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Early June Trip To AK

Williamsburg...
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Early June Trip To AK

My friend and I will be traveling to Alaska from May 31st through June 7th, flying in and out of ANC. I traveled to Anchorage and Barrow in June 2013 for work but my colleague was a bit of a buzzkill and wanted to stay in the hotel after getting off work at 4:30pm each day so the trip only whetted my appetite for Alaska. While there, I was able to hike Flattop Mountain and drive down to Beluga Point, and that was pretty much it.

We are 26 years old and both have high motors and are looking to take advantage of the long days and out youth to fit in as much as we can while also being realistic as far as times and hiking conditions. We will rent a car for the full week. I’ve got a rough itinerary outline together and was hoping I could get some input from some experienced Alaska travelers as to where we are being overly optimistic or unrealistic given the season. I have been watching the forums for tips and ideas of conditions but thought I needed more tailored advice if it was available. Will figure out lodging after activities have been lined up. We aren’t looking to do any camping, so all would have to be day-hikes.

May 31 Saturday

-Arrive at ANC 11pm

June 1 Sunday – June 3 Tuesday (3 days)

-Drive to Talkeetna

-Flightseeing Denali

-Flattop Mountain

-Eagle River Nature Center

-Biking Tony Knowles Coastal Trail

June 4 Wednesday – June 6 Friday (3 days)

-Drive to Seward

-Stopping at Beluga Point/other Seward hwy sights

-Portage glacier

-Exit Glacier/Harding Icefield Trail (Wondering about conditions on icefield trail. Would love to complete it all but wonder if that is realistic given early June. Would we be able to do in waterproof hiking boots and clothing or would we need snowshoes/is it worth trying at all? We are not experienced snow hikers, but I did hike Flattop when it was completely snow covered and I considered it very easy, but I know Harding Trail is much more difficult)

-Resurrection Bay Tour

June 7 Saturday

-Head back to ANC

-Depart at 4pm

Items listed are the major sights we are hoping to see, so if there is room for anything else you feel we would enjoy, please add suggestions or let us know if anything above might be stretching it as far as time. 3 days in Anchorage and 3 in Seward is the general plan, but if there is anything else nearby that is worth shifting a day around for, we’re open to suggestions. Thanks!

Duluth, Minnesota
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1. Re: Early June Trip To AK

Personally, with only a week in AK, I'd devote about as much time to Anchorage as it takes to drive to and from the airport!

I'd suggest splitting your time between Denali and the Kenai peninsula...Seward for sure, but also Cooper Landing area, and a trip to Homer.

Maybe we'll pass you on the road...we get in the evening of June 6 and will be headed to Seward straight away:)

Edited: 04 January 2014, 18:46
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2. Re: Early June Trip To AK

Welcome to TA-AK, Stephen! It helps us to help you if you will now keep all your questions in this 1 thread of yours.

Yes, a lot of our hiking trails are still snow-covered or in break-up (slush, , mud, ice/ run-off) conditions that memorial weekend time period. For memorial weekend we would pick the most exposed trails for our first backpack. Gull Rock out of Hope for usually the first, although the ice could be quite challenging at the run-offs.

Where's Denali NP, my hiking dream??!!

fti
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3. Re: Early June Trip To AK

You can easily do the activities in Anchorage you listed in 2 days. Not sure I would drive to Talkeetna for flightseeing and not go further to Denali NP with your interest in hiking.

Also, I am not sure if they are running yet (I think they are) but I would do a Kenai Fjords NP boat tour of 6 hours or longer vs. just the bay tour. You see a LOT more on the 6 hour tours.

You can almost forget hiking much of the Harding Icefield Trail that early in the season. You will probably be lucky to even get to the trailhead some years. I was there in May 2011 and we could hardly get on the trail to view the glacier, much less on the Harding Icefield Trail. I would plan instead on doing a trail at lower elevation. We did the Caines Head Trail and it was great. You need to check the tide tables, and we booked a water taxi before we left to pick us up once we reached our destination. That was nice.

If it were me, I would do something like this:

June 1 drive to Talkeetna, flightsee, drive further to Denali. You could even do the Coastal Trail biking this morning before departing

June 2 early shuttle bus to Eielson, getting off on the return to hike (see Top Questions about Denali for great day hike suggestions). Way better hiking than Flattop :-)

June 3 drive to Girdwood with stops along the way at ER Nature Center, etc. (stop in Talkeetna again if flightseeing got canceled on June 1, which is very common)

June 4 Seward Highway sites, maybe Portage Glacier boat tour, Wildlife Conservation Center, etc, arrive Seward.

June 5 Six hour National Park boat tour

June 6 Hiking - Caines Head? Something else?

June 7 drive to Anchorage, arrive by 2pm for 4pm flight.

PS denalicat and I have similar thoughts about Denali NP. Also, you can put her Gull Rock hiking suggestion either on June 4 (probably best) or June 7 if you leave Seward early enough. I just don't want you rushing back to Anchorage late trying to make your flight at the last minute!

Edited: 04 January 2014, 18:49
fti
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4. Re: Early June Trip To AK

PS with a week, and with all due respect, I would not do what MNman suggested and try to visit Homer, Seward and Denali NP in a week. That will have you seeing much more of the Alaskan roads than of Alaska and Alaskan trails.

Duluth, Minnesota
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5. Re: Early June Trip To AK

don't worry about correcting me fti, my wife does it all the time, and sometimes with good reason!

I only meant to add Homer if he was to skip the festivities around Anchorage, but even then I guess it would be tight.

Williamsburg...
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6. Re: Early June Trip To AK

Thanks all who have chimed in so far! I guess I had a few Anchorage items on the list since it was all I really got to enjoy last time and even Flattop was pretty awesome for Virginian. My only hesitation with Denali NP was 1) I have an aunt that lived in Anchorage for many years and she wasn't as high on Denali NP and 2) the hikes seemed to be a bit more difficult to reach (taking bus in, etc). I might just have the wrong impressions. I will take a look at all the suggestions and get back here with any resulting questions.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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7. Re: Early June Trip To AK

Fellow (original) Virginian here too!

Denali NP does not need to be overly exerting. I have physical limitations (gimpy knees and asthma) and never miss a change to spend at least a few days in the park. The shuttle is very convenient and if folks are unable to do much in the way of "hiking" they don't need to.

FYI, you can do a Denali flightseeing tour out of Anchorage. I did one with Rust's and thoroughly enjoyed it. (I have also done the Denali tour out of Talkeetna with their sister company K2 . . . and would recommend them as well, if you do head north from Anchorage.)

8. Re: Early June Trip To AK

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