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Alaska RV Routes

MI
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Alaska RV Routes

We are 1st time RV travelers(suggestions on co to rent from). Going to Alaska in July 2011 for 10 days. We will fly into Anchorage and want to visit Kenai Peninsula and Denail. Suggestins on which to see first/good RV parks. We are thinking of ice hiking in Exit Glacier and Boat trip vs kayak trip in the north and hiking and bus (independent vs tour) at Denali. How long will our drives be in between locations?? Anything that is a must see.

USA
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1. Re: Alaska RV Routes

Welcome, ReeseMi

Here's a good place to start regarding RV info:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g28923-i349-k34150…

Then you can come back here with more questions.

It would be helpful to know who is in your party. Children?

Manitoba, Canada
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2. Re: Alaska RV Routes

"We are thinking of ice hiking in Exit Glacier and Boat trip vs kayak trip in the north and hiking and bus (independent vs tour) at Denali"

Okay, I'm confused. Why can't you do everything you listed? And to what northern kayak trip are you referring?

And when in July are you going? July 3 & 4 around Seward can be a madhouse due to their holiday celebration....you want to either be there to participate, or be far away....

Would the day kayaking trip to Aialik Glacier be within your reach financially? There are a few outfitters that offer that trip, one of which gives you a slight discount if you combine it with the Exit Glacier ice hiking the day before or after. The water taxi to the glacier doubles as a wildlife cruise, so you could put the money you intended to spend on the Kenai Fjords cruise toward the kayaking....

The drive between Denali and Seward is too long to be considered in a single day unless you do nothing but drive between the two--and you'll miss a lot of nice places if you do that. Depending on your interests and on the rest of your itinerary, there are 4 usual places to overnight to make the drive enjoyable: Girdwood, Anchorage, Hatcher Pass, Talkeetna.

How long a hike are you able to do? What are your other interests (museums, flightseeing, whitewater rafting, fishing, sled dog tour, etc.)? Would you be interested in a bear-viewing tour (expensive)?

As for RV's, Great Alaskan Holidays ("GAH" if you want to do a search on the forums here to read more about people's experiences with them) always gets super reviews. If you go with another company, be sure to do a search here and also check out their reputation with the Better Business Bureau (www.bbb.org). I wouldn't deal with any rated less than "A" (GAH is A+), and be sure to read any complaints to find out if the company addressed them or ignored them.

MI
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3. Re: Alaska RV Routes

I actually already did read those and printed them for reference-thanks.

It will just be my husband and I traveling and we are in our mid 40's. Initially I thought of heading north first but then I read somewhere that it might be best to end the trip closer to Anchorage so we don't have much travel at the end. Is it 4 1/2 hours from Seward to Denali(straight through?). I think we will stay in the park - probably not Tek(may only be there 3 days/2 nights). Not sure about the tour bus vs independent - it would be nice to get the info but we do like freedom.

Suggestions on CG around Seward/Exit Glacier and what people think of kayak vs boat tour.

MI
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4. Re: Alaska RV Routes

We are thinking of traveling the week of 4th of July so thanks for the info. We would have the time to do it all just not the funds. I really want to ice hike and we are deciding between kayak and boat. We are able to do moderate hikes a few miles - just not all up hill :)

This is a great site thats for all the helpful info !!!!

Las Vegas, Nevada
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5. Re: Alaska RV Routes

Yes, this is a great site with very helpful/useful information! You can learn some great tips that will enhance your trip.

There are campgrounds within in an hr of Anchorage north and south so returning your RV from either direction shouldn't be an issue. Although as MM described, the festivities in Seward over the 4th will probably be a deternining factor in where you go first ... "particpate or be far away" ! I haven't experienced it myself but that's a great descriptive MM !

I recommend a copy of the MILEPOST. Available at the bookstore or on line ( I just got a 2007 version from amazon for $8 with S&H). It's a great resource for sights, campsites,dining, excursions. Also, use the SEARCH feature to read past trip reports. Type 'trip report" with quotes.

Have fun planning!

Edited: 18 July 2010, 20:35
Manitoba, Canada
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6. Re: Alaska RV Routes

"Is it 4 1/2 hours from Seward to Denali(straight through?)"

Nope. More like 7 to 7.5 hours. Don't forget most of the way is 2-way driving and you'll be there at the height of tourist season. Assume you'll be delayed somewhere due to construction, and if there is an accident which closes the highway, the trip could take hours longer because there is only 1 road--you just have to wait until it's cleared.

"I read somewhere that it might be best to end the trip closer to Anchorage so we don't have much travel at the end."

That doesn't make any difference unless you have an early flight home, but is easily arranged--if you're coming back from Denali, overnight the last night at Talkeetna (3 hrs from Anchorage) or Hatcher Pass (1.5 hrs).

"we are deciding between kayak and boat."

I think you'd enjoy both, but you really don't see much if you just kayak in the bay. A 6 hr. Kenai Fjords NP cruise gets you to lots of neat scenery plus to the face of a calving glacier, and gives you a better chance to come cross whales. Would you be able to afford that plus, say, a 3 hour kayak (with Sunny Cove, $65)? Or if you're experienced kayakers, you could rent a double kayak for about $60 I think, and paddle around the bay on your own (don't do that if you're not experienced, though.) If you can afford only one tour, I'd recommend the KF cruise.

Campground in Seward would be the Waterfront (except on July 4 weekend--they don't take reservations so either be there before July 4 to claim your spot, or be somewhere else).

