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Old December 5th, 2005, 12:31 AM
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Default B&B near train depot in Anchorage? Other questions, too.

Anyone know of a nice B&B or small hotel near the train station in Anchorage? We will be getting into town at around 10 pm from Seward and then renting a car and driving up to Denali the next day, so don't really need anything too fancy- just a clean, convenient place to crash for the night. Is there food service on the train, or should we eat before we leave Seward?
I've read a couple of posts from people who've said they've gotten 4 star hotels for as low as $60 per night in Vancouver- I've placed a couple of bids so far ($75 and $95) for 2 nights and have been turned down. Any hints?
We're staying at the Mt. McKinley Princess Lodge in Denali- I know the park is huge and you're not allowed to take your car past certain points. How far away are we from where you get the Tundra Wilderness Tour? Would you suggest we take the flightseeing tour from Talkeetna? Are there other options for dining this area? Thanks in advance for your help!
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Old December 5th, 2005, 12:54 PM
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Few B&B's pick up, and it's not likely you will get into Anchorage at 10pm, look more at 10:30pm by time you get your bags. I stay between the Days Inn, Hojo and the 2 Ramada's depending on who is cheaper. All had depot and airport shuttles. Verify current offers. If you want a B&B, then perhaps, look at the accomdation list www.anchorage.net and do some searching? There is a dining car on the train, that serves good food, the menu may be online? But most times for me, I pick up a sub at the Seward subway, walkable to the depot.


For clairfication, I never recommend the Tundra Wilderness tour for an independent visitor, at triple the cost of the wonderful shuttle buses, it's just not anything I would ever consider. Every seat on these buses is also sold, where as on the shuttles, there may be some empty.

At the Princess Denali lodge, you are about a mile from the Denali Park entrance, another mile to the bus pick ups. But unless you got a great rate here, it's nothing special and congested with endless buses loading and unloading. But walkable to plenty of food options. I always stay in Healy, a short drive away with more solitude. And, yes, flightseeing out of Talkeetna is a top touring choice. I have gone with Talkeetna Aero the most, but also with Talkeetna Air Taxi and K2 Aviation. Plenty of venders to choose from, if using a toursaver coupon, book early, only so much space on the planes. Be aware of the different flight options, it's a big difference between a summit view and summit flights- over the top.
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Old December 5th, 2005, 03:33 PM
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Default Not staying at the Princess Denali...

I aam staying at the Mt. McKinley Princess Lodge, which is on the southern border of the park. Talked to the people at Talkeetna Aero and they have a coupon in the TourSaver for 2-4-1 @ $350 for flightseeing day trip out of Talkeetna which includes shuttle to Fish Creek and lunch. Departs out of Talkeetna at 7 am and gets back about 7 pm per Becky. Thinking that sounds like a pretty decent deal- she tells me the drive to Talkeetna from our lodge is about 40 minutes. Heard anything about the Arctic Fox B and B? Saw that recommended on TripAdvisor for stay in Anchorage...
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Old December 6th, 2005, 07:50 AM
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I misread your orginal post. The McKinley lodge is 50 miles from Talkeetna and out in the middle of nowhere, no activies essentially. And again, loaded with tour people with buses loading and unloading, only meal option around. I always stay in Talkeetna, a great funky town. Overall much better in my opinion.

No in my opinion it is not worthwhile to fly to Denali Park for a Fish Creek Shuttle if you have a car and are 50 miles from Talkeenta and only 100 from the park entrance if you stay at McKinley lodge. Superior are the scenic flightseeing excursions where it is not transportation based. The scenic flightseeing portion of that package is minimal compared to just flightseeing. Toursaver has a 2 for 1 flightseeing coupon that is more worthwhile in my opinion especially if you upgrade to the summit flights. Factor out your costs, the Fish Creek shuttle is only about $35pp
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Old December 6th, 2005, 12:43 PM
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Only reason we booked the Mt. McKinley Lodge is it was included in the 2-4-1 coupon book... the rest of the lodgings for Denali stipulated that they be used only Thursday, Friday, Sat. or Sun. We will be there Wed. and Thur. The Denali cabins were available, but not for use with the coupon (and it is only December!!!?). Thanks for the heads up- we DO have a car at our disposal, so we are open to suggestions on how best to use our time and what are the most worthwhile things to see and do.
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Old December 7th, 2005, 10:15 AM
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Since you have asked my opinion, I would never consider the priority of using a 2 for one coupon at the expense of a poor location, which in your case you are. There are no activies that are going to take up 2 days there and if Denali park is your destination, with endless opportunities for touring, then stay there.

The McKinley lodge in my opinion was built as a "holding" area, adding tour days with complete revenue going to Princess. The Denali Princess is always at capacity and now Princess mostly only includes the Natural History tour to move people along even faster.

