We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Comments on my June 21-July 4 Alaskan Journey?

Hanover...
Level Contributor
25 posts
1 review
Save Topic
Comments on my June 21-July 4 Alaskan Journey?

Hi destination experts,

I have appreciated the collective wisdom and local color on these boards over the last year of planning for my upcoming trip to celebrate my Dad's 70th birthday. I have been lucky to visit AK a few times over the years including 2 previous cruises in SE AK and most recently an independent land trip before a cruise back in 2008. This time I wanted to visit some places I hadn't been to before and we wanted to return to Denali and spend a little more time there. I have a general sense of driving distances but was looking for a little advice in a few places on my itinerary. At this late stage I have lodging, air, rental car, major excursions booked but a couple of things i wanted to be flexible about so would be happy to hear your thoughts.

6/21 BOS to ANC on Delta arriving approx noon. Will pick up car 4th Ave Enterprise. Staying overnight Extended Stay Downtown. will shop for provisions, cooler etc. Nice dinner then call it a night.

6/22 Will drive Glenn Hwy to Richardson to Copper Center. Overnight Princess Copper Lodge. Want to spend time at Wrangell-St Elias visitor center. Is there time to visit Hatcher Pass/Independence Mine on the way or will this be too ambitious? We have some full days to come. And want a little down time at the Lodge too.

6/23 Drive to Chitina for 9AM flight to McCarthy. Staying overnight at Kenicott Glacier Lodge. Want to visit the mill and hike Root Glacier. Have not booked these excursions yet. Not sure if we should do this ahead of time or wait until arrival. Maybe the mill tour one day and the hike the next morning? Any issues waiting?

6/24 5pm flight on Wrangell Air back to Chitina then drive to Valdez, overnight Best Western.

6/25 Stan Stephens cruise, overnight Best Western.

6/26 Long day driving Richardson Hwy to Fairbanks. Want to enjoy this scenic drive. Any suggestions not to miss along the way. Is there time this day to drive in a bit on Denali Hwy (paved) or is this too much? Overnight Springhill Suites next few nights.

6/27 Local Fairbanks activities. Definitely UAF Museum, ? Riverboat Discovery ( I have a Toursaver book so some discounts there, will likely pass on El Dorado, no need to be trapped in a gift shop like fti LOL), ? Large Animal Research Station, pipeline viewing. And laundry!!

6/28 Barrow Adventure on Alaska Air. Really looking forward to this. Considered overnight trip but I think this will work fine. Late arrival back in Fairbanks, Springhill Suites.

6/29 Another day in Fairbanks, whatever we haven't done that appeals. Maybe North Pole, Chena Hot Springs, Salmon Bake etc.

6/30 Early start to Denali. At Denali Lakeview Inn next few nights. Want to drive to, hike near Savage River. Sled dog demo, visitor center etc. At some point rafting on Nenana. Is this an issue to not advance book. Again looking for a little flexibility but will hear advice on this.

7/1 Denali Shuttle to Wonder Lake, earliest one already scheduled.

7/2 Considering Disco hike or another shuttle. Haven't booked since you can't do this in advance and not sure if it will be something too strenuous for my Dad, what his energy level will be at this point. Could i pick up an Eilson shuttle if not fussy about time a day or two in advance? I know we are now dealing with a holiday weekend for locals.

7/3 ?rafting this morning or sled dog demo. will head back to Anchorage. Want to stop at Iditarod HQ in Wasilla, overnight Captain Cook.

7/4 Any recommendations for the 4th of July in Anchorage? Will keep the car most of the day, leave bags will bellhop at Cap'n Cook. My father is an aviation buff so maybe that museum or Lake Hood. ? Tony Knowles trail, maybe drive down Turnagain Arm a ways if weather is nice. (Stayed with friends in Girdwood years ago and have covered the Kenai Peninsula to Seward on other trips). Need to drop off car back at Enterprise at some point. Is it walkable from here back to the Captain Cook or do I need a taxi?

Check in 2 hours prior to 950 pm overnight flight home on Delta.

