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Visiting Alaska #7287664
06/16/21 01:06 PM
06/16/21 01:06 PM
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 241
Oregon
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RockCrick Offline OP
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RockCrick  Offline OP
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Oregon
I wanted to ask this on the Wilderness forum first, because I was hoping to get answers from people that live there rather than visited Alaska. My wife and are flying into Anchorage and renting a car for 5 full days of travel. I was thinking of driving to Fairbanks (stay night), then to Tok for a night, then to maybe Valdez to check things out turn around and stay in Glennallen, then drive to Kenai (spend night in Homer probably) then drive back to Anchorage for an early flight on day 6.

We are more sightseers and move on, donít plan on fishing or anything like that. Really just want to see as much of the road system as we can and make short stops to check things out.

I am debating on skipping Tok and going through Paxson to Glennallen. Which route would you recommend for scenery and seeing some wildlife. We really want to see some Caribou and Dall Sheep. Besides taking the bus into Denali, any places that one can see some sheep close to the road? Any other recommendations for places that are worth stopping? Thanks in advance for the info. Iíve been waiting my whole life for this trip and itís shorter than I would have liked but I wanted to make the most of it. We are coming in over labor day if that helps.

Re: Visiting Alaska [Re: RockCrick] #7287679
06/16/21 01:33 PM
06/16/21 01:33 PM
Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 32,038
McGrath, AK
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white17 Offline

"General (Mr.Sunshine) Washington"
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McGrath, AK
Personally..........I would skip the trip to Homer. Never been impressed by it.

I would also skip Tok. Head for Paxson but before you get there turn back west an go across the Denali highway to Cantwell. Some pretty cool scenery there. BIG BIG vistas .

If you have time in Fairbanks the antique car museum is a must see IMO. Been there twice and will go again.

Again it is just my opinion, but you need at least 10 days to do justice to what you want to cover. The distances are greater than you may think.

EDIT: the trip to Valdez is scenic too especially through Keystone Canyon

Last edited by white17; 06/16/21 01:47 PM.

Mean As Nails
Re: Visiting Alaska [Re: RockCrick] #7287690
06/16/21 01:50 PM
06/16/21 01:50 PM
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 6,215
Alaska and Washington State
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waggler Online content
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waggler  Online Content
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Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 6,215
Alaska and Washington State
If at all possible give yourself more days to do this trip.


"I'm not skilled to understand"
Re: Visiting Alaska [Re: RockCrick] #7287709
06/16/21 02:35 PM
06/16/21 02:35 PM
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 241
Oregon
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RockCrick Offline OP
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Thanks for the replies, I had planned to take the Denali highway but the rental cars donít allow it and now most of them have GPS so they know if you do apparently (or maybe they just tell you that).

I am putting the destinations together off of google maps. Fairbanks to Tok says 3 hours and 20 minutes. Is that the people at google just applying mileage or is that reasonable time estimate with the roads?

I hear you on the time, Iíd have preferred something longer but this is sort of what we were able to make work so trying to make the most of it.

Re: Visiting Alaska [Re: RockCrick] #7287740
06/16/21 03:36 PM
06/16/21 03:36 PM
Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 32,038
McGrath, AK
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white17 Offline

"General (Mr.Sunshine) Washington"
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McGrath, AK
I know the rental agencies all say that but I have done it..........twice ))) Don't tell them I said that. You didn't say WHEN you will be here. The Denali highway can be pretty rough in August/September. That's the rainy season


Mean As Nails
Re: Visiting Alaska [Re: white17] #7287775
06/16/21 04:22 PM
06/16/21 04:22 PM
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 241
Oregon
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RockCrick Offline OP
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Our travel days are Sunday-Thursday of labor day week, thanks for that tip.

Re: Visiting Alaska [Re: RockCrick] #7287781
06/16/21 04:32 PM
06/16/21 04:32 PM
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 358
Nome AK
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aknome Offline
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Nome AK
If you don't already have a rental car reserved, you may be SOL. The ONLY rental my wife could find for the end of the month was a Suburban at $560 a day.

Re: Visiting Alaska [Re: RockCrick] #7287782
06/16/21 04:33 PM
06/16/21 04:33 PM
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 358
Nome AK
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I did the same road trip back in 1983. Six days are going to just be a blur of green.

