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Is 2 nights in Denali long enough?

Acworth, Georgia
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Is 2 nights in Denali long enough?

We’re cruising one way to Alaska the end of next month. We’re thinking about visiting Denali. Since we booked so late I’m checking Denali hotels and there are very few room with available rooms. The ones that are available are for only two nights. Is it worth traveling to Denali for only two nights? If so, my next question is what’s the best way to get from Anchorage to the hotel and back again? We’re considering staying at the McKinley Chalet Resort, Grande Denali Lodge, or Denali Bluffs Hotel, or Denali River Cabins.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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21. Re: Is 2 nights in Denali long enough?

K2 . . . just look at the shuttle schedule and you can see why it is an absurdity. If I'm reading the schedule right, the OP would leave the WAC at 7:05am, get to Kantishna at around 2:00pm. The next shuttle out of there isn't until 5:00pm . . . getting back into the WAC at 10:15pm. Other than the three hours in Kantishna and lunch, there is little to no time to really explore, hike or otherwise enjoy the park. And may say if you are interested in wildlife, the best viewing is up through Eielson.

I have seen moose and caribou beyond, but it's often remarked that if the mountain isn't out, don't bother going beyond Eielson to Wonder Lake.

So my opinion is, to go THAT far (MM90) just for lunch at the lodge is as I stated . . . absurd.

USA
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22. Re: Is 2 nights in Denali long enough?

There is also the Kantishna Experience TOUR:

nps.gov/dena/…CP_JUMP_149796

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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23. Re: Is 2 nights in Denali long enough?

>>>There is also the Kantishna Experience TOUR: nps.gov/dena/…CP_JUMP_149796<<<

$159pp . . . ouch!

Lake Tahoe...
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24. Re: Is 2 nights in Denali long enough?

And, that was what I was referring to. Let's face it - some people don't come to Alaska and look for deals and avoid anyhing that costs money. Some of us can no longer do the camping or (sigh) backpacking.

fti
MN
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25. Re: Is 2 nights in Denali long enough?

I totally agree with Von - on a short trip, going to Kantishna just to have a lunch definitely seems absurd to me. Maximize your time at Denali by taking the Wonder Lake or Eielson shuttle. Then also spend some time near the entrance - visitor center exhibits and film, sleddog demo, film at the WAC, etc.

OP - you need to decide how much time you want to have. I can't believe that there is no room near Denali for around July 1st. One was already given to you - the Denali Princess. If you had a car, it opens up dozens more options in Healy and Carlo Creek.

For about $500 you can pick up a rental car in Whittier for three days and drop it off at the Anchorage airport the evening of July 1st. That would give you two nights at Denali with lots of options for stopping along the way. You can pick up a car in Anchorage (downtown or at the airport) on 29 June about noon and return to the airport 01 July in the evening for just over $200. But then you need to add another +-$100 to get from Whittier to Anchorage for two people. So you are already up to $300. For the extra $200, I would rent the car and spend the day driving to Denali. There is a LOT to see along Turnagain Arm between Whittier and Anchorage. If you get the car at 8am or so, you can be through the tunnel at 9am. Even with stops, you can be in Anchorage for lunch - say 1pm. Depart about 2pm for Denali and be in Denali for dinner, pick up your shuttle bus tickets for 30 June. 01 July drive back to Anchorage.

With an extra night you could take more time along Turnagain Arm and maybe overnight in Talkeetna. Or you could have an extra night in Denali if you find the options that have availability.

In any case, at this point I would book a car rental just to have something booked. You can always cancel it later.

Also note that it is a fallacy that the person driving won't have a chance to really see anything. In fact, with driving I find the driver (and others) see MORE than from the train. With a car, I am free to stop whenever I see something interesting. Stop if the Mountain is out, stop if I see wildlife, stop if I want to stretch my legs, stop if I want to shop (which for me is rare!).

26. Re: Is 2 nights in Denali long enough?

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