Sorry so long but this was useful for me to write down. Any thoughts, comments? Some things can't be altered obviously but if I need to book others or I am overly ambitious on activities, I ppreciate the feedback in advance.

Thanks,

Tricia

Healy, Alaska
Destination Expert
for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
Level Contributor
38,430 posts
45 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Comments on my June 21-July 4 Alaskan Journey?

Holidays don't matter to locals - really. Most Alaskans work all summer long, and few get holidays off. I would book that shuttle you aren't sure about, as you can work around it rather than getting to Denali and finding out that there aren't tickets available.

I would contact Denali Outdoor center and ask them if it is best to book ahead or not . . . just a thought!

While you are in Fairbanks, you might consider walking around Creamer's field - if you have a niche of time . . . and Hotlicks homemade ice cream as well! :)

Hanover...
Level Contributor
25 posts
1 review
Save Reply
2. Re: Comments on my June 21-July 4 Alaskan Journey?

Thanks coalminer. You are probably right about the shuttle and if I did decide on a Disco hike, I wonder if they would just apply the fare to that, not a large amount of money in the grand scheme of things. And that's a crime if Alaskans can't enjoy a summer holiday too! But I get it. I work in healthcare so spend many holidays at a hospital while others are enjoying themselves.

I've not read about Creamer's field. What is that? I'm game for homemade ice cream!

Tricia

Healy, Alaska
Destination Expert
for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
Level Contributor
38,430 posts
45 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Comments on my June 21-July 4 Alaskan Journey?

Here is info on Creamers field:

fairbanks-alaska.com/creamers-dairy.htm They have a few nature trails which are a nice walk.

Not related at all - Hotlicks info:

http://www.hotlicks.net/

Oh Alaskan's don't do so bad on holidays - it is just that many jobs are seasonal, so the summer time is the time to work. Ask how many spend part of their winters in Hawaii or Mexico or other exotic locales. :)

Las Vegas, Nevada
Level Contributor
3,796 posts
11 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Comments on my June 21-July 4 Alaskan Journey?

What a great trip!

If you get a decent start out of Anchorage I don't see why you couldn't stop by Independence Mine for a quick look around. I thought driving the Glenn was quicker than the Richardson.

I really enjoyed the Richardson Hwy drive; lots of stops to enjoy the scenery. That last hour as you drop down into Valdez is quite spectacular with the Worthington Glacier, canyon and the waterfalls. Check out the museum and old Valdez.

Be sure to stop at Rikka's Roadhouse near Delta Junction. It's a lovely setting with interesting displays, tools and equipment from the early 1900's and a great story about a strong pioneer woman.

We enjoyed El Dorado Gold Mine. I thought it was quite interesting and fun. We weren't 'trapped' in the gift shop; since we aren't shoppers we walked around the grounds looking at the sluice box and old equipment around the property while we waited for the ride back. I've heard good things about the Riverboat trip but seeing pictures of the crowds turned me off. In hindsight we probably should have gone. Next time I guess. Pioneer Park is another spot we didn't have time for but looked interesting. Didn't care for North Pole.

Have a great trip! carol

Edited: 12 May 2011, 04:14
Hanover...
Level Contributor
25 posts
1 review
Save Reply
5. Re: Comments on my June 21-July 4 Alaskan Journey?

Thanks Carol for the input. I'm sure we will get an early start out of Anchorage since our body clocks will be on EST. I know we will fly back to Chitina at about 630 pm and then still have the drive to Valdez from there. Good thing the days are long this time of year. We'll hopefully enjoy it more on the drive back up the Richardson en route to Fairbanks.

Tricia

New England
Level Contributor
1,682 posts
258 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Comments on my June 21-July 4 Alaskan Journey?

If you know that you want to do the Root Glacier hike and the mill tour while in Kennicott, why not go ahead and book now? We have already booked both for our trip in mid July. I was unsure about which order to do them based on our flight times so contacted the folks at St Elias Guides. They were helpful in helping us choose which would work best for us.

