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Denali Nat'l Park - Questions

Albuquerque, New...
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Denali Nat'l Park - Questions


I will be going to Alaska in a few weeks and was wondering the following with regards to Denali:

1) Is it worth to drive or to take the train?

2) Will 2 -3 days be enough?

2) I would appreciate any ideas on places to stay (I'm kind of a city boy so no tents for me)...any good/cheap B&B, cabins, or hotel in the park or close?

3) Any special thing to do that you'd recommend? I read about the water rafting tours, the dog sleds demos, the theater dinner, etc. Can you tell me how you rank the things to do including hikes and points of interest?

Any other feedback you can give me I will appreciate? By the way, I will be traveling from Fairbanks in case it matters.



Manitoba, Canada
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1. Re: Denali Nat'l Park - Questions

Hi Claudio.

1) If you're coming from Fairbanks, are you going back to there or going on to Anchorage? If you're going back to Fairbanks, it's only a 2 hour drive, so I'd recommend you drive. Otherwise, I suggest you take the train, because how else will you return the car?

2) Two to 3 days is enough, depending on what you want to do.

3) Everyone ranks things differently. To me, a 6 hour or longer shuttle into the park is the absolute must. Rafting would be next, though I don't hike so maybe to you hiking would be next. Or even first. You can also get off the shuttle and hike, then catch the next shuttle along to resume your trip. Polychrome seems to be favoured by hikers, or you can ask the shuttle driver. Here is some info on hiking in the park:


There are also Ranger-led hikes you might be interested in. Here is some more info on those:


Also, flightseeing of Mt. McKinley is very popular. The mountain is visible only about 30% of the time, so flightseeing is the only way many people get to view it. It can be done from near the Park entrance, or from Talkeetna or even Anchorage.

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2. Re: Denali Nat'l Park - Questions

I would suggest driving if possible since it is difficult to get around Denali area without a car. I assume you are traveling from Denali either back to Fairbanks or to Anchorage? If back to Fairbanks, that is cheaper. If you pick up a rental car in Fairbanks and drop in Anchorage that will cost you more.

I have stayed several times at the McKinley Creekside Cabins about 14 miles south of the park entrance. Very economical and a good restaurant on the premises.

Hiking and riding the shuttle buses are priorities for me - I am leaving tomorrow for Denali!


Albuquerque, New...
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3. Re: Denali Nat'l Park - Questions

Thanks Manitoba and John!!

John...good luck on Denali and maybe you can provide me with more info once you're back.



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4. Re: Denali Nat'l Park - Questions


I just came back from my Alaska trip yesterday. I spent 2 full days in Denali National Park and I think that just nice. The first day, we took the shuttle bus all the way to the Wonder lake, that is about an 12 hour bus ride round trip. Make sure you book your shuttle bus tickets in advance.

The second day, we went to see the dog sled show. The show it only 30 mins. I think the show time is 10am, 1pm and 6pm. You will take a bus from the visitor center to the kennel. After that, we went for the rafting tour at 2pm. We went with the company called Denali Outdoor Center. The weather was great and I think it is a great way to view the scenery of Denali too. I highly recommend the rafting.

I stayed at the Denali Lake View Inn, that is 14 miles away from the National park in a town call Healy. The place is great, here is a picture of the view from our room.


Healy, Alaska
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5. Re: Denali Nat'l Park - Questions

Hello Claudio! You have gotten lots of great advice so far . . . if it were me, I would drive - having the train does limit your transportation around the local area. What kind of a place do you want to stay in - any special amenties, your budget, etc?? That would help in giving you recommendations. The best website to view most of the different types of accommodations would be www.denalichamber.com. I would be happy to list some of my favorites if you could share a few more specifics - there really is something for everyone here. However, many places do get booked up, so I would make these reservations before you come to Alaska, or you might find yourself sleeping in the car. :)

For most folks, I would say to do the shuttle bus to Wonder, perhaps a flightsee, a raft trip, hiking and then of course you have your evenings shows . . . but there is lots of other things as well - that depends more on your personal interests.

It'll take you around 2 hours to get from Fairbanks to Denali. I hope that helps you some. Good luck! :)

new mexico
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6. Re: Denali Nat'l Park - Questions

my wife and i just returned from denali on june 30th. we stayed 3 nights at earthsong lodge, which is a beautiful, peaceful place run by wonderful people. it is located near healy and gets you away from all the noise and chaos of the park entrance. we spent 3 days exploring denali and thoroughly enjoyed each activity. they included:

day 1: kantishna wilderness tour-saw lots of wildlife

including bear, moose, caribou, dall sheep,

fox and eagle. got lots of great pictures.

day 2: rafting trip down nenana river-exciting trip with lots

of beautiful scenery.

day 3: hiking in park and flightseeing tour around mt.

mckinley- breathtaking scenery

we rented a car in anchorage and it gave us the freedom to go where we wanted to, when we wanted to. the train won't provide such freedom. the dog sledding demos i saw were informative, but actual demos were very short. no matter what you choose, you will have a great time.

7. Re: Denali Nat'l Park - Questions

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