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Best way to see most in short amount time -- 2-3 days Denali

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Best way to see most in short amount time -- 2-3 days Denali

We'll arrive in Seward on Friday, August 24, and our two adult children need to leave from Anchorage airport on Sunday evening to return to PA, which allows a two-night stay near Denali. We would like to spend our time in Denali and are trying to figure out the best way. Is there transportation from Seward directly to a Denali hotel, without a long stop in Anchorage? I hear that renting a car is more economical than the train or bus, especially since there'll be four of us. Does anyone have any recommendations as to best/cheapest car rental in Seward or Anchorage? Also, what is a good place to stay near Denali to experience wildlife, scenery, Alaskan beauty? How long is the ride or drive from Seward to Denali, and from Denali to Anchorage airport? Thank you much for any advice!

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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1. Re: Best way to see most in short amount time -- 2-3 days Denali

You're looking at just under 400 miles Seward to Denali and should allow a minimum of 7-8 hours. Denali to Anchorage is about 250 miles and around 4-5 hours (minimum).

If you do that math, driving will give you just one day (Saturday) plus Sunday morning for Denali NP. Many/most of us here do not recommend driving that long distance in one haul (day) but it can be done if you really have no other choice.

My opinion is that you should focus your time and efforts on the Kenai Peninsula and areas from Seward to Anchorage if that is all the time you have.

Las Vegas, Nevada
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2. Re: Best way to see most in short amount time -- 2-3 days Denali

The quickest way to get to Denali on Friday is via an expensive one-way car rental. Hertz is the only vendor in Seward. Drive time from Seward to Anchorage is about 3 hrs.

Otherwise, check to see if there is a cruise-contracted train that leaves Seward Friday morning. That would get you into Anchorage around noon, where you could pick up a rental car and drive to Denali, about 6 hrs. On Saturday take a shuttle into the park to experience the wildlife and scenery.On Sunday, drive back to Anchorage, another 6 hrs.

If there isn't a cruise contracted train, the Park Connection Bus leaves Seward at 10:30 arrives Anc at 1:30. www.alaskacoach.com

For accomodation, check this list from the Denali Chamber of commerce:


If you want first hand hotel reviews, look in the ALASKA forum, under Top Questions to find a link to the 2011 trip reports. The reports are quite detailed and often provide recommendations on hotels.

Good luck with your planning !

Edited: 1:26 am, June 01, 2012
3. Re: Best way to see most in short amount time -- 2-3 days Denali

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