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June itinerary

Brussels
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June itinerary

Hi all,

I'm travelling to Alaska in June for about 4 weeks with my girlfriend and I've come up with an itinerary. Please feel free to comment and give us your advice.

First of all, we don't plan on spending more than we have to but still want to enjoy all there is to enjoy in Alaska. We'll bring our camping gear and don't mind camping, but like to stay in a relatively cheap hotel or B&B now and then. Also, we'd like to do some multiday hiking and want to see as much wildlife as possible.

So here goes:

June 10: we arrive in Anchorage, do a bit of sightseeing.

June 11: take train/bus to Denali. We want to stay there for 4 days, 2 nights camping in campgrounds and 2 nights backcountry camping. I guess I have to reserve this in advance (as well as the camping bus?).

June 15: leave Denali and stop in Talkeetna to do a flightseeing trip to the mountain.

June 16: back to Anchorage to take the plane to Valdez / visit Prince William Sound.

June 17: maybe do some kayaking or a day cruise

June 18: to McCarthy via Chitina (have no idea yet what the best way is to get there). We'd like to spend the next 3 days in Wrangell-St Elias NP doing some hiking.

June 22: go back to Valdez and cross the bay to Whittier (don't know if this is possible in 1 day)

June 23: get from Whittier to Seward

June 24: Visit Harding Icefield/Exit Glacier

June 25: Maybe do some kayaking in Kenai Fjords

The next couple of days we'd like to do the Resurrection Pass trail, or maybe antoher multiday hike in the vicinity?

June 28: go to Homer and from there do a trip to Hallo Bay to see the bears.

I don't have any idea yet about our last days, maybe get to Kodiak Island or Katmai. We have to be back in Anchorage on July 4 to take our flight home.

Obviously, I'm still thinking about this so this planning will change, and of course we want to be flexible and change things if necessary (due to weather etc...).

Could anyone tell how much we have to reserve in advance (I was thinking Denali and maybe McCarthy and after that we would improvise).

If you have any other remarks, things that our not in here but that we should definitely see... please feel free to comment.

New York
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1. Re: June itinerary

Your problem with wanting flexability is no car. You will be FAR better off and have way more options to stop and go all the way with one. I suggest you consider one. It isn't that easy to get between your areas without one.

Manitoba, Canada
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2. Re: June itinerary

Hi. Budgetqueen is right, it’s hard to be flexible if you’re tied to public transport. Any way you could compromise and rent a car for some of the trip? Also if you don’t plan on spending a lot, having to rely on flights is maybe not the most economical idea. I’m not sure if there is any other way to get from Valdez to Wrangell without an expensive flight. Maybe someone else knows. Or maybe you could take one of the tours from Anchorage?

Here is more info on that: www.alaskayukontravel.com/transportation.htm

USA
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3. Re: June itinerary

You cannot make a reservation for back country camping. Sections are chosen first come, first serve at Denali back country office 1 day ahead of time on a walk-in basis. There is a quota system for sections; however, with only two of you there is a better chance to get into good sections. Please note that all backpackers into Denali must carry food in a Garcia bear canister which is loaned at the back country office.

Campers planning to take the train to Anchorage cannot camp beyond Riley Creek Campground on their final night in the park. Camper buses will not return to the entrance in time to catch the train. Plan on camping at Riley Creek Campground (or Morino Backpacker Campground) for your final night in the park so you'll be able to catch the train.

There is a backpackers campground, Marino Campground.

Morino backpacker campground is available for those campers who arrive without a vehicle. It's a 60 site campground located one quarter mile west of the Alaska Railroad Depot, so it's an easy walk from the train. I paid $6 to camp at Marino.

There is no fee for backcountry passes; however, you do need to get a camper bus shuttle pass which is around $18. Backpacking is actually the cheap way to see Denali, and one of my favorite ways.

Bring lightweight rain jacket & pants. Have fun!

