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Am I missing any "must see" places on my trip?

Columbus, Ohio
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Am I missing any "must see" places on my trip?

My wife and I are going to Alaska in late May 08. We are planning on spending time in Anchorage, Girdwood, Seward, (possibly Homer), Talkeetna and Denali. Fairbanks doesn't seem that appealling to us. Are there any other places in this region of Alaska that we should see? We are very much outdoors people and enjoy hiking, kayaking, etc. Thanks for any help.

Wasilla, Alaska
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1. Re: Am I missing any "must see" places on my trip?

Well, these are all the regular places that most visitors go including Fairbanks. You can be guaranteed a great trip by visiting these areas, however, you won't be off the beaten path.

I don't know your abilities for hiking, but if you are serious about hiking some great trails, I can give you a few or check out these two books: "55 Ways to the Wilderness, Southcentral Alaska", and "50 Hikes in Alaska's Chugach State Park".

How long are you visiting Alaska?

Cadiz, Kentucky
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2. Re: Am I missing any "must see" places on my trip?

I highly recommend that you get a copy of Frommers Alaska. You can probably get a copy at your local library - but it's a great enough reference book that you may want to take it with you, so check it out on Amazon, Ebay, or half.com. You can often get a copy that's a year or two old for as little as a penny - plus 3.95 shipping. Fodors Alaska is nearly as good.

Ward, AR
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3. Re: Am I missing any "must see" places on my trip?

another hiking book is "hiking alaska by dean littlepage". it covers trails all over state. you might want to take a side trip to Chickaloon to see Matanuska Glacier. you can do a glacier ice trek with micaguides.com. very fun. easy hiking pace using supplied crampons to hike on the glacier. denalioutdoorcenter.com has a scenic and/or combo white water (guide can oar or you can paddle) rafting trip on the Nenana river. if interested you can do during stay at Denali ntnl park.

Columbus, Ohio
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4. Re: Am I missing any "must see" places on my trip?

They only reason we are hesitant to go out on our own in less traveled places is that my wife is a little nervous about bears. We are definitely interested in seeing the off the beaten path places and appreciate your responses. We would especially appreciate any suggestions for small town/hike locations you would recommend. (I already had her read all of the bear safety information that is posted, so just towns and hikes would be great.)

We will be in Alaska 10 days.

haines, alaska
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for Haines
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5. Re: Am I missing any "must see" places on my trip?

dkg826

Hiking in town is really no guarantee that you will not see bears (even in Anchorage)......but by using common sense you should be able to avoid them just about anywhere......hike during mid day as bears usually are looking for food in the early morning and late evening hours......sing or carry on loud conversations in brushy areas to let bears know you are present........they will avoid you if at all possible........Also the state and national parks will close certain trails with known bear activity.......read the guides, keep flexible with your itenerary, carry bug spray, rain gear and a compressed noise-maker in a can.......and you should be all set !!

Healy, Alaska
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for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
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6. Re: Am I missing any "must see" places on my trip?

Well, first I wanted to address your bear concerns - while you need to take precautions, please remember that moose can be just as dangerous, if not more so. I think more people have moose encounters in Alaska than bears, but many folks just think of them as big deer. Most people hike in Alaska without any problems, so be wise and enjoy yourselves.

As far as your time here in Denali, I would recommend at least one full shuttle bus trip (www.nps.gov/dena) and there are several trails in the entrance area that you might enjoy as well as if you are here for a few days, perhaps go on a ranger led discovery hike - they are fun and informative. You also might consider doing a raft trip on the Nenana river as well.

Also, try to come to Denali at the end of your trip - we are about the last area to warm up/thaw. Good luck! :)

new york, ny
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7. Re: Am I missing any "must see" places on my trip?

My wife and I, both mid 30s, have very similar interests as dkg: we have a 6 day trip I'm planning for June 14th 2008. Aside from day-hiking, the only pieces that I have in mind that I really want to fit in is the Kenai Fjords national park tour in Seward, a river trip in Denali, and possibly the Denali flightseeing (or helicopter) trip landing on a glacier. It would be great to spend a night inside the park too, but not sure logistically how to make it work without camping (which isn't out of the question). I don't want to be driving too too much, and don't need to cram too too much in; but I am looking to plan all the accomodations ahead of time, which means I need an itinerary. I was thinking something like:

6/14 arrival ANC

6/15 drive to seward: Kenai Fjords boat tour. Overnight in Seward.