In Denali, if you don't want to stay at Tek, I'd suggest Savage River CG. It's away from the busy entrance area, nicely treed sites, and you can also catch a view of the top of McKinley if it's "out". And of course you have your "wheels" whenever you want. You can either catch the shuttle right there at the CG, or drive the 14 miles back to the entrance to catch the shuttle at the WAC (Wilderness Access Center) if you'd prefer to choose your seats. Note that if you phone, you can get 3 days of shuttle tickets for the price of two, and you could choose which 2 days you want when you see what the weather is like (or go all 3, of course). In July the mosquitoes can be awful at Wonder Lake, so I'd suggest you book Eielson (8 hr. roundtrip from the entrance). You don't have to go all the way all 3 days. Choose the day with the best chance of seeing Mt. McKinley to go to Eielson, and the other day(s) you can hop off and on at will (on a space-available basis) to hike where you want to. Check the Top Questions in the Denali forum for great ideas about hikes in Denali.

I suggest you schedule Denali at the beginning or end of your trip because you need reservations for both the CG and shuttle (www.reservedenali.com). Of course, you'll need reservations for the Exit Glacier hike too, so put that at the other end of your trip. Then in between the two, you can amble along (or wander off on a detour) as the mood strikes you.

For example, you might want to drive out to Matanuska Glacier just for the beauty of the area--that's about 1 hr. east of Palmer. Or you might decide to drive part of scenic Denali Hwy (I believe GAH allows you to do that, but check with them to be sure, since that is a gravel highway). If you have time, you could drive the whole way to Paxson and come back via Richardson and Glenn Highways. Or you might want to do a slight detour near Seward to Cooper Landing to do the 2 hr. easy hike to Russian River Falls (should see salmon jumping up the falls, might even see a bear there). You could stop in Girdwood to do part of Winner Creek Trail (if you enter from the Crow Creek Mine side of the trail, it's not that far to the hand tram over the gorge, which is neat!)

Enjoy the freedom that having an RV gives you!

Groveland, FL
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7. Re: Alaska RV Routes

Hubby and I were first time RVers last year as well. After much research (thanks to great people here at TA), we decided on renting from ABC Motorhome Rentals. They have an A+ rating with BBB. Their rates were slightly better than some of the other companies. We also got a discount for AAA and had a coupon in Tour Saver Book which saved quite a bit. We were happy with our choice of companies and have already reserved with them again for this year. I can't speak about other companies, but would recommend your taking a look at ABC when doing your research.

Enjoy your trip!

MI
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8. Re: Alaska RV Routes

I think we have narrowed down our trip and would like input

Day 1 arrive-pick up RV -get groceries and stay locally ie/ Walmart ?

Day 2 Anchorage to Talkeetna with stops for views in between - overnight in Talkeetna ? flightseeing(depending on weather)

Day 3 Arrive Denali - explore front of park check into Savage River RV park. Get 3:2 tickets for bus tour and explore front of park

Day 4 Full Day bus tour- overnight at Savage

Day 5 additional hiking in am and back to Anchorage in the afternoon. Overnight in Anchorage(suggestion on where to stay?)

Day 6 Anchorage to Seward for a Kenai Fjords tour. Thoughts on Kenai Northwestern Fjords Tour 9 vs other tours? This is the tour I'm not sure about. We want both glaciers anf wildlife.

Overnight in Seward

Day 7 Free day to explore Seaward/surrounding area. Thought on visiting Coopers Landing

Day 8 Ice Hiking Exit Glacier

Day 9 Return to Anchorage - return RV - explore Anchorage. Overnight in Anchorage 9 suggestions for hotel near airport for a very early flight home)

Day 10 fly home

fti
MN
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for Alaska
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9. Re: Alaska RV Routes

Thanks for posting your itinerary. And thanks for posting on the same thread you started - it really helps those of us reading to keep the focus of what you are doing.

I personally don't think you need a night in Talkeetna when driving from Anchorage to Denali, but it does give you a leisurely drive. And you can "detour" to Hatcher Pass/Independence Mine area with all that time.

Not sure of your reference to the "3:2 ticket." I think you mean buy 2 days, get three days of shuttle bus riding. You will only need shuttle bus tickets on Day 4 so no need for 3 for 2. Also, take "tour" out of your vocabulary for the Denali trip on Day 4. You really want "shuttle bus." It costs 1/3 of the Tundra Tour and goes further. Plus, you can get off and on at will to go hiking.

If you plan on the Northwestern Fjords tour, I would do that on Day 7. That way you don't have to rush on Day 6 to get to Seward so early. I took both the 6 and 9 hour tours with Kenai Fjords, but my reasoning was simple - 2 for 1 Toursaver coupons. I am glad Kenai Fjords had the Northwestern Fjord tour in Toursaver last year. This year they only had the 6 hour tour in that book.

I would consider spending the night of Day 5 south of Anchorage along Turnagain Arm. Williwaw campground is one option but there are others as well.

I am not sure what you consider a "very early" flight home. But personally I would pick my hotel in Anchorage based on price. A taxi from downtown to the airport is only +-$20 and takes under 1/2 hour. I know one person who just booked the Anchorage Hilton at a AAA rate for $104/night for next summer. If you do want to stay near the airport though, there are several options. Millenium and Courtyard come to mind but I know there are others.

John

Edited: 13 August 2010, 17:11
10. Re: Alaska RV Routes

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