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Tour bus and/or Shuttle Bus

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Geelong, Australia
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Tour bus and/or Shuttle Bus

I will be going to Denali in early June with a group which includes two elderly - but still fit- relatives. We are all big wildlife watchers, and want to go for walks( up to 1 hr) but not tough hiking. This will be our only chance to go to Alaska & Denali. I am deciding between 2 days on the shuttle bus or one day shuttle with one day tour bus. Because we want to learn about the area & animals i thought a tour may be more informative, what do you think?

Anchorage, Alaska
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for Anchorage
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1. Re: Tour bus and/or Shuttle Bus

I haven't done a tour. I've done about a dozen shuttles (since 2005) and I've always been very pleased with the shuttle drivers and their willingness to produce a good/memorable/informative experience.

Healy, Alaska
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for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
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2. Re: Tour bus and/or Shuttle Bus

I would book two days on the shuttle for just the reasons that sdpryde stated. It also gives you that flexibility to get on and off - very nice. I really don't think the tours are worth the $$ . . . but that is my opinion. :)

Las Vegas, Nevada
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3. Re: Tour bus and/or Shuttle Bus

I've only been on 3 shuttle trips into the Park but I've been very pleased with the drivers each time. They may not have a script to follow like the tour drivers but they provided lots of information about wildlife, history, and geology. They were very happy to answer questions from all the passengers, often repeating the questions into the mic so that everyone could share in the information. And they were just as excited as the rest of us for every wildlife sighting, always willing to stop when someone yelled "bear", even when the bear was just a big rock. Big thumbs up for the shuttle !

I've booked 2 trips to Wonder Lake for the end of June. If the mountain isn't visable I'll hop off at Eielson Visitor Center but for the minimal price difference I'd rather have a seat to WL in case I can use it.

Edited: 09 February 2012, 02:59
Manitoba, Canada
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4. Re: Tour bus and/or Shuttle Bus

I've done both the shuttle and the Tundra Wilderness Tour. Hands down I recommend the shuttle. Not only does the shuttle allow you to get off for your hikes (which you can't do with the TWT), but it goes farther than the TWT does, into prime bear viewing area near Eielson. The commentary on both was pretty similar...on the way in the driver talks a lot, on the way out everyone is too tired (unless wildlife is spotted). If you do get a "quiet" driver, open him/her up by asking a few questions about Denali or the wildlife.

I'd suggest both days on the shuttle, at least as far as Eielson. Bring binoculars for all of you since most wildlife is seen at a distance, and food & beverages since none are for sale in the park.

fti
MN
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for Alaska
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5. Re: Tour bus and/or Shuttle Bus

I agree with the above. The shuttle buses go further into the park (in early June to Eielson, on/after June 8 to Wonder Lake). Commentary is usually excellent. You can not get off the tour bus to hike (well, technically you can, but then you have to reboard a shuttle not a tour bus so why pay for a tour bus?).

Also, what if you booked the shuttle bus for Monday and the tour bus for Tuesday. Monday was rainy and misty all day but Tuesday is beautiful for walking. Well, you can't really switch your plans very easily at the last minute.

Even when I camp inside the park and take the camper buses (usually with less commentary than the shuttle buses), I still make a point to board shuttle buses on occasion to get more commentary (I still enjoy it even after multiple times in the park and the shuttle bus commentary is usually excellent).

Definitely book two days of shuttle buses!

Geelong, Australia
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6. Re: Tour bus and/or Shuttle Bus

Thanks everyone - it seems unanimous that 2 days on the shuttle is my best bet so I will book that.

Las Vegas, Nevada
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7. Re: Tour bus and/or Shuttle Bus

Since there are a few of you, I recommend getting there a bit early so you can grab seats on BOTH sides of the bus. That way, you won't be leaning all over strangers when you have sightings on the other side of the bus :>)

There's an overhead rack above the seats for storing lunches, coats, etc

I think it was denalicat who suggested to a recent poster ... if you want commentary, take a seat behind the driver and ask away.

8. Re: Tour bus and/or Shuttle Bus

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