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ANC to Kodiak, Cordova or Nome for short side trip in early June?

ANC to Kodiak, Cordova or Nome for short side trip in early June?

Old Oct 4, 18, 9:36 am
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ANC to Kodiak, Cordova or Nome for short side trip in early June?

If we have a extra 2 days next June would you suggest flying ANC>???? for a short visit (using AS miles)? Maybe Kodiak, Cordova or Nome? We've previously visited Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan & Skagway (6-7 hrs each via cruise ship). This will be part of a 12 day trip. Am thinking of skipping Denali since the wildlife won't be active yet and Mt. McKinley/Denali may be "hiding". Thoughts?

First 10 days will be via car to Homer, Seward, Whittier, Girdwood & Anchorage.

Last edited by philemer; Oct 4, 18 at 7:57 pm
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Old Oct 4, 18, 11:07 am
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All three would make excellent side trips. They're very different, though:

-Nome: barren tundra (feels more "exotic"), gold mining history (and some still active), a very frontier-type feel, three long roads fanning out from Nome that offer vistas onto truly wild and remote Alaska
-Kodiak: Alaska's "Emerald Isle," lots of dense forest cover, one long road to drive and a couple shorter ones, a few interesting sights to see including a rocket launch facility, good fishing options (both river and ocean), a real town with historical buildings and good eating options, and probably Alaska's best brewery with Alaska's least friendly brewmaster (Kodiak Island Brewing Co), potential delays/cancellations getting in and out if there are weather issues
-Cordova: Wet and rainforesty, several cool hikes up to glaciers, world-class fishing, one of the most epic and active calving glaciers in the world (Childs Glacier--take a boat tour out to it), a cool road to drive out to where the bridge went out and fell into the river, amazing tacos/burritos with fresh salmon and halibut at Baja Taco

Nome and Cordova can both also have weather delay/cancellation issues but not nearly as bad as Kodiak, where it's not an infrequent occurrence. That may factor into your plans--or at least if you do Kodiak (or, really, any of them) at the end of the trip, see if you can get it on the same PNR as your onward flight back home so that delays won't cause you to miss a nonrefundable connection.

Other options could be Barrow (more a novelty than an actually interesting place to see, but you can take a tour and get a bit of an inside look at how a real Native village lives), Kotzebue if you're interested in (and have the money and time to) getting out into real backcountry Alaska in Kobuk Valley and Gates of the Arctic National Parks, Dutch Harbor if you want to check out the gorgeously windswept Aleutian islands and site of Deadliest Catch (worse weather delay/cancellation issues than Kodiak, though!), Gustavus for a boat tour up into Glacier Bay National Park, or just keep your car an extra two days and drive over to Valdez to see Alaska's most stunning mountain pass (Thompson Pass).

Last edited by jackal; Oct 4, 18 at 7:39 pm Reason: Ypo-tay
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Old Oct 4, 18, 11:56 am
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Thanks, jackal. Will study these suggestions and get back with you.
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Old Oct 4, 18, 5:38 pm
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I don’t think you could go wrong with any of them, but give yourself some buffer in case of bad weather, especially in Kodiak.
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Old Oct 4, 18, 5:49 pm
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All of Jackal's ideas are great.

My concern with Nome would be that's it's still pretty early (depending on the year) and while the roads out into the bush on the Seward Peninsula are great, you'd likely be carried off by mosquitoes when you get out of the vehicle.

Don't know if you're using cash or miles, but I'd pick Kotzebue, if for no other reason than you can stick a toe in the Arctic Ocean, and as it's above the arctic circle, you could experience true 24h sun in June. If you want to do a "whistle stop" tour, then the same plane that flies to Nome stops in Kotzebue (or v.v.) so you could hit both in a quick tour - Bering Sea and Arctic Ocean in a one.

The other option, pretty much the opposite of the above, would be to head back to SE Alaska and visit Sitka. It's off the main cruise ship routes due to docking limitations, but it's a lovely and historic town, set in fabulous scenery, with lots of cool things (e.g. Fortress of the Bear) to occupy your hours. Easy plane or ferry access from Juneau.