Last edited by aknome; 06/16/21 04:34 PM.
Re: Visiting Alaska [Re: RockCrick] #7287804
06/16/21 05:05 PM
06/16/21 05:05 PM
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 1,499
Idaho, Lemhi County
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Gulo Offline
"On The Other Hand"
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Idaho, Lemhi County
I would definitely echo the ideas put forth by White17. Get out of Los Anchorage as quick as you can; it's like a million other megatropolis's. Go north to Cantwell and head east across the Denali Highway to Paxson. Then, south to Glennallen and continue on south to Valdez (Valdeeze). With your relatively short window, I'd skip Fairbanks and Tok, and definitely skip the run to the Kenai. That week will be terrible traffic, as half a million other people will be jockeying for pole position on the highway to Kenai. I lived and worked for many years in Glennallen, McGrath, Sitka, and Fairbanks. In my opinion, if you're on the road system, don't bother with any time in Los Anchorage or Bare-Flanks, unless you spend all your time in the Bush Company, Wild Cherry, or Reflections (Infections).

Have a great time!

Jack

Re: Visiting Alaska [Re: aknome] #7287816
06/16/21 05:20 PM
06/16/21 05:20 PM
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 6,215
Alaska and Washington State
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waggler Online content
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Joined: Jan 2008
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Alaska and Washington State
Originally Posted by aknome
If you don't already have a rental car reserved, you may be SOL. The ONLY rental my wife could find for the end of the month was a Suburban at $560 a day.

Rental rates in Anchorage during the summer are criminal.
I know of a couple of guys who had a week to spare when they got into Anchorage from BB, so they went on craigslist found a $300 beater, drove up to Denali and a few other places, and then left it on the curb at the Airport check-in level when they left town.


"I'm not skilled to understand"
Re: Visiting Alaska [Re: waggler] #7287932
06/16/21 08:21 PM
06/16/21 08:21 PM
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 241
Oregon
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RockCrick Offline OP
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Oregon
Originally Posted by waggler
Originally Posted by aknome
If you don't already have a rental car reserved, you may be SOL. The ONLY rental my wife could find for the end of the month was a Suburban at $560 a day.

Rental rates in Anchorage during the summer are criminal.
I know of a couple of guys who had a week to spare when they got into Anchorage from BB, so they went on craigslist found a $300 beater, drove up to Denali and a few other places, and then left it on the curb at the Airport check-in level when they left town.


Have you guys heard of Turo? Itís like Air BnB but for cars. I just booked a 2017 Tacoma for $51 a day, 1200 miles free and $38/100 miles after that. I havenít used it before but know others who say itís great, itís the cheapest way by far to rent a car. Hope itís not a jokeÖsure beats $200 a day for a Festiva.

Last edited by RockCrick; 06/16/21 08:21 PM.
Re: Visiting Alaska [Re: RockCrick] #7288100
06/16/21 11:52 PM
06/16/21 11:52 PM
Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 5,566
Wisconsin
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Moosetrot Offline
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Wisconsin
My advice would be to buy a "Milepost". It's an Alaskan travel guide that covers the entire state. It is published by Alaska Magazine. It goes mile by mile offering suggestions on what to do and see. There are a lot of ads in there for rentals, motels, etc. I have been to Alaska several times and each time I have used the Milepost to help us get around. Great resource for getting around up there.

Moosetrot

Re: Visiting Alaska [Re: RockCrick] #7288249
06/17/21 09:40 AM
06/17/21 09:40 AM
Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 32,038
McGrath, AK
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white17 Offline

"General (Mr.Sunshine) Washington"
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McGrath, AK
By the way............the last time I was through Paxson ( three years ago) there was no place to stay. Paxson lodge was closed. So take things like that into consideration.

After reading Gulo's post above I'm going to make a suggestion considering your limited time available.

After picking up your car..........drive south to Whittier. Spend the night. Take the Ferry the next day to Valdez. Spend the night.
Drive north on the Richardson HWY to Paxson and then take the Denali hwy west to Tangle lakes. Spend the night (if Tangle Lakes Lodge is open). Next day drive on to Cantwell and maybe north a bit to the Denali park entrance. Drive in as far as Savage River 12-15 miles or so.

You can spend the night a couple miles north of the park entrance.......there some old railroad cars on the west side of the highway. The rooms are decent. Next day drive south to Anchorage and take the first thing smoking out of there !

