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Denali Bus Tour or Shuttle Bus?

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Mooresville, North...
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Denali Bus Tour or Shuttle Bus?

I’m looking for a little guidance on which type of bus trip to take in Denali. We will be visiting in July of this year and are planning on taking an 8 hour trip in to the park. We are looking at either the Tundra Wilderness Tour to mile 53 or the shuttle bus to Fish Creek mile 63. I have to admit the price of the fully narrated tour with lunch is a little steep at $80.75, but I also do not want to take the cheaper route on the shuttle bus and miss out on something. I guess my big question is, is the narration and lunch worth the 50+ dollar difference? Any suggestions on which to do would be appreciated.

Yukon, Canada
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1. Re: Denali Bus Tour or Shuttle Bus?

You get the narration on the shuttles, too - it isn't advertised that way because the shuttle drivers don't have to (but they know how to get tips!). The shuttle drivers I've traveled with have been every bit as good as the tour drivers (I've been on the Tour a dozen times, the shuttle 7-8 times - many of the tours I guide used to include the Tour). And the lunch on the Tundra Widerness Tour isn't worth $5, much less $50 :D

Murray

Healy, Alaska
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for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
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2. Re: Denali Bus Tour or Shuttle Bus?

Yes, I agree w/Explore North. Many of the shuttle drivers have been doing this for over 20 years - they have lots of experience, and give good information. This is one of those few exceptions where spending less actually gets you more. You will enjoy getting further into the Park - I would suggest going all the way to Wonder Lake if you can. There are numerous places in the area to buy lunch stuff, including Subway. Bring water and other drinks, snacks, etc., for your day, too. :)

Mooresville, North...
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3. Re: Denali Bus Tour or Shuttle Bus?

Thanks for the insight. Sounds like the shuttle is the way to go.

We hope to go into the park the day before to see the visitor center, the sled dog demo and whatever else we can fit in! I know that there is a park entrance fee of $10 per person. If we are going to go into the park two days in a row, will we have to pay the entrance fee twice? I know that sometimes park passes are good for seven days from the time you buy them and I wasn't sure if that was the case here or not.

Thanks for the tip on tips! I wouldn't have thought of it until we were getting off the bus and at that point I probably would not have any cash! Now I can be ready!

Healy, Alaska
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for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
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4. Re: Denali Bus Tour or Shuttle Bus?

Hello again! Yes, the park pass is good for 7 days - $10 pp/$20 family. Check them out for more details: www.nps.gov/dena

I may have been misleading by what I said - I hope I haven't created some confusion by saying that "there are numerous places in the area . . .". I meant in the Park entrance area prior to boarding the bus. Once you board the bus there are no facilities further in the Park to purchase any food or beverage. I realized after your post that maybe it sounded like you could get something at Wonder Lake. I apologize for muddling that up. Subway is located in the Canyon, across the street from the Princess hotel, and in Healy there are also a few delis and a delightful place called the Lunch Box that will make your lunch also. I hope this post is more helpful! :)

Mooresville, North...
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5. Re: Denali Bus Tour or Shuttle Bus?

Thanks again!

I understood your original post, from the reading I have done on Denali and what family members have shared. But it is probably good to clear it up for all those readers in the future!

It is really great to have a local expert with so much knowledge to share - thanks again for your help with this topic but also for all the other postings you have provided on other topics. Always insightful and useful!

Farmington...
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6. Re: Denali Bus Tour or Shuttle Bus?

This was actually the exact question that I had however, I have a follow-up for it too. The shuttle stuff says it will pick you up on a space available basis. So I'm just kind of curious how this works, are there numerous drop off points and then you just go back to that point and shuttle to the next? Or do you walk to the next? How does it work. Oh! and any suggestions on must stops, I don't want to miss anything.

jq
Sacramento, CA
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7. Re: Denali Bus Tour or Shuttle Bus?

Rabi

For shuttle buses, you can ask to get off anywhere along route unless special control is on for a specific section for animal activity. When you get done hiking or walking along road, you just go back to road and wave down bus. If they have room available, they will let you on. July is a busy time and it may be a little harder to find room.

You can also do at the turnaround spots such as Toklat River, Fishcreek, or Wonder Lake. I think at Fishcreek, they have a ranger who you can sign up with for next available bus if you want to spend more time and catch later bus. We started to one time in order to get a different driver but due to misty rain, decided to stay on our orignial bus.

Colorado
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8. Re: Denali Bus Tour or Shuttle Bus?

Since we are on the topic,

Colorado
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9. Re: Denali Bus Tour or Shuttle Bus?

Oops, somehow I posted too soon. Okay, since we are on the topic...

Do the buses have scheduled stops for say 30 minutes here or there?

I'd like to do a little hiking, but I'll be with elderly relatives and I don't want to get separated from them on the bus trip.

I'm hopeful that perhaps I can get in a 30 minute trail run or two to see a little of the Denali backcountry without changing buses.

Paula

jq
Sacramento, CA
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661 posts
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10. Re: Denali Bus Tour or Shuttle Bus?

Paularodo,

That would be tough,as most of the stops are like 15-20 min. For the turnaround stop, they stay may be closer to 1/2 hour, but that would be cutting it close. We hiked up one of the other roads near Wonder Lake and almost missed out bus leaving as it had already pulled out but we were up above it.

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