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Alaska or Canadian Rockies

Phoenix, Arizona
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Alaska or Canadian Rockies

I have been to virtually all of the major national parks in the Western US, many of them multiple times. Last year I had the opportunity to spend some time in Glacier, an absolutely incredible park. While I was there I made a brief visit to Banff and Jasper National Parks, which I thought were absolutely gorgeous and worthy of more extensive exploration.

I have never been to Alaska and am debating between going there next year or returning to the Canadian Rockies. Is there anything in Alaska quite as spectacular? If given the choice, is it worth the extra expense to go to Alaska? I have always wanted to do so but wonder if the scenery in the Rockies is superior. I would be interested in different opinions about this.

I love visiting national parks, enjoy day hiking and am particularly drawn to rugged, mountain landscapes. Would Alaska offer as much in this regard as the Rockies? (Don't care about the hotels, tourist services, etc....just the scenery). Thanks in advance!

Anchorage, Alaska
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1. Re: Alaska or Canadian Rockies

We've (wife & I) have been to both and think you're asking a question like would you like that million dollars in tens or twenties.... Both are great. Both have fantastic scenery and both have lots to do/see. Alaska is worth it!

I'd say if this is your only chance to get to Alaska, then go to Alaska (especially since it's easier/less expensive to travel in the lower 48).

Good luck with your decision,


haines, alaska
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2. Re: Alaska or Canadian Rockies

Glacier National Park is gorgeous indeed.....I have always wanted to go back there !!.....But to decide if the scenery in Alaska is what you really enjoy you should watch a few travelogs on Alaska and narrow down which type of scenery you would like to see.......Alaska is huge and the scenery is varied.....pick a region you would like to visit, research the climate for the time of year you plan on visiting and find out what type of activities are available then (hiking or kayaking, will it bother you to do that in the rain ??)......The new show on TLC called Sarah Palin's Alaska is showing some incredible film footage of the South Central part of Alaska and in future shows I'm hoping she will branch out to other regions, as well.....

Do a little homework and you should be able to decide if a trip to Alaska would be worth it to you......

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3. Re: Alaska or Canadian Rockies

Wow – that is a tough question.

A few years ago we drove through the Canadian Rockies from Jasper to Banff. My opinion, at the time, was that it was the most beautiful place I had seen. I can’t speak to the hiking or many other activities in that area. We did ride the Tramway in Jasper National Park, we rode the carry-all bus for a tour out to the Columbia icefield (this was expensive but, IMO, worth the price), husband and son kayaked on Moraine Lake, and the family went on a horseback ride near Banff. I would recommend all of those activities (except the horseback riding – but I don’t really like horseback riding). I would love to go back and spend more time in the area.

In June, 2009 we visited Alaska for 10 days. It would be difficult for me to say which was more spectacular – in terms in beautiful scenery. We did not ever see ‘The Mountain’ completely out. However, Denali National Park was beautiful, we were very fortunate to see a great variety of wildlife, and the glimpses of the mountain we did see only make one want to go back again. I think my favorite drive was the road to Seward. Again, absolutely beautiful. And Resurrection Bay with the surrounding mountains is awesome. (Our trip included Anchorage, Talkeetna, Denali National Park, Palmer, Seward, Whittier, and back to Anchorage.) I’m sure there are many other beautiful areas that we, unfortunately, didn’t have time to see.

I’m not sure I could choose between the two based on scenery.

However, our experience was that the wildlife sightings were much more plentiful in Alaska. We saw bear, moose, a lynx, caribou, a wolf, and many birds and small animals in Denali. Plus, on the boat tour out of Seward, the marine animals were amazing. Of course, wildlife sightings are the luck of the draw and we were very lucky. Seeing and hearing the glaciers as they move and calve into the ocean is also spectacular.

Those last two items would tip the balance in favor of Alaska for me. Either choice will be great! Good luck deciding.

South Florida...
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4. Re: Alaska or Canadian Rockies

What a difficult choice to make but all things considered I guess I would chose Alaska. Each year more and more people are visiting this beautiful state and because of the diverse landscapes you can experience almost everything. Do watch Sarah Palins travel show...I believe tomorrow she is visiting Homer and each Sunday will expose you to glimpses of various areas of the Alaskan scenery.

The Canadian Rockies are spectacular ~ you have been there so why not a new adventure?

As to expense if you rent your car FAR in advance you can get a great rate. Stay in B&B's to save a little, eat at the local cafes and ask residents for information as they are ore than happy to share. Personally I would not attempt to visit Alaska unless I had a minimum of two weeks... you can not imagine the vastness of this state.

Healy, Alaska
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for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
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5. Re: Alaska or Canadian Rockies

I spent two fabuous summers during my college years working and hiking in Glacier National Park - it is an amazing park. The St. Mary area actually reminds me a bit of Alaska and has a nickname of little Alaska. Seeing Glacier is like seeing a smaller/similar place . . . I do think Alaska is just that much more grander!! After living in Alaska and returning to Glacier one summer, I was disappointed on how small the glaciers seemed when compared to Alaska. If you like Glacier, I think you would love Alaska even more!

I think one of the key differences is accessibility. You can hike all over Glacier Park - into Canada even on well maintained trails, many that connect. Many scenic things you can drive right up to - that is often not the case in Alaska. You can spend weeks/months/years exploring Alaska and not see it all. Many popular places are accessible, but much of the state requires some effort to get to particular areas . . . so certain things aren't easy to get to like they are in Glacier or other areas of the Canadian Rockies.

I think you would really enjoy seeing the scenery and wildlife of Alaska! But you would have to realize that it would cost more, take more time and not be as easy as Glacier. Good luck! :)

New York City
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6. Re: Alaska or Canadian Rockies

Actually you could see both, and draw your own conclusions.

Fly to Edmonton or Calgary, give yourself about 3 weeks, drive one way, and ferry back to Prince Rupert the other way.


naples, fl
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7. Re: Alaska or Canadian Rockies

From another person who has been to both. Glacier was wonderful. Definitely among my top favorite parks. Alaska is both wonderful and way grander than Glacier. I think very hard to compare.

Can't decide for you, but I would hate to get to the end of my trip days, and wonder....Should I have gone to Alaska? Wonder what I missed?

For me, there was no way I was missing Alaska.

8. Re: Alaska or Canadian Rockies

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