Keep food and water in your car all the time. Never know what might be closed these days


Mean As Nails
Re: Visiting Alaska [Re: Moosetrot] #7288310
06/17/21 10:54 AM
06/17/21 10:54 AM
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 241
Oregon
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RockCrick Offline OP
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RockCrick  Offline OP
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Joined: Apr 2009
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Oregon
Originally Posted by Moosetrot
My advice would be to buy a "Milepost". It's an Alaskan travel guide that covers the entire state. It is published by Alaska Magazine. It goes mile by mile offering suggestions on what to do and see. There are a lot of ads in there for rentals, motels, etc. I have been to Alaska several times and each time I have used the Milepost to help us get around. Great resource for getting around up there.

Moosetrot


Thanks, Iíve been reading their website all morning
, waiting for it to arrive in the mail. Lots of good info.

Re: Visiting Alaska [Re: RockCrick] #7288323
06/17/21 11:22 AM
06/17/21 11:22 AM
Joined: Feb 2021
Posts: 219
Alaska
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Oh Snap Offline
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Joined: Feb 2021
Posts: 219
Alaska
Whiteís last post is probably what I would suggest except leave from Fairbanks. I couldnít drive into Anchorage twice in the same week personally!
Being Labor Day week the game is going to be scarce since hunting starts then in a lot of areas.
Denali Highway a must the 1st. of September with the fall colors and if you can get on the bus to Wonder Lake would be your best bet for seeing game IMO.


I love the smell of burning spruce---I love the sound of a spring time goose---I love the feel of 40 below---from my trapline I will never go!
Re: Visiting Alaska [Re: RockCrick] #7288355
06/17/21 12:21 PM
06/17/21 12:21 PM
Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 957
Alaska Northwestern
That Fool Offline
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Alaska Northwestern
may be best to buy a car while you are here in Alaska, people are paying around 500 a day to rent cars in Anchorage. One of my relatives just decided to buy a used car for their vacation down in the area.

Re: Visiting Alaska [Re: RockCrick] #7288533
06/17/21 07:06 PM
06/17/21 07:06 PM
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 241
Oregon
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RockCrick Offline OP
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Oregon
Thanks everyone for the info. I cut Tok out but still plan to go to Fairbanks but will take the Richardson Highway to Glennallen, seems like a more scenic drive from what Iíve read online.

We land at 6 pm so Iím going to book something in Palmer or nearby for the first night, (heeding advice to get out of Anchorage and the lodging there is ridiculous) then go the Fairbanks (the wife really wants to go to North Pole). Then go down to Glennallen (maybe run up the Denali highway from Paxson 30 miles or so and back track? if we donít spend too much time in North Pole) and stay in Glennallen on night 3. Debating on going to Valdez for a day and stay in Glennallen again or down the Kenai for a night then back to Anchorage for the last night to catch our early flight. I figure they will be long days of driving with stops but thatís usually how we do vacations, 10 hours of driving and sightseeing.

Whatís everyoneís opinions on what the Kenai will be like on the wednesday and thursday after Labor Day. Will some of the traffic be thinned out mid week versus the weekend? Is Valdez better or worse from a eat food and walk around and buy souvenirs perspective?

Re: Visiting Alaska [Re: RockCrick] #7288733
06/18/21 12:17 AM
06/18/21 12:17 AM
Joined: Feb 2021
Posts: 219
Alaska
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Oh Snap Offline
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Alaska
North Pole and Valdez each one can be thoroughly explored in a couple hours. Glennallen bit less. Our opinion! Maybe we have been here too long and a lot of the old road houses have closed down like Paxson Lodge. Even if it reopened wouldnít be the same.


I love the smell of burning spruce---I love the sound of a spring time goose---I love the feel of 40 below---from my trapline I will never go!
Re: Visiting Alaska [Re: RockCrick] #7288991
06/18/21 11:58 AM
06/18/21 11:58 AM
Joined: May 2011
Posts: 391
Anchorage, Alaska
broncoformudv Offline
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Posts: 391
Anchorage, Alaska
The drive from Glennallen to Valdez is the most scenic of the drives you have mentioned and worth the trip. The city of Valdez itself doesn't have much to offer. Going to Fairbanks you should check out the university museum and the car museum, North Pole only has the Santa Claus House.

I can't think of any reason to drive to Kenai. Thats road is usually very congested during the summer months even on weekdays.

Re: Visiting Alaska [Re: RockCrick] #7289020
06/18/21 12:49 PM
06/18/21 12:49 PM
Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 32,038
McGrath, AK
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white17 Offline

"General (Mr.Sunshine) Washington"
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McGrath, AK
X2 !!

I would also say..........skip Talkeetna


Mean As Nails
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