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Train or Drive to Denali

Which Denali National Park and Preserve hotels are on sale?
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San Francisco...
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Train or Drive to Denali


I have 2 options to get to Denali:

1. Denali Princess package via train

Pros: Scenic train journey from Anchorage

Cons: Denali Princess lodge is too commercial. Room faces a restaurant.

2. McKinley Creekside lodge where we drive to Denali from Anchorage

Pros: Our room here is creekside, more nature and scenic

Cons: Miss out on the scenic train journey. Driving might be scenic as well??

We won't be taking train in other part of our journey in Alaska. I'm debating if train journey is better than a scenic facing room. Please help as tomorrow is the last day to cancel my reservations for a full refund.

BTW both options work out the for the same price($).

Thanks in advance!

Edited: 20 June 2013, 06:50
1. Re: Train or Drive to Denali

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Destination Expert
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2. Re: Train or Drive to Denali

The train and road pretty much parallel each other between Anchorage and Denali. So one is not much more scenic than the other.

Lots of pros of having a car at Denali:

-can stop wherever you want along the way

-can take earlier or later shuttle buses into the park with a car without relying on Princess shuttles

-can drive the first 15 miles of the park road at night if of interest

-more options for eating with a car

-cheaper and better lodging away from Glitter Gulch

Even when I go to Denali just to tent camp inside the park I take a rental car with me. Much more flexibility.

A car at Denali is a no brainer to me. Do it! will you be taking the train to Seward as the other part of your trip?

Lake Tahoe...
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3. Re: Train or Drive to Denali

One question - why is a scenic view from your room important? Surely, you will want to make better use of your time here other than sitting in your room looking out the window. As for the train it does more or less follow the same area as the Parks Hwy except for the area between Talkeetna and Hurricane. Having your own car gives you control when you go, when or where you can stop, etc.

haines, alaska
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4. Re: Train or Drive to Denali

Some more pros with a rental car......

Driving a rental car is faster than the train.........you will have access to all your luggage if you need anything.......

Healy, Alaska
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5. Re: Train or Drive to Denali

I would do the rental car - and I think McKinley Creekside is fine - though I am sure that isn't your only option for places to stay in the area - with a car, there are many more options. :)

Wasilla, Alaska
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6. Re: Train or Drive to Denali

Rental car, for all the reasons mentioned above.

Anchorage, Alaska
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7. Re: Train or Drive to Denali

I'd drive. In fact I just did.

IMO, one is so much more able to enjoy the scenery when you can actually stop and look around (can't do that on a train). I just stayed at Mckinley Creekside and I loved it. Our cabin was very simple; but clean and comfortable. They were completely booked (full), so there were a lot of people around and yet it was still quiet. It's a pretty location and the restaurant is fabulous (though it can be busy).

8. Re: Train or Drive to Denali

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Removed on: 22 June 2014, 06:17