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Talkeetna/Denali vs. Kenai Peninsula in late May

C R
New York
2 posts
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Talkeetna/Denali vs. Kenai Peninsula in late May

If I can only do one or the other in late May, which should I do: Talkeetna/Denali or the Kenai Peninsula?

I am disembarking an Inside Passage cruise in Juneau on May 18, and would then fly from Juneau to Anchorage. For post-cruise, I am wondering:

-- If I can only do one or the other, which would be more worthwhile in terms of sightseeing: Talkeetna (to see Denali) or Kenai Peninsula?

-- How different will the scenery on the Kenai Peninsula be from things I will see on the Inside Passage cruise? I am not looking to fish or do any other Kenai-specific activities other than day hiking and possibly day cruises if its likely I'll see something that I have not seen on my Inside Passage cruise.

-- Is Denali sufficiently spectacular to take the risk of heading up to Talkeetna given the possibility for weather that socks in the mountain? (I am not planning to head all the way up to the NP, given that the Park Road to Eielson VC will not be open until June 1, and my goal is to see the mountain.)

I can only do one or the other given time and cost constraints.

Las Vegas, Nevada
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1. Re: Talkeetna/Denali vs. Kenai Peninsula in late May

Personally after spending a week visiting coastal communities and viewing coastal scenery, I'd prefer to see a different side of Alaska. I'd drive to Denali and take a shuttle to Toklat in order to see the wonderful scenery and wildlife, with a stop in Talkeetna on the way up/back for flightseeing. Seeing the mountain isn't the priority for me .. I love the scenery and wildlife in the park.

Edited: 03 March 2013, 22:37
Anchorage, Alaska
Destination Expert
for Anchorage
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2. Re: Talkeetna/Denali vs. Kenai Peninsula in late May

I'm confused when i read your post; do you plan on only heading to Talkeetna to see Denali in the distance or do you plan to go all the way to the park?

Tks

USA
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9,465 posts
44 reviews
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3. Re: Talkeetna/Denali vs. Kenai Peninsula in late May

Go all the way into Denali National Park or not at all is my humble advise. Take the shuttle to Toklat. Lots of chances that early time of year to see wildlife, especially the tiny babies.

If the mountain is out, & we see it a bit in May, you can see it from Anchorage if that is all you want to do.

Whichever you decide upon, we will be glad to help!

Bridgewater
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798 posts
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4. Re: Talkeetna/Denali vs. Kenai Peninsula in late May

Have you ever seen a gigantic mountain before? I hadn't, so I was totally in awe when I first saw Denali. I thought it was breath taking and is one of those memories that lives on in my mind. And I still continue to be amazed by the size and colors Everytime I see it. However, my friend in Montana, who has also seen the alps, went 'yea, that's nice' and continued on. For me, I would head up North, if only to Talkeetna. My friend would head south.

Edited: 04 March 2013, 13:21
C R
New York
2 posts
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5. Re: Talkeetna/Denali vs. Kenai Peninsula in late May

Thanks, all, for the quick and very helpful responses.

I think I will plan to head north on the basis of these responses. A follow-up question: how much more preferable would it be to have a car, vs. taking the train? I don't really love driving (can do it, but I live in NYC, so it is rare that I drive more than once a year) -- would taking the train be a critical limitation?

[I thought I posted this follow-up last night, but I don't see it here -- sorry for any duplication.]

Las Vegas, Nevada
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6. Re: Talkeetna/Denali vs. Kenai Peninsula in late May

The train is very limiting in that there is only ONE departure per day, and you'll be restricted to hotels which offer a shuttle service to/from the railroad station and to/from the Park. There is a list of those hotels on the Denali forum under Top Questions. The train schedule is:

Anc-Denali 8am - 4pm Denali - Anc 12:30 - 8pm

There is also the Park Connection Bus which has 2 departures a day and is a quicker ride:

www.alaskacoach.com

A car gives you more lodging choices plus it allows you make other stops along the way .. for wildlife, scenery or other points of interest. ie Talkeetna. I always recommend the Eklutna Spirit Houses and Orthodox church.

http://alaska.org/driving/denali-drive.htm

It's very easy to drive in Alaska ... once you get out of Anchorage the hwys are only 2 lanes and there are few of them so impossible to get lost.

I lived near NYC for several years ... I'd never consider driving in NYC !!! Alaska is a piece of cake. If you have a red-eye flight home, it's only a 5 hr drive back to Anchorage so easily do-able.

Edited: 04 March 2013, 17:52
7. Re: Talkeetna/Denali vs. Kenai Peninsula in late May

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