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July 2013 RV Travel Plan..suggestions?

Montana
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July 2013 RV Travel Plan..suggestions?

We are two couple in our late 30's early 40's that will be traveling in Alaska July 16th-31st, 2013. We are all outdoor and nature lovers, so we want to hike, see wildlife and scenic views, and visit a couple of breweries. We do have one fisherman in our group who would like to fish in some rivers. We have rented a 28' RV from GAH from the 16th to the 28th. From the 28th- 31st we will be staying in Seward at the Alaska Saltwater Inn.

July 16- Arrive Anchorage 10:45 pm, stay night in RV at GAH lot.

July 17- Buy groceries, maybe have lunch at a brewery, head towards Denali. Stay at Brushkana Campground on Denali Hwy (or boondock in area)

July 18- Allow fisherman to fish a bit, check out Denali Hwy. Head to Denali, go to Visitor’s Center, camp at Riley’s.

July 19- Drive to Tek campground in Denali for 3 night stay. Explore park. I can’t seem to find when check-in/check-out at Tek is.

July 22- Leave Tek, head to Fairbanks. Check out brewery, botanical garden. Stay at campground in or near Fairbanks.....suggestions?

July 23- Go to Chena Hot Springs, tour geothermal greenhouse, ice museum. Stay there or nearby campground.....suggestions?

July 24-27- Open to drive back towards Anchorage via Richardson Hwy or Alaska Hwy/Tok (Maybe check out Valdez) Any suggestions?

July 28- Pick up rental car and drop off RV in morning. Check out Anchorage Botanical Garden, visit another brewery. Drive to Seward, arrive by dinner time.

July 29-30- Take either a wildlife cruise or kayak trip out of Seward one day, and hike somewhere in the area the other day(Exit Glacier?)

July 31- Leave Seward in morning, flight leaves Anchorage at 3:30pm.

Should we move our Denali time to the end of our RV time to avoid Denali on the weekend? Didn’t know if that mattered, I assume Denali is busy this time of year whether it is the weekend or not. We would like to stay in campgrounds that have fishing or hiking if possible. Also any recommendations for hikes would be appreciated. I recently discovered that I am allergic to fish. Recommendation of restaurants in Seward for a non-fish eater.

Thanks for your help in advance!! I never plan a trip without help from the experts of the tripadvisor forums!

USA
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1. Re: July 2013 RV Travel Plan..suggestions?

Check in/out of all Denali campgrounds 11 am.

nps.gov/dena/planyourvisit/campgrounds.htm

We like to take a looooong time driving in to Tek, stopping to scope with our binoculars for animals, taking pictures, etc. Mile 9 often moose at lake & views of the mountain. Mile 15 Savage river loop trail is wonderful. Park & hike easy 2 mile loop. Look for dall sheep in rocks & marmots back by bridge.

Of course, get the TEK shuttle passes, best deal around

Glacier Brew in Anchorage is one of the best. You can also get growlers to go for your trip! . Moosestooth in Anchorage has fantastic brew & the best pizza.

Alaska Ale (out of Juneau) is in the stores & A+. ;)

For hikes in Denali, go to the Denali forum & look at the top 3 questions. Lots of ideas there.

Harding Ice Field is a hardy hike by Exit glacier at Seward.

Primrose trail just north of Seward is a lovely hike.

Montana
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2. Re: July 2013 RV Travel Plan..suggestions?

Thanks denalicat for all the great tips and suggestions!! I must of somehow overlooked the hikes in Denali on the Denali forum, but I will check it out!

USA
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3. Re: July 2013 RV Travel Plan..suggestions?

Here's directions for Primrose trail. Just a short hike on it is nice, although it goes to one of the most beautiful lakes in Alaska, Lost Lake:

www.alaskahikesearch.com/Hikes/LostLake.htm

This is a great website for hiking in southcentral:

www.alaskahikesearch.com/search_hikes.htm

Come back with questions after you read about the Denali hikes.

Ike Waits Denali Guide Book is well-worth the $22 for those planning lots of hiking:

http://www.denaliguidebook.com/

At Tek Campground, in the evening follow the river east toward the entrance a short distance to climb an overlook to scout for animals. Archaeological remnants of native peoples have been found around there.

