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Old January 21st, 2002, 09:42 PM
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Default What is the best way to see Denali?

I am really getting confused as to what is the best way to see the Park,Tour or Shuttle? I thought that the Tundra tour would take you to at least Eilson and now I read thaat it doesn't. I know that so many of you have done this PLEASE HELP those of us who want to do it right.
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Old January 22nd, 2002, 01:20 PM
Shar
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Default Re: What is the best way to see Denali?

Hi Shelley!
You definitely would want to take the shuttle. I checked the park website and the shuttle reservation portion isn't on-line right now. The shuttle is especially nice because you can pick your destination and you can also get on and off, if you want to do some hiking. You are also contributing to the park system rather than some tour agency. The bus drivers on the shuttles are great tour guides and keep radio contact with the other busses, just in case there's a bear on the road or some such great photo op,

http://www.denalinationalpark.com/

Shar
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Old January 24th, 2002, 01:26 PM
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Default Re: What is the best way to see Denali?

There are 2 distinct buses into Denali Park. Most people are totally unaware there are more than one. There are 2 tour buses, Nature tour - 17 miles in - don't waste your time- usually no wildlife in any numbers. Tundra wildlife tour- 53 miles, you can not get off the bus except at the scheduled stops, a box lunch is included. The Shuttle buses are NOT guided, but I have never taken a trip in where the bus driver did not at least give some information. They stop at the 2 campgrounds, Eielson mile 66, Wonder Lake mile 85 and Kantishna- but you are not allowed off at Kantishna except in a very limited area as it is all private property. You would be better to purchase the overnight package there. Last year the shuttle to Eielson was $23. MOST people do not get off the bus except at the scheduled stops, but Eielson is worthwhile place to stay - hike and catch a later bus. It is also vitally important in my opinion to get the first bus out. The reasons- there are likely to be empty seats- NONE on later trips. This may allow you a single seat and have the person you are going with to sit across from you. that way you have full viewing of both sides without leaning over a full bus of strangers. , going early I always go to my destination then if I do stop - I stop on the way back. Moose and caribo are early morning animals, usually my bear viewing is quadruple on the way back- later arisers. If you return on the same bus you are out by mid afternoon- this would give you the opportunity for any of the range led activities, or the 4pm dog sledding demostration. I only go to Wonder Lake AFTER mid August- you will get eaten alive before then unless heavily armed with deep and bug masks. Hope this clearly sets the options straight.
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Old January 24th, 2002, 03:49 PM
Greg Lamberth
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Default Re: What is the best way to see Denali?

The first shuttle bus during late July/early August is at 5:30 AM. THere is also a "Ranger guided hike" at 1:30PM at Eielson.
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Old January 26th, 2002, 08:44 AM
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Default Re: What is the best way to see Denali?

this is going to allow you a LONG time at Eielson as you would be there by 10:30am, but it may not be worth the wait. BE SURE to "reserve" your intention to return by a later bus at the booth, as all initial bus passengers have preference on bus seats and are allowed on first. The ranger then gets an open seat count and that many are put on the bus. After the ranger activies you may have to wait a few buses to get a seat as there are a lot of people who participate. You also have to be prepared for being split up from your group, a big negative for some people who insist on seats together. An option would be to plan for a bus at least an hour after the ranger activity ends for more seating options - PERHAPS.
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Old January 28th, 2002, 08:25 AM
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Default Re: What is the best way to see Denali?

How often do the shuttles run?
I have two kids, so the 5:30 AM shuttle may be a bit early!!
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Old January 28th, 2002, 11:38 AM
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Default Re: What is the best way to see Denali?

Lorraine,
While I have never been there, I have been researching and getting help from several places, including Karen. The phone number for shuttle info and times is 1-800-622-7275 and the fax number is 907-264-4684. They will fax you a schedule and request form which you can fax back in. The times depend on what week you are going. From 5/26 until 6/19, the earliest buses are at 7:30, and after 6/20, they start at 5:30 until until 8/21. Good luck and lets hope there is not a late snow in Denali, which would change everything.
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Old January 28th, 2002, 11:49 AM
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Default Re: What is the best way to see Denali?

Hi Karen,
Have you ever taken the tundra wildife tour to toklat etc? I realize it is more money, but wonder if the narration and their training for this one tour makes any difference on what we might spot, animalwise, especially if like most cruise passengers who don't have more than one day or maybe two to get our first experience with Denali. I see where your advice makes sense if hiking is a part of what you want to do as well as getting off for a while. When the shuttles stop at Eielson, do they stay for 15 minutes, then leave or do they stay for a while? I still haven't found a free site or # to check if Eielson will have anything going on the first day it opens on June 1st or if the nature walks, etc don't start until 6/15?

Thanks for your continued knowledge sharing on Alaska!
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Old January 28th, 2002, 05:30 PM
Shar
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Default Re: What is the best way to see Denali?

Lorraine,
They used to run at least one every hour. (Probably, more often than that). We rode on the 8:30am and stayed with the same bus. We had frequent rest stops and just got back on. I believe we were at Eielsen for about 1/2 hour and got back to the the Park Visitor Center around 4pm.

Shar
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Old January 28th, 2002, 05:30 PM
Shar
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Default Re: What is the best way to see Denali?

Lorraine,
They used to run at least one every hour. (Probably, more often than that). We rode on the 8:30am and stayed with the same bus. We had frequent rest stops and just got back on. I believe we were at Eielsen for about 1/2 hour and got back to the the Park Visitor Center around 4pm.

Shar
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Old January 29th, 2002, 05:47 PM
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Default Re: What is the best way to see Denali?

You aren't going to see any more wildlife on the tours, the buses go a single road and all buses stop when wildlife is viewed. Wildlife viewing is varied and different thoughtout the day. I always get the first bus out. It is important for me to has a nonfull bus. Any later buses will be full. As I always post - I won't consider a trip that does not go to at least Eielson- mile 66, Tolkat is mile 53. Eielson stops are generally 30-45 minutes. IF you do want a later shuttle bus - stop at the ranger booth and indicate this and get on the list. Rangers come on departing shuttle buses and fill the vacant seats with standbys. This is another reason I go on the first bus- no one waiting to leave. so bus is still roomy but it can and does pick up campers along the road.
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Old January 29th, 2002, 05:50 PM
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Default Re: What is the best way to see Denali?

Various times and up to every 15 minutes in peak season. It is still beneficial to get the first shuttle and getting up early. Be sure to have your kids sit in seats across from you and not on the same side. You want visability from both sides and it is better not to have to peer over strangers. Buses usually from 0800 are full, and tour buses are almost always consistantly full.
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Old January 29th, 2002, 10:14 PM
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Default Re: What is the best way to see Denali?

Thanks for all the info...I guess we will be getting up early (really early)and taking the 5:30 shuttle
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