug 16, 13 at 12:39 pm
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Old Aug 17, 13, 5:05 pm
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Originally Posted by telel6s View Post
Flight gets in at 1:30 pm. I "splurged" a whole extra $40 on the plane ticket to arrive in the afternoon. I already have ANC > REI > grocery > Denali mapped out. REI for stove fuel, bear spray and bug spray. I'm bringing freezedried meals with me, so shouldn't take too long at the grocery. I'm booked at the Salmon Bake Cabins just outside the park entrance on Friday night.
With a 1.30pm arrival you should get to Denali by 9-10pm.

Fred Meyers sells most stove fuel and bug spray and I am pretty sure bear spray, though you would have to check (perhaps on their website). If so, you can make one stop for everything since Fred Meyers has a full grocery store too.
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Old Sep 22, 13, 11:20 am
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Just a belated thank you for the advice and suggestions given in this thread.

My Alaska trip was fantastic. Never had any traffic problems. After REI and grocery my time to Denali was under 5 hours including some quick stops for pictures.

Wonder Lake and all of Denali are incredible. The mountain was never out, but that just gives me another reason to go back. The fall colors were coming on full strength while I was there. Hikes at McKinley Bar trail, Eielson Visitor Center/Thorofare Ridge and Mt. Healy. Only saw grizzly paw prints and scat, but plenty of moose, caribou, and I shadowed a group of 10 Dall sheep for about 40 minutes up on Thorofare Ridge.


Embassy Suites was a good choice after several nights in a tent. Quick washer/dryers and good breakfast. Plus the suite layout gave space to air out some of the clothes and equipment that had gotten damp while camping.

Seward itself was no big deal and I could have easily skipped it (could be because of low clouds/drizzle and being at the very end of the season). But I camped at Exit Glacier and hiked the Harding Icefield Trail which, if you ask me, is right up there with Grand Canyon and Tongariro Crossing (NZ) for what you get to see in a single day hike.

Then I finished up with four nights at Alyeska. Hiking and relaxing on Friday then biking on Saturday and Sunday. Very cool to be riding on Seward Highway along Turnagain Arm and see beluga whales swimming just off shore.

Thanks again.
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Old Sep 22, 13, 5:25 pm
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Thanks for the update.

Too bad you didn't see any grizzlies in Denali. I was there a long time earlier this month but saw a lot of them, a couple really close up.

I am jealous that you saw beluga whales. I have been along Turnagain Arm a lot and have never seen them.

Yes, the Harding Icefield Trail is excellent. I like Seward more for the activities in the area (Harding Icefield Trail/Exit Glacier and the Kenai Fjords tours) than for the town itself.
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Old Sep 28, 13, 12:41 pm
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Originally Posted by fti View Post
Thanks for the update.

Too bad you didn't see any grizzlies in Denali. I was there a long time earlier this month but saw a lot of them, a couple really close up.

I am jealous that you saw beluga whales. I have been along Turnagain Arm a lot and have never seen them.
Other people I met staying at Wonder Lake saw grizzlies during the days. I just picked the wrong places to hike. (As if there are really wrong places to hike in Denali.) Some of their pictures were amazing. But I did see a nice pile of scat full of blueberries if that counts for anything.

The belugas were really cool. At first I thought there was just a plastic bag filled with air in the water. But on second sight you could see the group of them moving in the same direction we were riding. And I was with people from the Anchorage area, some of whom were born and raised in Alaska. So when they were excited about seeing the whales I knew I was seeing something really special.

Seeing the belugas again the next day was icing on the cake. Unfortunately people were pulling their cars off on the shoulder to view the whales and blocking the shoulder forcing us to have to merge out onto the road to pass them. So I had to pay more attention to not getting hit by a car than watching for whales.
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