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Visiting Denali in September (end of season)?

Atlanta, Georgia
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Visiting Denali in September (end of season)?

We are considering a trip to Alaska the week of Labor Day. The first part of the week would be spent in Girdwood & Seward, and we would be in Denali the later part of the week-- so the final few days before everything closes for the season on September 12. My question is whether this a bad time to go, since it is the tail end of the season? Our main interests are hiking and photography.

We would likely be staying at Camp Denali or North Face Lodge, in case it makes a difference. Ideally we would visit Denali the week before, but these dates are dictated by lodging availability. We could consider staying elsewhere (ideally in the park), but I've already sold myself on Camp Denali/North Face. Given the expense, I'd like to educate myself on the possible negatives of visiting so late in the season. But things are clearly booking up fast, so I need to make a decision soon!

Our alternative is July, but I'm concerned about mosquitos (I understand they are particularly bad in the Katishna area?). Thanks for any advice you can provide!

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Denali
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Denali National Park and Preserve, AK
Camp Denali
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Denali National Park and Preserve, AK
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Cadiz, Kentucky
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1. Re: Visiting Denali in September (end of season)?

I think it woould be a great time to go! The autumn colors in Denali will be a photographer's dream!

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Denali
Denali
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Denali National Park and Preserve, AK
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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2. Re: Visiting Denali in September (end of season)?

I agree . . . the early part of September, immediately prior to the Road Lottery weekend (Sept 14-27, 2012), is a great time to go!

I've been the last week of August/first week of September in 2010 and love it . . . and last year I was there immediately prior to and for the lottery weekend.

While the fall colors were at their peak during our 2010 trip, they were still really nice last year too!

Bristol, Connecticut
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3. Re: Visiting Denali in September (end of season)?

It is a great time to be in the park. Great fall colors and the slight chance of seeing the Aurora, I was there last September 15-17 and saw the Aurora and though the colors were starting to fade it was still very nice. Expect cold nights and cool days and no mosquitoes makes it much more enjoyable.

fti
MN
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4. Re: Visiting Denali in September (end of season)?

As was said, that is a great time to go, but don't expect the fall colors. Most likely you will have missed the peak. In fact, that is the reason the lodging is already full earlier in September - peak colors are usually end of August or early September depending on the year, weather, etc.

You only have Sep 12 and Sep 13 in the park since the road lottery starts Sep 14. Are you planning on just one night in Kantishna? If so, I strongly discourage that. By doing that you only get one night in the park and one round trip bus trip. If you stayed near the park entrance and took day trips instead, you can take one round trip shuttle bus on Sep 12 and another round trip shuttle bus on Sep 13, in effect doubling your usable time in the park.

You should seriously consider applying for the road lottery. That would be incredible. I got to go three days of road lottery last year.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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5. Re: Visiting Denali in September (end of season)?

YIKES >>>immediately prior to the Road Lottery weekend (Sept 14-27, 2012)<<<

That is a typo. The road lottery is Sept 14-17.

Sorry.

Atlanta, Georgia
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6. Re: Visiting Denali in September (end of season)?

Thanks everyone, this is really encouraging! So it sounds like this is a nice time to be in the park, whether or not we will see peak fall colors.

fti- I'm sorry, I think my initial post was confusing. We would arrive in the park Sept. 7 and depart on Sept. 10, so three nights in the park. It seems that many of the in-park lodges (including Camp Denali/NFL) close for the season on September 12, so things will begin wrapping up for the season while we are there.

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Healy, Alaska
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7. Re: Visiting Denali in September (end of season)?

I would plan to come to Denali first and then do your Seward/Girdwood section - in hopes of better weather and colors. Last fall was great, but often it is snowing by that second week. :)

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Denali
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Seward
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Adirondack, New York
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8. Re: Visiting Denali in September (end of season)?

I agree with Coalminer. The first week of September would be the best. After that tundra colors are turning brownish copper and become less brilliant. Still the Denali NP is amazing place to visit any time. If you checked my Wow slideshow all photos were taken at the end of August or very beginning of September

Edited: 10 March 2012, 18:01
Las Vegas, Nevada
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9. Re: Visiting Denali in September (end of season)?

I think the negative of Sept would be the chance of stronger storm conditions. Weather is iffy anyway; it could be rainy & windy in July OR Sept, but into Fall there's a chance of bigger storms with very cold temps and even snow. But the positive are the fall colors and more moose sightings in Denali due to the rut.

Here's a link to Susan's blog and photos from the road lottery last yr in mid Sept.

http://susanstevenson.com/blog/2011/09/21/

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Adirondack, New York
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10. Re: Visiting Denali in September (end of season)?

Below is the link to my slidheshow. We had some incredibly gorgeous weather in the beginning of many Septembers. Last year we had a very strong winds but the park is always amazing, in any weather.

…tripadvisor.com/tripwow/ta-035d-9eaa-5832