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Should I combine Alaska cruise with Denali or Canad. Rockies

London
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Should I combine Alaska cruise with Denali or Canad. Rockies

Planing 1 week Alaska cruise in July with wife, 2 teenage daughters. We will fly in to Vancouver from London, U.K. We are deciding whether to sail back to Vancouver, rent a car and spend a second week touring Canadian Rockies. Alternatively, we would get off the boat in Alaska, rent a car and spend another week touring in Alaska (5 days in Denali).

What would you suggest? Thanks for any feedback.

Healy, Alaska
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1. Re: Should I combine Alaska cruise with Denali or Canad. Rockies

Okay - I am biased - I would just tour Alaska since you are already going to be this direction. Save the Canadian Rockies for another trip. :)

Edited: 26 March 2014, 23:12
Seattle, Washington
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2. Re: Should I combine Alaska cruise with Denali or Canad. Rockies

Both itineraries have their strengths and weaknesses, and it's really up to you to decide. We don't know your family or your preferences.

First, there are some logistical considerations. If you're traveling in July 2014 you might be a bit challenged by hotel availability in Denali, and transport and lodging costs are going to be considerably higher than you'll encounter in Canada.

Second, five days at Denali would be - just my opinion - probably too long, UNLESS you're keen to lace up the boots and tromp off into the tundra. Denali is incredibly scenic, but it's basically a single long road traversed by buses (no private cars) which you can dismount at various places. Oversimplifying it, granted, but it's nothing like Banff or Jasper where you have many more "targets" on the radar. In July you'll be there at the peak of the visitor season, and also, at some places like Wonder Lake, still in the peak mosquito season too. And, the truth is, that some percentage of visitors to the park never sea Denali itself.

On the other hand, Denali is the tallest mountain in the world, measured from its land base (which is much lower in altitude than Everest's.) It's a definite bucket list item. (Mauna Loa in Hawaii is the tallest mountain in the world overall, measured from its seabed base.)

The advantage of visiting the Rockies is that there's more variety - towns, accommodation, lakes, drives, hot springs... as well as stunning peaks, glaciers, wildlife, etc. Now mind you it's not just a hop and a skip from Vancouver - it takes a full day's drive - or more - to get there, vs. 4 - 5 hours to get to Denali from Anchorage. However, don't know the rest of your trip, but you could catch a cheap flight from Vancouver to Calgary and drive from there - 90 min. or less to Banff from YYC. Or, drive from Vancouver but drop the car and fly out of Calgary, or v.v.

Scenically, frankly IMO the Canadian Rockies are the equal of almost any mountains you'll see anywhere - different from Alaska but no less beautiful. Plus, if you drive, you'll see the interior of BC - the beautiful Okanagan country, the Kootenays... en route, a real bonus. By comparison, the drive from Anchorage to Denali is fairly nondescript, except for a couple of gobsmack moments. Banff and Jasper, however, are gobsmack-worthy end to end.

My pick would be the Rockies, but others will (and ought to) disagree.

Greater Sydney...
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3. Re: Should I combine Alaska cruise with Denali or Canad. Rockies

"but others will (and ought to) disagree"

Well this one isn't disagreeing with what is a very good overall summary of two very different, but equally attractive, regions.

conn
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4. Re: Should I combine Alaska cruise with Denali or Canad. Rockies

Canada can be a wonderful vacation destation

Healy, Alaska
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5. Re: Should I combine Alaska cruise with Denali or Canad. Rockies

I also love the Canadian Rockies and many of their provincial parks, but if you are already in Alaska because of a cruise, it just makes more sense to me to see more of Alaska, as for many tourists - it is a once in a lifetime visit. - I would visit Seward as well as Denali.

I would make a different trip to Canada, and would possibly include some of the really great National Parks that are close to that area - like Glacier National Park, Yellowstone, Tetons, etc. I should have been more specific when I first posted. :)

Seattle, Washington
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6. Re: Should I combine Alaska cruise with Denali or Canad. Rockies

I think the OP is considering a round-trip cruise out of Vancouver + Rockies vs. a one-way cruise to Whittier/Seward + Denali.

London
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7. Re: Should I combine Alaska cruise with Denali or Canad. Rockies

Thank you all for your posts, they are really helpful and informative. It sounds like both would be great. We like hiking, but 2-3 hours comfortable hikes rather than adventure walks. Sound like Denali might be a bit challenging?

Healy, Alaska
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8. Re: Should I combine Alaska cruise with Denali or Canad. Rockies

Denali has all kinds of hiking - we do have more trails now (the park used to be trail-less). Most are pretty easy, not intense at all. One of the easiest ways to explore to me is to get off the shuttle bus and just walk along the road. It is more difficult trying to hike in the tundra, but you can avoid that. All the trails are listed on:www.nps.gov/dena. One of my favorites is the Savage loop trail. :)

USA
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9. Re: Should I combine Alaska cruise with Denali or Canad. Rockies

Either would be a win-win & I loved both areas.

OK, so I'm a bit biased about Denali of course. Perhaps read through the Top Questions for Denali of some of the descriptions of hikes in the park to give you a better view of hiking opportunities.

If you haven't already, you might want to post on the Canadian rockies forum, although ibgardyloo gave a great review of both.

10. Re: Should I combine Alaska cruise with Denali or Canad. Rockies

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