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Alaska / Denali Best time to visit.

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Pune, India
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Alaska / Denali Best time to visit.

Hi,

We are 2 couples from India. 60,60, 32,30 yrs. Thinking a visit Alaska /Denali NP in May end 2013.

We will be having 7 days max.

It is advised that the land may just be turning green from brown at that time and not many wild life may be out there for feeding.

We are thinking of renting a car.

we are not taking a cruise as it will not cover Denali at length. But so will be missing on icebergs and whales.

My questions --

1. Whats the best and second best season to visit ?

2. How can we include icebergs and whale watching in our land tour by rental car on our own ?

Thanks

--Shirish

Denali National...
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1. Re: Alaska / Denali Best time to visit.

The best time to visit is when you can really enjoy the park in many different ways: take several hikes, attend interpretive programs, sit still and listen. As for snow, it can and has snowed every month of the year. In late May/early June, there will still be snow in a lot of areas, but it's still an enjoyable and magical place to be. March is known for really clear skies, so you'll have a better chance to see the Denali, but I have also seen it on Memorial day.

If you would like to see icebergs and whales, it's best to drive south past Anchorage and visit Seward and Kenji Fjords NP. A tour will take you to the glaciers and the possibility of whales. It is about a 6-7 hour drive south from the park, but definitely plan for more stops as there are many beautiful spots along the way.

2. Re: Alaska / Denali Best time to visit.

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Winder, Georgia
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3. Re: Alaska / Denali Best time to visit.

The shuttle buses into Denali do not start running until May 20 to Toklat, June 1 to Eielson, & June 8 to Wonder Lake. You could go to Seward first for a couple of days, go on the NP boat tour, see the Sealife Center, & Exit Glacier, then head to Denali for a few days. The more time spent in the park, the better chance of seeing wildlife. If you call, the shuttle tickets are buy 2 days get one free. I have visited in July & Sept, & was fortunate both times to see lots of wildlife & the mountain.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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4. Re: Alaska / Denali Best time to visit.

I have been in July (4th of July weekend), August (last week) and September (3rd weekend) and enjoyed each trip.

July was rainiest and with mosquitoes, August was also a bit on the wet side but the fall colors were great, and September was magical mostly because I was there during the road lottery and the mountain was "out" every day I was there!.

Every time I/we have been in the park there was plenty of wildlife to be seen.

USA
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5. Re: Alaska / Denali Best time to visit.

When the shuttles first run in Denali (May 20 this coming spring) is one of my favorite times in the park- I have seen lots of baby bears. My experience over the years has been lots of wildlife down near the park road and at lower elevations at that time of year before all the traffic.. But you can only go to Tolklat that time of year.

If you can get to the park June 1, the shuttles should be running all the way to Eielson visitor center which gives you a wider view of the park.

After 15 years in Anchorage, southcentral & Denali, we found May/June tends to be a bit drier & clearer. Can & does it rain in May/June? Yes of course, but August tends to be rainier.

A day cruise out of Whittier and/ or Seward for glaciers/sea life as recommended above might fill out your week.

USA
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6. Re: Alaska / Denali Best time to visit.

Kim, it is wonderful to have you here as a resident of Denali! Hope we see more of you!

Pune, India
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7. Re: Alaska / Denali Best time to visit.

Thank you all for your prompt and helping replies .

These will surely help us planning and enjoying Alaska.

--Dr Shirish

New York
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8. Re: Alaska / Denali Best time to visit.

To include your glaciers, whales and Denali is simple. I highly recommend a Prince William sound boat tour out of Whittier, 1 1/4 hour drive, plus tunnel from Anchorage. with a rental car, I would then continue to Seward and do a Kenai fjords Boat tour, at least 6 hours on the water. You have a good chance of seeing whales, although not 100% seen on these tours. They are loaded with varied wildlife, and another glacier close up look. Then head back to Anchorage, and continue to Denali park the next day ( or break up the drive at some point between Girdwood and Talkeetna perhaps) You need at least 2 nights in Denali Park. It is an advantage to be there June 1 or after for access to Eielson Visitor Center via shuttle bus.

fti
MN
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9. Re: Alaska / Denali Best time to visit.

When in May you are planning your trip is key to helping design an itinerary. As was stated, if you can arrive to Denali on May 31st or later then take a shuttle to Eielson on June 1 or later that is ideal. But even the shuttle to Toklat is worthwhile if you take it May 20-31.

Do the 7 days include travel days? I hope not, since it is a long way from India! Also, do you mean 7 days or 7 nights? 7 days is really 6 nights. 7 nights is really 8 days. Most flights from Anchorage return to the lower 48 in the evening, though that is not always the case.

NYC
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10. Re: Alaska / Denali Best time to visit.

If interested in the suggestion budgetqueen offers above, you may want to check out Discovery Voyages. We did a week on the vessel last summer in late August and had the time of our lives. The captain is enormously skilled at maneuvering the vessel into areas virtually no one else goes, and the crew/guides will lead breathtaking glacier hikes and canoeing along shores where you can see bears catching salmon and eagles soaring. After the 5 or so days aboard the Discovery, we headed to Denali to experience what amounts to about 4-6 days of peak autumn colors. If you stay at a lodge within the park, you can skip the busses and ride the 110 mile road in a private vehicle run by one of the lodges. We spent about 9 hours driving into the park with frequent stops and a photo emphasis. We then stayed at Skyline Lodge for a few nights and used it as a base for hikes, bike rides and flight seeing around Denali which was out virtually the entire time we were there. As we left by private vehicle driven by a naturalist affiliated with the lodge, we spent another 9 hours or so experiencing indescribable fall colors and tons of wildlife.