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Old 02-06-2016, 06:34 PM   #1
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1 Week in AK, What would you see?

Folks here were great in helping me plan my trip to Canadian Maritimes last year. My wife and I are flying to Anchorage last week in August for a conference. Then plan on renting a Class C for a week of travel. If you had one week to see this part of AK, what is a must see? Definitely planning on Denali. Suggested campgrounds?
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Old 02-06-2016, 06:49 PM   #2
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Before or after your Denali visit a trip down to the Kenai Pennisula to see Homer and Seward should be on your list.

Stay on the Homer Spit while in Homer. Lots of campgrounds to choose from including a municipal one. Do some fishing if you have the time.

Seward has a municipal campground right on Resurrection Bay. Great campsites with great views for very little cost.

While in Seward take a National Park Boat Tour with Kenai Fjords Boat Tours to see lots of sea life and bird life. Also take a short drive up to Exit Glacier.

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Old 02-06-2016, 07:09 PM   #3
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Nice haul. I lived up there in the late 70's. It is on our long list.
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Old 02-06-2016, 07:12 PM   #4
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A week isn't a long time when you consider the amount of driving you have to go to get anywhere.

If you are going to Denali there is a campground right at the entrance but you miss most of the park. They also have a campground in the park ~30 miles in but there is a 3 night minimum stay. At minimum I would recommend taking the Green Bus tour into the park at least to the visitor center and if possible to Wonder Lake but it is a full day trip.

A trip all the way to Homer AK on the Kenai is also good. Several places to stop along the way. Seward AK is also on the Kenai.

We spent a month in AK back in 2009 and didn't get to see much of it. Planning on going back possibly in 2017
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Old 02-06-2016, 08:21 PM   #5
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We've stayed at two campgrounds in Denali - Riley Creek is in the front area and Teklanika is the farthest you can drive with a RV. Both places have plenty to do. If you stay in Riley Creek sign up for one of the 'school bus' tours to take you further back into the park. The drivers are very knowledgeable and can easily find animals for you.

If you stay at Teklanika, purchase the TEK pass and you can ride the 'school bus' tour as often as you want. Sometimes we'd just go out in the morning; sometimes just toward evening, and we also took it for the all-day trip to Wonder Lake but in our opinion, it's not necessary to go that far. We saw more animals and the scenery was better before getting to Wonder Lake.

The end of August you'd probably see more bears than earlier in the summer because they'll be out and busy eating berries and roots, storing up for winter. It's a fantastic place!

If you think you'll have enough time then yes, head down the Kenai Peninsula but trying to go north to Denali then south down the Peninsula will take more driving time than you think. At that time of year I wouldn't make reservations for the Kenai. There are plenty of places to stay and you might not make it down the whole way. Just take it unplanned and you'll be fine. The tiny towns along the way down the Kenai are great to poke around.
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Old 02-07-2016, 09:23 AM   #6
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You could go North from Anchorage and hit Denali for a night or two (about 200 miles). Then travel another 125 miles to Fairbanks. There you have the RiverBoat Discovery, great cruise down the Chena River to a Alaskan Village (2-3 hours). The Fairbanks Visitor Center is a wealth of info and ample RV parking.

Traveling Southwest of Fairbanks, you will come across North Pole ( about 15 miles) and Santa Claus House. You also have the Alaskan Pipeline viewing area in Fairbanks. Traveling SW and South of that area it will be about 300+ miles to Valdez. From there you can get back to Anchorage along the Glenn highway (300 miles). And maybe spend 2 days Seward and Homer.

Over-all you could easily travel 1600 miles and do a big loop, or skip Valdez and lower that to 1200 miles.

If you were at all able to stretch that to 10 days, you will thank yourself with a slower pace.
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Old 02-07-2016, 10:27 AM   #7
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We traveled to AK in 2012 and toured for 2-1/2 months. The highlight was an airplane ride and glacier landing in Denali on Eldridge Glacier. We camped at Talkeetna Camper Park where we boarded our 6 passenger Cessna 185 from Sheldon Air at the airport for the 2 hour flight. Our two grandsons joined us for three weeks of our trip.This was amazing. The memory always comes back as I think about our AK trip.

