My husband and I will be taking the train from Anchorage to Fairbanks, stopping for the night in Denali on Saturday May 27th. We arrive at Denali around 3:45 in the afternoon and will leave Sunday at 3:45. We plan to take the NPS shuttle bus Sunday morning for a 6 hour tour.
I was advised to get a rental car, which I have looked into and will probably do. They will pick us up at the rail station, and I think we can drop the car back at the rail station the next day. If we did not get a rental car, I don't think we would be able to find a way to the early morning shuttle on Sunday morning.
I've got a few quetsions: I'm not sure where we should stay for the one night. Since we plan to take an early shuttle bus through the park, we won't spend much time in the room. I noticed that Denali Grizzly Bear Resort is new and opening in May. They have an availability for $149. Is this a good choice, or would somewhere else be better? My main concern is that we are not too far from the park since we have to be there early Sunday morning for the shuttle.
Regarding the shuttle, I have read that they are better in the early morning. If that is the case, does it matter if we take the 7AM or 8AM? It is supposed to take 6 hours roundtrip and I want to make sure we aren't cutting it close to get back to the train station for our 3:45 train to Faribanks.
I am also not clear on where we get on the shuttle bus. Do we drive the rental car into the park and catch it there? Or is there a pick-up (and parking lot) outside the park? Obviously, neither of us have ever been to Denali and we (okay, me) are having trouble picturing the logistics.
Any other helpful tips would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!!