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RV itinerary planning

Blackpool, United...
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RV itinerary planning

Our RV is now booked and I’m starting to put an itinerary together – I’ve read lots of links and trip reports but have a few specific questions.

1. We pick up our RV from GAH in Anchorage on 31 Aug about 4pm (flight lands at 14.40 so I’m allowing time for getting there & orientation). Next stop will be for provisions etc – where do folks recommend?

2. As this is a Saturday and I believe Labor Day weekend, where should we aim to stay that night? We will have flown in from Juneau so jet-lag won’t be a problem, but I’m guessing we’ll need to book in somewhere soon. In Anchorage or outside?

3. We have the RV until Sept 12th and want to visit Denali, Fairbanks, Seward & Kenai. I think we’ll probably need to book ahead for Denali, but will we need to for the rest at this time of year?

4. Which way do folks think would make most sense first? We’d like autumn colours in Denali but less rain if that can be ordered please!

5. Is it best to stay in the park at Denali or is outside OK? We are aiming for 2 or 3 nights there.

6. We like water and mountain scenery, wildlife and birds plus history, but sadly hubby’s knee will not allow long hikes. Is there anywhere else we should consider going?

A lot of questions I know, but thanks in advance to anyone who can help.

USA
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1. Re: RV itinerary planning

You have all kinds of choices for groceries along the Seward Hwy from GAH, depending if you are going north first or south.

Northern Lights Fred Meyers must be accessed from Benson or Seward Hwy since Northern Lights is one way at the Seward:

…yahoo.com/info-22364278-fred-meyer-anchorage

You will pass it going north from GAH.

I would probably go north to Denali first, to avoid the labor day seward highway traffic.

In Denali I highly recommend staying at one of the 3 RV campgrounds in the park.

Your choice are:

1. Riley Creek Campground at the entrance

close to wifi, lattes, laundry, cell service, showers, cones at Riley Mercantile

Adjacent to entrance area trail system

Can drive or even walk 2 miles to restaurants

Get on free Savage loop shuttle to Savage River trail system, especially 2 mile Savage Loop trail

short walking distance to visitor center, bookstore & park cafe

take shuttle to dog sled demo & dog yard

2. Savage River Campground at mile 14

right on river with new trail system

can see mountain from campground or river when out

can drive back to entrance activities or take free shuttle from bus stop

can drive out for restaurants

can take shuttle back to dog sled demo & dog yard

3. Teklanika Campground at mile 30

Best deal in the park is TEK pass, buy 1 shuttle pass for usage entire stay

Miss 60 miles of RT travel from entrance

Must reserve for 3 nights

Cannot drive out until ready to leave for good

Great location for hikers to easily access the park

Blackpool, United...
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2. Re: RV itinerary planning

Great info denalicat, and exactly what I needed. Thank you!

I got bogged down on the Denali NPS website trying to decide which site would be best and you've summed them up perfectly. Teklanika sounds good, and the TEK pass is great value so I think that will be our plan.

Any ideas about where we should stay for the first night ie. Sat 31 Aug? I see its about a 7-8hr drive to Denali, plus the miles to Teklanika so should we plan to go about half way next day?

California
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3. Re: RV itinerary planning

We stayed at Eklutna Lake not too far from Anchorage and absolutely loved it! Gorgeous spot, and uncrowded.

As for reservations, we RVd last July. We had a reservation for our first night at Williwaw and the two nights at Riley Creek. Other than that, we didn't have any and didn't need them. Riley Creek was sold out when we got there and there were some unhappy people trying to find a spot!

USA
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4. Re: RV itinerary planning

Leaving GAH at 4pm, stopping at Fred Meyers right up the New Seward take time, so you won't be leaving until probably 6 pm, eh?

Eklutna Lake was a great suggestion, just north of town. Eagle River Campground is another.

Then you could get a fresh start north in the morning.

Edited: 10 February 2013, 23:57
fti
MN
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5. Re: RV itinerary planning

It is only a +-5 hour drive from Anchorage to Denali, but the RV orientation takes time, then the shopping. So I would not plan on going too far. I like Eagle River myself, but maybe you can get further.

I like putting Denali at the front end of the itinerary. You really need reservations there, so go there first. Fall colors will be at or near peak. I like the idea of staying at Tek Campground in Denali. You need a three-night minimum there, but you could just leave after two nights. But three nights will only give you 2 full days in the park, so that is about right. With the fall colors, the scenery and the wildlife, I think three nights will be perfect.

So Aug 31 to Anchorage and Eagle River or ??

Sep 1 to Denali

Sep 2 Denali

Sep 3 Denali

Sep 4 to Fairbanks

Sep 5 Fairbanks

Sep 6 to Anchorage (7-8 hour drive) or maybe Girdwood

Then you have Sep 7 to Sep 12 for the Kenai Peninsula (I assume meant Kenai PENINSULA not the town of Kenai when you said Kenai). Without knowing what interests you in each place (including Fairbanks) it is hard to give you an itinerary that includes how long to stay in each place. With your interest in water, I would try to get on boat tours in Seward and/or Whittier and maybe even in Homer if you end up going there. Lots to do in the Girdwood area too - Portage, Byron Glacier, Begich Boggs Visitor Center, Wildlife Conservation Center, Winner Creek Trail and the hand tram, gold panning in the area and more.

Blackpool, United...
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6. Re: RV itinerary planning

That's great fti, thank you very much.

Denali sounds wonderful, especially with the autumn colours and I think we'll definitely make that our first port of call. I'll get on with booking that this week.

Yes, I did mean the Kenai peninsula; I've read bits about it but don't know exactly what we want to do there or in Fairbanks really - lots more research to do.

Someone mentioned the Gates of the Arctic NP - is it worth the drive north or should we confine ourselves to the Kenai given our time constraints? We'd like to see as much as possible but don't want to spend all day everyday just driving.

Bristol, Connecticut
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7. Re: RV itinerary planning

You can't get to gates of the Arctic by road, you would have to fly in from Fairbanks,Coldfoot or Bettles or you can hike in from Anaktuvik Pass. It is a beautiful park but it is completely undeveloped. No facilities, no roads and no trails. I would plan on 3 or 4 days for a visit and even then you would need to be prepared.

Another possibility to camp north of Anchorage your first night is Nancy Lakes South Rolly Campground, it is a bit further north and will get you on your way to Denali earlier. I do think Eklutna Lake is beautiful so if that works for you it is a great choice especially now that the road is paved the entire way there.

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8. Re: RV itinerary planning

NL South Rolly Campground is another good choice, spacefry, especially if they feel like pushing on. We really liked that campground when we stayed there.

Bristol, Connecticut
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9. Re: RV itinerary planning

I love South Rolly especially if I can get waterfront property, then I can dock a canoe right at my site.

Blackpool, United...
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10. Re: RV itinerary planning

Thanks spacefry - I obviously hadn't done enough research on Gates of Arctic! We won't have time to go there, and it would be a waste of RV time too so we'll pass on that one.

The sites you all mentioned look lovely, just our sort of place - when we caravan in the UK we always try to go for smaller sites in nice places. Decisions, decisions......

I'm sure I'll be back with more questions as planning progresses but for now thanks very much to everyone.