If you pick a return to SE Alaska, see if you can take one of the AS "milk runs," AS 66 or AS 64; for example AS 66 stops in Cordova and Yakutat before Juneau (and continuing to Seattle.) AS 64 hits Juneau, Petersburg, Wrangell and Ketchikan before SEA. If you like fun landings, these are fab.
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Old Oct 4, 18, 7:52 pm
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Originally Posted by Gardyloo View Post
All of Jackal's ideas are great.

My concern with Nome would be that's it's still pretty early (depending on the year) and while the roads out into the bush on the Seward Peninsula are great, you'd likely be carried off by mosquitoes when you get out of the vehicle.

Don't know if you're using cash or miles, but I'd pick Kotzebue, if for no other reason than you can stick a toe in the Arctic Ocean, and as it's above the arctic circle, you could experience true 24h sun in June. If you want to do a "whistle stop" tour, then the same plane that flies to Nome stops in Kotzebue (or v.v.) so you could hit both in a quick tour - Bering Sea and Arctic Ocean in a one.

The other option, pretty much the opposite of the above, would be to head back to SE Alaska and visit Sitka. It's off the main cruise ship routes due to docking limitations, but it's a lovely and historic town, set in fabulous scenery, with lots of cool things (e.g. Fortress of the Bear) to occupy your hours. Easy plane or ferry access from Juneau.

If you pick a return to SE Alaska, see if you can take one of the AS "milk runs," AS 66 or AS 64; for example AS 66 stops in Cordova and Yakutat before Juneau (and continuing to Seattle.) AS 64 hits Juneau, Petersburg, Wrangell and Ketchikan before SEA. If you like fun landings, these are fab.
All very good points, and I had missed that philemer had not made it to Sitka, so I can absolutely second that recommendation. Don't miss the Alaska Raptor Center while there, too. There's a decent brewpub there, too--Baranof Island Brewing Co. BTW, you won't find much (i.e. anything) in the way of breweries in Nome, Kotz, or Barrow, if that influences your decision (I happen to know that philemer appreciates a good craft beer ), though it seems there might be an option in Cordova, if you can nail that down. Also, you'll find plenty of (non-local) beer in Nome (it being a gold mining frontier town, after all), but you'll be very thirsty in Barrow (a "damp" community, meaning you can bring your own in but not buy any there) and sorta thirsty in Kotz (there's a liquor store but no bar, AFAICT, though I think the city was at one point considering opening a city-owned bar and grill, and it's not particularly easy to purchase anything at the liquor store).
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Old Oct 4, 18, 8:02 pm
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True, we have not been to Sitka. In my OP I meant to write Ketchikan, not Sitka.