Hanover...
Level Contributor
25 posts
1 review
Save Reply
7. Re: Comments on my June 21-July 4 Alaskan Journey?

Thanks that makes sense. Guess I was concerned about weather issues and flight cancellation on either day. I'll at least check with them on their cancellation policy.

Tricia

haines, alaska
Destination Expert
for Haines
Level Contributor
7,038 posts
33 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Comments on my June 21-July 4 Alaskan Journey?

Tricia, what a wonderfully thought out itnenerary.......how refreshing to see a plan where someone has taken the initiative to do their homework and does not have unrealistic expectations.......you're bound to have a great time !!.....looking forward to your trip report, as you have included a few places I have been wanting to go.........

fti
MN
Destination Expert
for Alaska
Level Contributor
15,310 posts
27 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Comments on my June 21-July 4 Alaskan Journey?

I like your itinerary. Just a few thoughts:

>>6/22 Is there time to visit Hatcher Pass/Independence Mine on the way or will this be too ambitious?

It might be a little ambitious, but I think it would be 90 minutes to 2 hours max off the Glenn Highway including some time looking at the mine buildings.

>>6/23 Drive to Chitina for 9AM flight to McCarthy. Staying overnight at Kenicott Glacier Lodge. Want to visit the mill and hike Root Glacier. Have not booked these excursions yet. Not sure if we should do this ahead of time or wait until arrival. Maybe the mill tour one day and the hike the next morning? Any issues waiting?

I would check with St. Elias Guides about scheduling. I could have easily done both in one day (but I was there the entire day) and kind of regretted not doing both (since we stayed in McCarthy, it meant another trip to Kennicott just for the mill tour). Note that St. Elias Guides probably has a Root Glacier hike coupon in Toursaver again (double check) and they are the ones operating the mill tour.

>>6/25 Stan Stephens cruise, overnight Best Western.

Check toursaver. Probably just a Columbia Glacier tour, but you can apply that discount to the Columbia/Meares Glacier tour, which is better if you want to see a calving glacier.

>>6/30 Early start to Denali. At Denali Lakeview Inn next few nights. Want to drive to, hike near Savage River. Sled dog demo, visitor center etc. At some point rafting on Nenana. Is this an issue to not advance book. Again looking for a little flexibility but will hear advice on this.

Drive the first 15 miles of the park road this day and pick up your shuttle tickets at the WAC this day.

>>7/2 Considering Disco hike or another shuttle. Haven't booked since you can't do this in advance and not sure if it will be something too strenuous for my Dad, what his energy level will be at this point. Could i pick up an Eilson shuttle if not fussy about time a day or two in advance? I know we are now dealing with a holiday weekend for locals.

I would book the shuttle to Eielson. Then when you arrive on 30 June, check out the Disco hikes that are offered for this day. If one "fits" (some are moderate, others are strenuous), then you can use your Eielson shuttle bus ticket on the Disco bus (if you notice online, the Disco hike bus ticket costs the same as Eielson...for a reason. With the Disco hike, you are basically buying an Eielson ticket and the ranger leading the hike usually encourages you to continue to Eielson after the hike).

>>7/4 Any recommendations for the 4th of July in Anchorage?

Most likely there is a parade that day, and maybe fireworks at midnight the night before or tonight. Do a google search. I haven't been in Anchorage for July 4th, but most Alaska town do a bang-up job for this day.

>>Will keep the car most of the day, leave bags will bellhop at Cap'n Cook. My father is an aviation buff so maybe that museum or Lake Hood. ? Tony Knowles trail, maybe drive down Turnagain Arm a ways if weather is nice.

All are great ideas. I personally like the Turnagain Arm drive, but as an aviation buff I like going to Lake Hood too and just watching the planes.

John

Bristol, Connecticut
Destination Expert
for Alaska
Level Contributor
4,506 posts
27 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Comments on my June 21-July 4 Alaskan Journey?

There will be breakfast on the Delaney Park Strip and fireworks on the 4th in Anchorage, also a parade. At 1159 pm on the 3rd there will be fireworks in Eagle River along with entertainment and food at Lion's Park.