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Denali hiking

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Denali hiking

We are going to Denali for 2 days (staying at Teklanika CG both the nights) the last week of August. The first day we are planning to take the shuttle to Wonder lake.

After reading the forums, we have shortlisted the below hikes for our second day.

Sable Mt, Cathedral Mt, Igloo Mt, tattler creek

We are a couple in late 20's who are novice hikers. We are relatively fit, so medium level hike shouldn't be a problem. We are hoping to see some wildlife and scenary (fall scenary).

Could you please suggest which one would be a good hike? Is it possible to do multiple hikes in a single day?

Thanks in advance for your suggestions.

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1. Re: Denali hiking

Have you considered a DISCO hike with the Denali Park Rangers?

DISCO hikes are small groups of people (less than 20) you have to sign up at the Park in person, and if the Rangers are worried about your fitness they will tell you that. They offer 2 hikes a day to different areas, with a Ranger. I did one of these, it was amazing and the Ranger provided a lot of knowledge about the area. I'd definitely do it again.

If you're not interested in the DISCO hikes, you should call the Denali Park Rangers. They are very informative and will provide a lot of info about the park, where to hike and where not to hike. When I was there, there were some grizzlies fighting over a caribou kill so obviously they told us to stay away from that area.

Also - You mentioned Sable Mountain. I don't know if that is in Sable Pass, but when I was there just a few years ago, Sable Pass was off limits to people. You could ride the bus through there, but were not allowed to hike in that area.

Enjoy your trip, it's beautiful in Alaska!

fti
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2. Re: Denali hiking

Both sides of Sable Pass are closed to off-road hiking for about 1 mile either side of the road. You can hike north or south of there if you avoid the closure, but it is tricky.

There is a Top Question about Denali NP that talks about day hikes in Denali NP. That is a great place to start.

The Discovery Hikes are great, especially if you are alone. As was mentioned, there are two a day, but they only allow a max of 11 people to sign up per hike. Unfortunately the system is set up to allow people to just not show up at the last minute with no consequences at all, so most hikes end up with less than 11 people even though others who are interested are turned away since 11 have signed up. This is extremely unfortunate and I mention it to rangers every chance I get. I have taken 4 Disco hikes this summer and none of them had everyone show up who signed up. In fact, on one of the hikes I was the only hiker with the ranger. It was fun to spend some one-on-one time with a ranger, but sad that people just bowed out.

Edited: 9:02 pm, August 10, 2014
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3. Re: Denali hiking

We've climbed Sable Mt a few times as a loop & it's not in the Sable Pass closure. It's reached via Tattler Creek. Know that that whole Tattler Ck is a bear corridor.

Igloo Mt was not one of my most favorite climbs as it's through the trees at the start & then opens up. I've done it twice, both times with moose in the trees.

I love climbing Cathedral Mt as it looks out over the Sable bear closure. But it necessitates a creek crossing at the start. Lots of herds of dall sheep up there.

Be aware that all 4 choices are in bear territory where I have seen numerous bears.

All take route-finding skills in case there are bears blocking one's route.

Not what I would personally recommend for novice hikers.

I haven't had time to read through the other responses, but talk to the rangers when you arrive as someone said so they can assess your skills.

One of the best places to hike for novice hikers IMHO is in the high, more open tundra up near Eielson, Stony, Highway or Thorofare passes. I even love the ridge climb TRAIL across from Eielson visitor center when I get out of Tek CG on the first buses. One can then hike the ridge a bit to get away from other hikers. Awesome views when the mountain is out

Rangers and shuttle bus drivers know current conditions.

Edited: 11:50 am, August 11, 2014
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4. Re: Denali hiking

Having just spent 5 days in denali (3 at entrance and 2 at wonder lake) I would say that it is difficult to do two hikes in a day at different parts of the park. You could possibly do a significant hike inside the park and then shorter hikes near the entrance.

I would second denalicat's suggestion of hiking in the Stony area and the alpine trail up from Eielson visitor center. The stony area was our favorite "off trail" hike that we attempted and the alpine trail is particularly good if you somehow get there before the crowds (we took the 6:30 am camper bus from Wonder lake) and had the place to ourselves along with a partial view of Denali.

If you do off trail hikes make sure you bring your rain pants and/or gaiters because the brush and tundra hold a lot of water even if it isn't currently raining. If you spend a few days in DNP you will definitely learn which gear (jackets, boots etc) is actually waterproof. ;)

When we were in DNP last week there was a mother and two juvenille grizzlies in the sable pass area right near the road. Overall, we did multiple hikes on trail and off. We had a great trail but saw most of our wildlife on the bus (including a grizzly 25 ft from the bus). During our hikes we saw caribou, pika, arctic ground squirrels and a wolverine with an arctic ground squirrel in its mouth. Have fun!

fti
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5. Re: Denali hiking

Wow, Danielle, where did you see the wolverine? That is awesome. I would love to see a wolverine in the park sometime, but they are very elusive.

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6. Re: Denali hiking

We were near Gravel Mountain. It was quite a surprise - we were cresting one side of the hill while the wolverine the other. The wolverine quickly decided to run along with its dinner.

Another couple of hikers were lucky to see 2 wolves as well as a wolverine. I also heard second hand about sightings of wolf pups.

New York City, New...
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7. Re: Denali hiking

Thanks everyone for your valuable inputs.

We are leaning towards the Wonder Lake shuttle on day 1 and a discovery hike on day 2. Even though it's very tempting to go hiking off trail, with our very limited experience, it doesn't seem like a good idea.

We are renting an RV and driving to Denali and Seward. For overnight sleepovers, do you HAVE to stop at a designated RV campground or can you pull over anywhere and sleepover as long as you are not blocking any public/private roads?

Thanks.

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8. Re: Denali hiking

We're in a similar situation to yours and after weighing all of the feedback from people here came to the same conclusion, Wonder Lake bus on the first full day and Discovery Hike on the second full day. Our plan is to go as far as Eielson Visitor's Center and if it's a clear day continue on to Wonder Lake, and if not get off and hike. The Discovery Hikes sound great but there's only two each day with a maximum of eleven people each day, so make sure you have some idea of a backup plan in case they're already full, which at this point is my only concern about our vacation since it's not something that can be booked more than two days in advance, unlike everything else we're doing that requires reservations.

9. Re: Denali hiking

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