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.
7/4 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.