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Seward VS. Cordova VS. Denali

Marina del Rey...
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Seward VS. Cordova VS. Denali

My Husband and I are traveling for the 1st time to Alaska this summer. End of June to early July. So far we plan to fly into Anchorage and head to the Silver Salmon Lodge (outside of Soldotna) for 2 nights. After, we are trying to decide what to prioritize. We are thinking of spending 2 nights in Seward and 2 nights in Cordova with 2 nights at the end of the trip for either Denali or Girdwood. We realize this may be an fast itinerary, and we may have to eliminate either Seward or Cordova or Denali. Has anyone been to all of these areas? What are your thoughts? We are early 40's into photography.

Thanks for your Help.

Lake Tahoe...
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1. Re: Seward VS. Cordova VS. Denali

The main reason people go to Cordova is to visit Childs Glacier. But, the road is closed and no sense going there. Cordova is reachable by air from Anchorage or ferry from Whittier and no roads go there. Can't understand why you can't decide between Seward and Denali. If it were me I would forget Soldotna and go to Seward and Denali.. Every time we drive to Anchorage we pass through Soldotna and only stop for a pit stop and get gas.

Healy, Alaska
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for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
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2. Re: Seward VS. Cordova VS. Denali

Well, I can understand the fishing in Soldotna and you already have that booked. I would forgo Cordova, and go to Seward for 2 nights and then Denali for the rest. :)

Edited: 12 June 2012, 22:05
Anchorage, Alaska
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3. Re: Seward VS. Cordova VS. Denali

If you are fishing, I understand having Soldotna. I too would skip Cordova and keep Seward & Denali.

fti
MN
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for Alaska
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4. Re: Seward VS. Cordova VS. Denali

Been to all three. As others have said, skip Cordova and go to Seward and Denali. Just getting to Cordova will take you a day each way, plus with the bridge out, it really is not worth going. With the photography interest, Denali and Seward are no brainers. Be sure to take a Kenai Fjords trip of at least 6 hours or longer in Seward and get on the shuttle bus in Denali at least twice in order to have a much better chance of seeing wildlife up close.

Marina del Rey...
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5. Re: Seward VS. Cordova VS. Denali

Thank you all for your quick responses. We will forgo Cordova and go to Seward (and take the WIlderness Cruise) and Denali. Just to let you know we are only headed to Soldotna to catch a plane to Lake Clark National Park. Sorry should have been more specific. This frees up time so now we have an extra day to head to either Homer or Girdwood. Again I can't thank you enough.

fti
MN
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for Alaska
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6. Re: Seward VS. Cordova VS. Denali

In Alaska, less is more. Don't stretch urself too thin. You really need to spend a night between Seward and Denali. You never know how long the drive will take. If all goes well it might be 7-8 hours. But once it took me 8-1/2 hours just from Seward to Talkeetna. You never know.

Marina del Rey...
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7. Re: Seward VS. Cordova VS. Denali

Wow a long drive. I didn't realize that based on Google maps. Based on all your input this is what I am thinking:

Day1: Arrive in Anchorage drive to Soldotna

Day 2 & 3: Bear Viewing Lodge (booked already)

Day 4: Drive from Soldotna to Seward with a stop at Exit Glacier

Day 5: All day wildlife cruise from Seward

Day 6: Drive to whittier and take ferry to Valdez (Or drive straight to Denali)

Day 7: Drive from Valdez to Denali

Day 8: Bus Tour Denali

Day 9: Drive to Girdwood or Anchorage relax!

Day 10: Day hike or bike ride Fly home

am I crazy?

fti
MN
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8. Re: Seward VS. Cordova VS. Denali

A little crazy. I guess you are wanting to take the time and cost of the ferry just to drive the Glenn Highway for scenery?

You will have driven along Turnagain Arm to Girdwood on Day 1 so I am not sure why you would repeat that again on Day 9.

I would not take a bus "tour" of Denali on Day 8. Take a shuttle bus. Tour buses cost a lot more, don't go as far into the park and you don't get off tour buses like you can shuttle buses.

Be sure the tour on Day 5 is at least 6 hours long.

Adirondack, New York
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9. Re: Seward VS. Cordova VS. Denali

I too visited all three areas and many times hence I concluded you just don't have time to follow your final (?) itinerary which IMHO is a little insane. I suggest you forget about taking the ferry from Whittier to Valdez. The way you planned you have only time to sleep in Valdez and then you would need to leave for Denali early in the morning. Besides if you think a drive from Seward to Denali is long then keep in mind that Valdez to Denali is longer. Instead you can drive from Seward to the Hatcher Pass or Talkeetna area for your overnight stay. Add one night to Denali. Spend day 9 in Denali and drive to Anchorage on day 10.

BTW, you definitely have no time to travel to Cordova but I disagree that there is nothing to do in Cordova besides the Childs Glacier. Cordova is a hidden paradise for hikers. The trails are well maintained, boardwalks through rain forest are covered in mesh, some trails take hikers to other glaciers or views of glaciers and many trails have breathtaking views on those clear non-rainy days. To reach majority of trails hikers do not need to travel beyond mile 36 where the bridge is closed.

Lake Tahoe...
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10. Re: Seward VS. Cordova VS. Denali

places - that's fine on Cordova if hiking is your thing, otherwise there would be no reason. I'm not down playing getting out on the trails; it's just not everyone's thing. There are some out there along in age where long hikes are difficult.

I would not make a special trip to Girdwood as it is along the way south of Anchorage.

To go to Denali from Seward via the ferry to Valdez is expensive and loss of time, unless you just want a ferry ride. We are doing a similar trip next month but only to Talkeetna, with two nights at Sheep Mountain along the way. We are Alaskans are trying to appreciate more of what we have up here.