Ward, AR
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4. Re: June itinerary

can't imagine doing Alaska without a car or rv. way too limiting on your options of things to do, and when you want to do them. if you had the rv, you could stay at Tek campground (highly recommended spot here) and ride the shuttle buses further on into park to hike.

since you're going there, definitely do kayaking in Valdez. it's quite a bit less $$$ there.

there is a fast ferry that runs between Whittier and Valdez. think it was less than 2 hour trip.

as a must do and see, I would say 3 hour ice trekking at Matanuska Glacier in Chickaloon. micaguides.com or novalaska.com. however, you aren't planning on having the vehicle you would need to get there.

a couple of really great books for hikers: 1) Denali National Park by Ike Waits 2) Hiking Alaska by Dean Littlepage.

Brussels
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5. Re: June itinerary

Thanks for the comments.

Renting a car is definitely an option, but not for the whole trip because

- it would be too expensive, and

- since we plan to do some multiday hiking, it would be a waste to have the car just standing in some parking lot for a couple of days.

So we would like to try the first part of our trip without renting a car, and then maybe rent one from Seward to explore the Kenai peninsula and maybe Kodiak Island.

Does this sound a like a good choice? Are there any recommendations for car rental companies in Seward or maybe Whittier?

New York
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6. Re: June itinerary

There is only Avis in Whittier and Hertz in Seward. These cities are also your most costly for car rentals.

I suggest you route out an itinerary, THEN figure out the best transport options. The train isn't cheap, and buses a last resort for me. Look into coupon books - toursaver and northern lights and see if purchasing those would offer savings.

In my opinion, I don't recommend the fast ferry Whittier/Valdez. You get far more scenic sailing going on the regular one. And possible, slight "detours" of interest. The fast ferry is more transportation based, just getting quickly between the two. But this is some really fantastic scenic sailing.

Manitoba, Canada
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7. Re: June itinerary

I found a shuttle from Valdez to Chitina (where you can hook up with the Backcountry Connection shuttle into McCarthy), look at the bottom of this link:

www.kennicottguides.com/gettinghere.htm

It’s cheaper than the plane; however, depending on how many days you are in Wrangell-St. Elias, it may work out to be pretty close to renting a car in Valdez for that period of time. So first check what is available in car rentals, because then you could stop and explore along the way to or from Chitina—very scenic with waterfalls, glaciers, the Pipeline, etc.

After Wrangell, you have the choice of taking the shuttle back to Valdez and going on one of the ferries to Whittier (depends on the day whether the slow or fast is running), or you can go by bus directly to Anchorage (unless of course you rented a car in Valdez, then you’d have to go back!) Both are very scenic routes.

Another option: after Denali, rent a car in Anchorage. Drive to Seward (lots to do along the way, take your time), then maybe to Cooper Landing for your Resurrection Pass hike, maybe hike to the Russian River falls (good chance of seeing bears), can horseback ride too. Then on to Whittier to take a ferry to Valdez. Explore Valdez, drive to Chitina to catch the connection to Wrangell-St. Elias (most car rentals won't let you drive that road--look at this link for rental companies that might: www.alaskayukontravel.com/transportation.htm. There are some neat hikes along the drive if you do take your own car, but be sure to have a spare tire or two.)

After Wrangell, very scenic drive back to Anchorage. One stop might be Matanuska Glacier, where you can walk on the glacier a bit yourselves, or actually explore crevasses, etc. with a guide from MICA or Nova. You can do the same sort of thing in Wrangell on the Root Glacier. I don't know which one would be better, maybe someone else knows.

Then maybe fly to Homer/Kodiak for a week or so in that area.

Just some ideas to kick around.

USA
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8. Re: June itinerary

We've done Resurrection Pass Trail numerous times. It's a comfortable. fairly easy hike with 3 nights out, 10 miles a day for the 40 mile traverse. It goes through various ecosystems and we have seen lots of black and some brown bears, moose, and wolves. One of my girlfriends even saw a sitka deer coming up Devil's Pass! Wish I had seen that!

We use 3 USFS cabins when we do the traverse so we can fast pack with light packs. But they must be reserved months ahead since they are very popular.

Make noise near Juneau Falls so the fishing bears will hear you on the trail.

Brussels
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9. Re: June itinerary

Thanks a lot for the advice! Just keep it coming. I'll have to put some more thought into this.

10. Re: June itinerary

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