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Draft trip plan, two part trip

Detroit, Michigan
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Draft trip plan, two part trip

We scrapped our original plans and are now doing a two part trip.

The first part we are flying in August to ANC (6pm,day 0) then have 14 days on the ground, return the following day (15). We would rent a car.

We would like to fish in Seward, do a Kenai Park all day cruise, kayak somewhere, see bears, possibly do another cruise/tour through PWS to see more glaciers. We are also looking at Denali and trying to decide how many days to spend in that area.

The second part (TBD, possibly 2014) we are driving up through the Canada, taking some time through the Canadian Rockies/Jasper/Banff then visiting Whitehorse , Haines, possibly glacier bay area.

the rough draft for part one:

Friday 0 -arrive in ANC, stay ANC

Sat 1 - drive to Denali area or maybe find a tour /rail package (or stay in ANC, drive to Denali area Sunday)

Sun 2- day in Denali, stay Denali (or Talkeetna)

Mon 3- day in Denali, stay Denali (or Talkeetna)

Tues 4- Drive to Homer, Stay Homer

Weds 5- (Kayak?), stay Homer

Thurs 6- (see bears?), stay Homer

Fri 7- Drive to Seward, stop at Exit Glacier on way, stay Seward

Sat 8- Glacier Cruise, stay Seward

Sun 9- fishing, Saltwater Lodge, stay Seward

Mon 10- Drive to Whittier, take Ferry to Valdez, arrive 7:30, stay Valdez (lodging suggestions?) or drive to Chitina?

Tues 11- Fly into Wrangell Ellis park, stay in park

Weds 12- Park tour, stay in park

Thurs 13- Fly back to Chitina, Drive towards ANC, do Matanuska glacier tour, stay ?

Fri 14-

Sat 15 - fly home

so right now I have Fri 14 empty, what place would be better to add an extra day to? Spend more time driving ANC to homer and spend a night along the way? Gridwood area maybe?

Any suggestions for a Wilderness Lodge (all inclusive type) on the Kenai Peninsula?

Edited: 05 October 2011, 15:36
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Homer, AK
Healy, Alaska
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for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
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1. Re: Draft trip plan, two part trip

Itineraries are not my gift, but here is what I will add:

Rent a car for your entire trip - you will appreciate the flexibility. Rent it asap for the lowest rates.

If you want to stay in Talkeetna, do that as you head north to Denali.

You will not want to drive from Denali to Homer - too long of a drive. Think of stopping somewhere in btw to break that up -maybe Hatcher Pass?

The rest I will leave to the itinerary experts! :)

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Detroit, Michigan
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2. Re: Draft trip plan, two part trip

yep, I am working on a car rental now. I noticed that one had 'do not take car on ferry' Is this common for a lot of the car rentals?

Since posting this I have looked more into Denali and we are considering staying at North Face Lodge, this would alter our schedule since they only do fixes arrivals

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Sunriver, Oregon
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3. Re: Draft trip plan, two part trip

I have done this area several times, ususallly by motorhome, recommend it.

We found one day at Denali enough. A few hours at Talkeetna, great stop but you see it all quickly Denali to Homer is too far for a one day drive. Two lane roads, busy traffic.

Consider Halibut fishing in Homer, great place. You can do a fly out fishing/ bear viewing trip at Soldotna, Talon Airservice.

No need to stop at Exit glacier you can do it the same day as the Glacier tiour. it's right outside of town. Fishing at Seward can be excellent, book early to get best boats.

There should be no issues with cars on the ferry, we took a 24 foot motorhome on it.

Feel free to send me a Message with your email address and I will give you many recommedations of things we have done, and names of outfitteres etc. We have done 2 two week trips and 8 under one week trips.

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Detroit, Michigan
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4. Re: Draft trip plan, two part trip

msg sent, thanks!