Homer was also a highlight: Dry Camping on the spit, fishing for Halibut, taking a water taxi across Kachemak Bay and climbing Gracie Ridge

Also take a 26 glacier Tour from Whittier.

https://talkeetnacamper.com/

Talkeetna, Denali NP, McKinley charter flights - Sheldon Air Service

https://www.phillipscruises.com/

Safe Travels and THE JOY IS IN THE RIDE

Pics: 1- Eldridge Glacier landing, 2- Great Gorge of Ruth Glacier & view of Mt. McKinley, 3- Grace Ridge Trail, and 4- view across Kachemak Bay form our dry camp.
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Old 02-07-2016, 10:35 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Superslif View Post
You could go North from Anchorage and hit Denali for a night or two (about 200 miles). Then travel another 125 miles to Fairbanks. There you have the RiverBoat Discovery, great cruise down the Chena River to a Alaskan Village (2-3 hours). The Fairbanks Visitor Center is a wealth of info and ample RV parking.

Traveling Southwest of Fairbanks, you will come across North Pole ( about 15 miles) and Santa Claus House. You also have the Alaskan Pipeline viewing area in Fairbanks. Traveling SW and South of that area it will be about 300+ miles to Valdez. From there you can get back to Anchorage along the Glenn highway (300 miles). And maybe spend 2 days Seward and Homer.

Over-all you could easily travel 1600 miles and do a big loop, or skip Valdez and lower that to 1200 miles.

If you were at all able to stretch that to 10 days, you will thank yourself with a slower pace.
I think this route is a good one but I would opt for the 3 days at Teklanika campground in Denali and shorten the Seward and Homer trip. A week is short and i predict you will be back.
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Old 02-07-2016, 12:54 PM   #9
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I agree with the three days at Teklanika in Denali. We were there in August 2015 and saw so many bears on our school bus tour. Lots of moms and cubs feasting on berry bushes. Saw plenty of caribou too. And a clear day brought out Mt. Denali in all its glory.
I also agree about not traveling to Wonder Lake. There is not that much scenery and 60 mile round trip on a school bus is enough! Also, if you want to do a day cruise and can't make it to the Kenai, Stan Stephens Cruise out of Valdez is very good too. The road to Valdez has outstanding scenery and waterfalls.
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Old 02-07-2016, 03:52 PM   #10
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Anchorage to Valdez and back to Anchorage is 600 miles round trip. That's 2 days of driving alone for me and that's without stopping to take photos and absorb the scenery.

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Old 02-07-2016, 05:31 PM   #11
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Great Stuff

Folks, All Good Stuff. Studying the maps and following your suggestions to see what I am comfortable doing.(of course, we all know that in the end it is what Mama decides)
Planning to do this again in 7-8 years when I am retired and have more time. Tim
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Old 02-07-2016, 06:00 PM   #12
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I think you should go north or south from Anchorage but not both because it is too much for a single week. If it were me I would do Whittier (Great tour boat trip to glaciers) Seward (Nifty town with awesome municipal campground on the bay and a fascinating aquarium), Homer (Picturesque fishing village). There is lot more to see in this direction and you will have no problem spending an enjoyable week.

If you choose to go north, then do take the ski plane from Kalteekna to the Ruth Glacier in Denali NP. From there to Denali and then Fairbanks and back to Anchorage. This trip will easily fill your week.

I just don't think you have time to do justice to both routes in one week. While in Anchorage go see the Lake Hood seaplane base which is unique in all the world.
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Old 02-07-2016, 08:45 PM   #13
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Tim, decide what is important to you, wildlife, go north to Denali, fishing go South, Homer, Seward, etc. In 2014 we toured Alaska for 2 months, while we were in Homer I went charter fishing and brought home 40 # of filleted halibut. We have phenomenal bear/elk/caribou/etc pictures from Denali (check www.capecodtoalaska2014.com for pictures of each area). After getting all the advice here only you can decide which is best. But flying tomAnchorage and renting a class C is a great idea, try to stretch a few more days, you will thank yourself!
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Old 02-13-2016, 08:22 PM   #14
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Short answer reaction is, not much. Choose which way carefully.

Park entrance at Denali is about a day, given a few stops along the way to oooo & aaahhh. It is a long day bus ride from one of the entrance area CGs deep into the park & back. There is 3 days not counting picking up & stocking RV or dropping it off.

Anchorage to Homer is a day & 1/2 allowing some stops to enjoy the scenery. Homer is a fishing town with a fishing problem. You can't go to Homer without a fishing trip or at the very least buy some fish.

To get the iconic views of Homer you have to drive up the mountain above town. Finding spots to stop & get those views takes some doing.

Given that you only have a week & Denali seems to be top priority, do that then back past Anchorage & head to Seward. Fishing there too. Also a really good aquarium.
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