My favorite thing to do at Tek is to get out to the bridge early morning with my coffee mug, before the buses to look for animals. I've seen lynx there on several occasions!

Montana
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4. Re: July 2013 RV Travel Plan..suggestions?

denalicat.......you must of been reading my mind.......I was just going to ask you if you could recommend a good hiking book! I am going to order it today, and I am sure I will have questions after I have a chance to look through the guide.

Any thoughts on Denali Brewing Co's food and beer?

Anchorage, Alaska
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for Anchorage
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5. Re: July 2013 RV Travel Plan..suggestions?

Make sure you take the time to review the online hiking resource posted above. It really is a good reference.

www.alaskahikesearch.com/search_hikes.htm

Healy, Alaska
Destination Expert
for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
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6. Re: July 2013 RV Travel Plan..suggestions?

Weekends really don't matter within Denali Park so don't be worried there, but I do see a huge difference in weekend traffic and campgrounds south of here.

There is also the 49th Brewery in Healy and Silvergulch in the Fairbanks area - just so you know. Both have good food. :)

Montana
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7. Re: July 2013 RV Travel Plan..suggestions?

Thanks everyone! I am working on our Denali reservations right now(campgrounds and Tek passes), but I am sure I will have more questions as I go along!

Alberta, Canada
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8. Re: July 2013 RV Travel Plan..suggestions?

T122ger, I hope you don't mind if I interject with a question. Hopefully it may help others too.

I have looked on alaskahikesearch and thought I had hikes picked out which we could do part of. Now I am questioning myself. I know that is not the best as you miss the climax.

We are looking for moderate hikes about 5-6 miles round?

Would Crow Pass out of Girdwood be still nice if only doing first part?

Which one on the Turnagain Arm would work best? McHugh to Rabbit Lake is 7 miles but do you get some good scenery at 3 miles in?

Reed Lakes?

USA
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9. Re: July 2013 RV Travel Plan..suggestions?

Gold Mint Lake up at Hatcher Pass is a shorter, easier, beautiful hike.

I'm not so sure about going back Archangel Rd to Reed Lk trailhead with a rental car.

One does get views up McHugh toward Rabbit Lk without going all the way up but it's slow going up.

Even just the Turnagain trail south from McHugh picnic area parking one can get some views.

One could also climb a bit up Bird Ridge trail to get the views without going all the way. Time it with a bore tide & it's a magnificent spot from which to watch!

Crow Pass, as long as you start up the switchbacks to get the views back down the valley.

Powerline pass trail up at Glen Alps has beautiful panoramic views and one can turn around anytime.

Of course, read up on all these to make sure they are your skill level.

It is hard for even those of us who have hiked these trails many, many times to remember exactly how far up one must go to get the views!

Chugiak, Alaska
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10. Re: July 2013 RV Travel Plan..suggestions?

I can help out with the Crow Pass question. Yes, going three miles in will get you right to where I ended my hike. Here are pics of it so you can see exactly what you'll be getting:

flickr.com/photos/…

We may have gone 3.5 miles in or so, but definitely not four. It's steep at the beginning- lots of uphill but it's switchbacks which are infinitely easier on bad knees than straight up. It is a bit of a drive getting back there, but I don't remember the road being too bad.

I agree with denalicat on the Reed Lakes drive to get back there. It's very, very potholed road and frankly, I found the hike to be less impressive than other hikes in that area. Here's some pics of that hike, though they were taken in the Fall, so a bit different scenery:

flickr.com/photos/…

I have a friend with a bad hip that requires hikes less than 6 miles and it can be a bit difficult to get good hikes in that short distance that also have a nice payoff. I personally like the hike up Rendezvous Peak starting at Arctic Valley:

flickr.com/photos/…

www.alaskahikesearch.com/Hikes/Rendezvous.htm

It's about a mile without much up hill and then a lot of steep uphill to get to the top. You don't have to go to the top to have a great hike and nice views, but it's definitely worth it.

Rabbit Lake from the DeArmoun side is a nice 4 miles out, 4 miles back hike without too much uphill (slight uphills- not steep stuff).

flickr.com/photos/…

You didn't find it on the Alaska Hike Search because they judge the miles from McHugh instead of DeArmoun trailhead.

alaskahikesearch.com/Hikes/McHugh_Rabbit.htm

Edited: 21 January 2013, 02:27