Sitka sounds fun but it will have to be a r/t from ANC as we head home from ANC.
I'll check the rates for ANC>SIT>ANC. If we do spend a day and a half in SIT what are the recommended things to do, besides drink beer and the Raptor Center?
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Old Oct 7, 18, 12:43 pm
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Of course it depends upon your interests, but there is plenty to do. I would consider stopping at the Sitka Sound Science Center, and walking through the Sitka National Historical Park, which has totem poles that were re-located from other locations in Alaska and from a world's fair that was held in St. Louis early in the last century. The park visitor center also information about the local Tlingit people and the Russian settlement of Sitka Sound. The Russian Bishop's House, which is part of the park, has walk-through tours available and it is a national historic landmark. Humpback whales are attracted to Sitka Sound year round, and there are ways to get out on the water, but it is also possible to see whales breaching and feeding from shore. The Sheldon Jackson Museum has Native Alaskan artifacts from all over the state and there are a network of trails available into the Tongass National Forest from the road network and some trailheads are located within town itself. With a rental car in the summer, it would also be possible to drive up the Harbor Mountain road above treeline into alpine meadows overlooking the ocean. Ludvig's Bistro, Ludvig's Bistro | Home, is a great eating place to consider. I don't live in Sitka, but had the chance to spend a month there a few years ago, and it is a great place for individual and independent visitors.
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Old Oct 8, 18, 12:52 pm
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Originally Posted by drseagrass View Post
Of course it depends upon your interests, but there is plenty to do. I would consider stopping at the Sitka Sound Science Center, and walking through the Sitka National Historical Park, which has totem poles that were re-located from other locations in Alaska and from a world's fair that was held in St. Louis early in the last century. The park visitor center also information about the local Tlingit people and the Russian settlement of Sitka Sound. The Russian Bishop's House, which is part of the park, has walk-through tours available and it is a national historic landmark. Humpback whales are attracted to Sitka Sound year round, and there are ways to get out on the water, but it is also possible to see whales breaching and feeding from shore. The Sheldon Jackson Museum has Native Alaskan artifacts from all over the state and there are a network of trails available into the Tongass National Forest from the road network and some trailheads are located within town itself. With a rental car in the summer, it would also be possible to drive up the Harbor Mountain road above treeline into alpine meadows overlooking the ocean. Ludvig's Bistro, Ludvig's Bistro | Home, is a great eating place to consider. I don't live in Sitka, but had the chance to spend a month there a few years ago, and it is a great place for individual and independent visitors.
Thanks. With the limited flight schedule ANC<>SIT I think we'll pass this trip.
Will at other choices now. Or maybe find something interesting to do in, or near, ANC. Talkeetna looks like a fun day trip, by car, from ANC,
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Old Oct 9, 18, 9:37 am
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Originally Posted by philemer View Post
Talkeetna looks like a fun day trip, by car, from ANC,
I guess it depends on your definition of fun. I know that sounds snarky, but the drive isn't really all that fun - mainly flat, and mainly with forest on both sides of the road. Plus, Talkeetna is rather inundated in the summer with people en route to/from Denali, many for sightseeing, and it's on the cruise tour circuit.

If you have two (full) days and don't want to fly, I'd consider driving to Valdez and back, or at least to Glennallen or Copper Center, in order to see Thompson Pass and the Worthington Glacier along the Richardson Hwy. Map - https://goo.gl/maps/qQpFU1m35mH2 . For my money, the views from the Thompson Pass area are the best road views in the state. You could stop at the Matanuska Glacier along the way.



For a day trip north from Anchorage, it's hard to beat Hatcher Pass and the Independence Mine. It's historic and quite beautiful, and makes for a terrific outing. Stop at the Native village of Eklutna coming or going, for a visit to the village's Historical Park, with the brightly painted "spirit houses" in the cemetery next to the old Russian churches. Map - https://goo.gl/maps/RPdRo7ommdU2



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Old Oct 9, 18, 7:58 pm
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Originally Posted by Gardyloo View Post
I guess it depends on your definition of fun. I know that sounds snarky, but the drive isn't really all that fun - mainly flat, and mainly with forest on both sides of the road. Plus, Talkeetna is rather inundated in the summer with people en route to/from Denali, many for sightseeing, and it's on the cruise tour circuit.

If you have two (full) days and don't want to fly, I'd consider driving to Valdez and back, or at least to Glennallen or Copper Center, in order to see Thompson Pass and the Worthington Glacier along the Richardson Hwy. Map - https://goo.gl/maps/qQpFU1m35mH2 . For my money, the views from the Thompson Pass area are the best road views in the state. You could stop at the Matanuska Glacier along the way.

For a day trip north from Anchorage, it's hard to beat Hatcher Pass and the Independence Mine. It's historic and quite beautiful, and makes for a terrific outing. Stop at the Native village of Eklutna coming or going, for a visit to the village's Historical Park, with the brightly painted "spirit houses" in the cemetery next to the old Russian churches. Map - https://goo.gl/maps/RPdRo7ommdU2
These last two suggestions sound great. Thanks, gardé l'eau. A lot will depend on time.
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