6/16 exit glacier , lunch in seward area, then start driving toward DNP. [What town to stay overnight?] {is flight to DNP entrance from talkeetna a good idea? combined with flight-see?)

6/17 drive to Denali and river raft tour? (tour is at noon) Stay by park entrance?/Healy?

6/18 park bus in to wonder lake - stay overnight? or bus back out?

6/19 park bus back in for another day (or head out from an overnight in the park). Stay overnight in Healy?

6/20 drive back casually to ANC for 8 pm flight back to NYC.

Thanks for any advice.

Manitoba, Canada
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8. Re: Am I missing any "must see" places on my trip?

Hi nycjstar, welcome to the forum. Here are a few ideas:

6/15 - While in Seward, try to fit in SeaLife Center and maybe Ididaride. Are you going to be stopping off at places like Portage Glacier (maybe walking to nearby Byron glacier), Beluga Point and Wildlife Conservation center on your way to or from Seward?

6/16 – Are you just walking to Exit Glacier, or doing part of the Harding Icefield Hike? Talkeetna would be 5 to 5.5 hours from there depending on traffic/construction. I’m not sure what you mean by flight to Denali entrance? If you mean flight to Mt. McKinley, Talkeetna is a good place to do it; however if weather prevents it, you can try again from near the entrance to Denali Park.

6/17 – If you want to flightsee from Talkeetna, arrange a later river raft tour. Or else just flightsee from the entrance of Denali (again, weather permitting). It is usually cheaper to stay at Healy. I'm sure Coalminer can make some specific suggestions if you mention what kind of accommodations you’re hoping for, and maybe a price range.

Whether to stay overnight at Wonder Lake is a question only you can answer. But take headnets and DEET if you do.

Have a great trip! :-)

Chicago, Illinois
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9. Re: Am I missing any "must see" places on my trip?

dkg826- The things I am getting most psyched about our upcoming trip are: kayaking out of Homer (some awesome 1/2 and 3/4 day trips available), 3 hr. Matanuska glacier hike, white water rafting near Denali, hiking outside of Seward, and the glacier cruise out of Whittier. The bus ride into Denali and Seward boat cruise have me nervous with my motion sickness, but will definitely do! The more I look into Homer, the more it interests me. Wish I could talk my husband into the bear viewing trip to Kodiak. He has similar fears of bears. Might have to do that on my own. There are a few cabins in Seward on the waters of Resurrection Bay (Angel's Rest cabins) that we are excited to just chill out on for 3 nights before heading home. Good luck you have some excellent suggestions

Welcome to the forum nycjstar! It sounds like you have a great trip planned and a clear idea of what you want to see. Can I suggest that you start a new post for your trip. I think you will get more of an individualized response, and it will allow dkg826 to keep responses to his questions open here for him.

new york, ny
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10. Re: Am I missing any "must see" places on my trip?

Thanks Manitoba, Head nets! Yikes, camping is out of the question then. I guess from the sounds of it, there's a whole lot ot do in the Seward area, and I could easily stay two nights there (Kenai Fjords tour one day, and Harding Icefield the next - I don't think I'm as interested in the aquarium). Then 6/17 I can drive up to Healy, maybe stopping a couple places (or glaciers) on the way. 6/18 River Raft and some small hiking in/around DNP. 6/19 bus to wonder lake and back. 6/20 I'll hope to use a toursaver coupon for flight seeing: by plane or helicopter: are they all out of Talkeetna? Then back to ANC for a flight home. Sound good?

For accomodations, I usually just look for hotels or B&Bs (In Alaska, it looks like it's mostly B&Bs) with the highest TripAdvisor ratings. So I assume that's what I'll do this time ... but now that it looks like I have an itinerary, if you care to suggest anything (in a natural setting, or with pleasant walking scenery out the front door) - I'd love to hear it! Thanks again!