Healy, Alaska
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5. Re: Draft trip plan, two part trip

I may be biased, but I don't think one day in Denali is enough. It would only allow for one bus trip into the park. There is also the doggie demo, rafting, hiking and a myriad of other ways to enjoy the park area, which would require more time. :)

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Denali
Denali
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Denali National Park and Preserve, AK
Atlanta, Georgia
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6. Re: Draft trip plan, two part trip

At Exit glacier you can hike up to the icefield. It's up but well worth a hike. Maybe 4 hours up and back. Been awhile since we were there.

Also Halibut fishing out on Resurrectuion Bay (Seward) is close by. Jimmy Cee on a 6 pack did a great job for us. Bonus. You pass the same sights that the Bay Tour company shows. Eg. same sea lions, same glaciers, eagles and a few whales... And you get a couple of halibut to boot.

Unless stings have changed....Be aware you can only drive abit into Denali on your own and need to take the NPS bus past a certain point. We had planned Denali for a day and found no space available on the NPS bus into the park (bummer) and drove as far as allowed ourselves.

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Seward
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Denali
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Healy, Alaska
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7. Re: Draft trip plan, two part trip

Yes, it is always advisable to have your shuttle bus reserved as soon as you have your travel dates locked in. :)

Las Vegas, Nevada
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8. Re: Draft trip plan, two part trip

Talkeetna is only a 20 minute detour off the hwy so if you want to flightsee or just visit, it's an easy stop on the way to Denali. If the weather isn't good you can try again on the return drive.

As everyone has said Denali-Homer would make for a very long day and leaves you no time for any stops. No point in going all the way to Alaska just to speed past the sights and scenery in your car! I'd suggest going as far as Girdwood, about 1 hr beyond Anchorage. Maybe stay at the Alyeska Resort. That would give you the time to enjoy stops along the Turnagain Arm in the evening and the next morning as you head to Homer ( 4 hrs away). If you get a early start you could kayak in the afternoon or evening.

You might also consider kayaking is Seward. I've read from past travellers that the water taxi trip to the glacier doubles as a Kenai cruise since it covers the same territory. That would allow you to ombine 2 activities in 1 day.

Unless you have specific interest in seeing Homer, I agree with the PP who said you can do day trips for bear viewing out of Soldotna.

I would overnight in Valdez. It's a nice little harbor town. I felt like it was more of a "working" harbor whereas Seward was more "touristy". If you have good weather the drive out of Valdez is quite stunning with the waterfalls, canyon river, and Worthington Glacier.

If fishing is important to you, be sure your visit coincides with a salmon run!

Sounds like a busy trip but not overly so, since you have multiple nights in a few places.

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McCarthy, Alaska
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9. Re: Draft trip plan, two part trip

Hi!

Looks like a fun itinerary. I'm biased, but I think reasonably so, and I would spend your extra day(s) in Wrangell-St. Elias and/or Valdez, and skip the Matanuska. The Root Glacier in Kennecott is a better place to do a hike or climb (more amazing features easily accessible), and just about everyone who spends just one day/night in McCarthy/Kennecott wishes they had spend longer. At the very least you'll want to get out on the glacier and inside the Kennecott Mill. Amazing stuff!

I also agree with spending the night in Valdez, and if you can make it two nights I would highly recommend sea kayaking there. There aren't as many tourists as there are anywhere on the Kenai and the scenery is magnificent. I would highly recommend going to the Columbia Glacier with Pangaea Adventures. Shoup Glacier is great too.

There's no great lodging options in Valdez, but I think the Mountain Suites Hotel has the nicest rooms, and the Valdez Harbor Inn Best Western has the best location (right on the harbor) and a great restaurant attached. There are some nice B&Bs as well, but I can't keep track of what's open and good at any given time!

I hope that helps, and please let me know if you have any further questions regarding Wrangell-St. Elias and/or Prince William Sound.

Gaia M

St. Elias Alpine Guides

McCarthy, Alaska

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10. Re: Draft trip plan, two part trip

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