Depending how much time you are budgeting for Alaska, if a couple weeks, then yes you can afford to have a couple down days. But if only a week- 10 days, then I would not waste 2 there.
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Old December 7th, 2005, 05:33 PM
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Default Thanks for your honesty!

It looks like a beautiful property, but if it is impractical to stay there, it sounds like we should change our plans. I can't believe how fast things book up! It is over 9 months away...
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Old December 8th, 2005, 07:27 AM
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Default Can u recommend places to stay in Talkeetna and Healy then?

I have decided to cancel my reservations at Mt. McKinley (hopefully there will be no penalty so far in advance) and look at accommodations closer to Park entrance. Any suggestions? Since I won't be able to use coupons from toursaver, is it possible to find a nice place for around $100 per night? Budget is being stretched pretty thin, and I want to have enough left to do a flightseeing tour!
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Old December 8th, 2005, 08:02 AM
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A great bargain motel that I have stayed in several times. Denali park motel. http://www.denaliparkhotel.com but you are going to be very hard pressed finding lodging for under $100.

Here are some listings of local lodging to Denali Park.
http://www.denalichamber.com/directo...ons/index.html
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Old December 12th, 2005, 12:21 AM
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I believe you might have made a mistake in canceling your McKinley Princess reservations, but that is only my opinion. Karen and I disagree on a couple of points here. She prefers to stay in Healy because of the “solitude�, which I can agree with. Also Healy is much closer to Denali entrance than the Mt. McKinley location, which also is an advantage. Karen has pointed out that in my past posts favoring the Mt. McKinley Lodge that I address only the “independent traveler�. Not true. I believe that those on tour will also experience more by staying on the south side of the range even though they want to go on into the park. For most of us who live up here the Denali highway area near the park entrance is a joke and Healy is pretty close to the joke. We refer to it as “Glitter Gulch�. You can’t have it both ways, solitude and the hustle and bustle associated with many tourist enterprises. It might cost you a little more for travel, but if you want a wilderness experience, do the south side. As I have posted before, the choice between the Denali Princess and the McKinley Princess depends upon how aggressive and energetic one is during a visit to Alaska. The Denali Princess, an excellent facility, but is located next to the Parks Highway on the Nenana River in the middle of a maze of resorts, motels, cabins, gift shops, guiding services, outfitters, etc. It is right next to the entrance to the federal park and a good place to stay if you are taking in many of the different tour and transportation services. Particularly, if you plan on an all day adventure into the Park. And you must take one of these safaris into the park if you are going to see the mountain from the north side, as you cannot see it from anywhere near glitter gulch. As far as check out confusion in the mornings at any of these big lodge facilities, such as everybody boarding busses and so on and so forth. Big deal, as far as I’m concerned you are going to experience that with any place that is worth staying at up here during peak season. If you aren’t checking out, then who cares, the dining room is real quiet and enjoyable at that time?

The McKinley Wilderness Princess is relatively remote and located on the south side of the Alaska Range, within the small Denali State Park. It is situated in that location primarily because of the excellent view of Mt. McKinley. It is on the edge of the Tokositna Wilderness and close to the general area where our famous painter, Sydney Laurence, (first half of the 20th century, he died in 1940) preferred to paint the mountain. If you visit the Anchorage Museum of History and Art in downtown Anchorage, don’t miss the huge painting of Laurence’s, which is a central exhibit of the museum. It is of the mountain and takes your breath away.

This lodge is much more laid back than the other locations although there really is a lot to do if one wants to. You can take the shuttle down to Talkeetna as well as take advantage of a number of excursions. And if you are an independent, and have your own wheels this would certainly facilitate doing about anything you desire from a transportation standpoint. But sadly, you may not see the mountain due to clouds, however, that is true wherever you are around the Alaska Range. Alaska style caveat emptor?

The McKinley Princess was the only Princess lodge up here we hadn’t stayed in until the 7th of September. That was our anniversary, so we went up there for a day and night. Just before dinner the great mountain came out in all its splendor. There were a lot of guests (Must be a lot of others that agree, as the latest expansion will take it up to almost 500 rooms) and I thought the lodge was going to tip over with everyone taking pictures and such, on the north side.

For what its worth my brother in law is a big bridge builder up here and he just completed about a million dollars worth of work on the Denali Princess for a expanded deck and retaining wall. But If it was up to me, I would book in at the McKinley Princess for a couple of nights then drive or take the shuttle up to the Federal Denali Park if I so desired, for tours, river rafting or whatever we determined to do or perhaps the regular shuttle down to Talkeena for flight seeing and gift shopping. But not so bad either, just laying about the lodge reading a book and taking in the atmosphere. 65 MPH out on the Parks from there, shuttle or your own vehicle, with the usual little traffic, gets you anywhere in a hurry so don’t sweat the distance, besides you get to take in the country enroute.
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