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Old February 3rd, 2006, 06:04 PM
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Default Denali Natural History Tour

Has anyone taken this tour and if so, was it enjoyable? We are scheduled on this tour during the land part of our trip this summer. I have read on another board that thsi Natural History tour is a "waste of time." I'm hoping someone will tell me that that's not the case! Thanks!
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Old February 4th, 2006, 02:25 AM
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Sorry, it is the case. A complete waste of time. Cruisecritic- where you posted, has extensive experts with totally accurate information.

Since you may not know the options in Denali Park- I'll list them. There are 2 tours to consider- Natural History and Tundra Wilderness and the shuttle buses. The Park Road INTO Denali Park is 90 miles. ALWAYS- farther is better- for scenery and wildlife viewing opportunities. The Tundra Wilderness tour goes to mile 16, same as the Public road. Some wildlife possible, but just as often not, definately not the scenery that is further into the park, completely missing Polychrom Pass. Tundra Wilderness tour goes to mile 53. But anyone who has been there, 9 times out of 10 will only consider at min. Fish Creek Shuttle to mile 63, of which is my recommendation. Shuttles are 1/3 the cost of the tour buses, but you do have to bring in all your own food and drink.

IF You do get someone to post for you that the NHT was fine, I'll just about guarantee they never have been there before nor got any farther into the park to know what they were missing.

Denali Park is usually a highlight, if it is a priority for you, don't even consider this tour and make the most of your Denali Park opportunities and get as far as you can into the park.

For a Photo confirmation- if you care to take a look at mine? ONLY wildlife photo within your tour were the 2 moose. http://community.webshots.com/user/budgetqueen
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Old February 6th, 2006, 09:49 AM
jq jq is offline
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Dana
I think Karen meant Natural History Tour only goes to mile 13. I am no expert but have taken three shuttle bus trips into denali and drivin twice to mile 13, end of paved road. The only animals we have seen in that section have been moose and not many of those. We saw tons of animals in trips to Toklat River, Fishcreek, and Wonder Lake but they were always further down the road. So if interested in animals, you might check to see if you have time to take the tundra wilderness tour or shuttle.
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Old February 7th, 2006, 03:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karen16
Sorry, it is the case. A complete waste of time. Cruisecritic- where you posted, has extensive experts with totally accurate information.

Since you may not know the options in Denali Park- I'll list them. There are 2 tours to consider- Natural History and Tundra Wilderness and the shuttle buses. The Park Road INTO Denali Park is 90 miles. ALWAYS- farther is better- for scenery and wildlife viewing opportunities. The Tundra Wilderness tour goes to mile 16, same as the Public road. Some wildlife possible, but just as often not, definately not the scenery that is further into the park, completely missing Polychrom Pass. Tundra Wilderness tour goes to mile 53. But anyone who has been there, 9 times out of 10 will only consider at min. Fish Creek Shuttle to mile 63, of which is my recommendation. Shuttles are 1/3 the cost of the tour buses, but you do have to bring in all your own food and drink.

IF You do get someone to post for you that the NHT was fine, I'll just about guarantee they never have been there before nor got any farther into the park to know what they were missing.

Denali Park is usually a highlight, if it is a priority for you, don't even consider this tour and make the most of your Denali Park opportunities and get as far as you can into the park.

For a Photo confirmation- if you care to take a look at mine? ONLY wildlife photo within your tour were the 2 moose. http://community.webshots.com/user/budgetqueen
Yes, I did make a mistake, it is the NHT that should be noted above on the first reference to distance, Tundra Wilderness goes to mile 53.
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Old February 8th, 2006, 11:19 AM
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Karen, I have been told the trip to Fish Creek takes 8 hours. Why so long if it is only 63 miles?

Are we courting disaster to try it with a 10 year old you loves wildlife, but hates long car or bus rides?
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Old February 8th, 2006, 04:00 PM
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You won't find many people who have done different trips into denali that will recomm the NHT. It doesn't get far enough into denali to show you wildlife or the mtn. The shuttle buses are a cheaper way to go in further with knowledgable drivers who will stop whenever they or someone on bus see wildlife. We have done three times to different end points and all have been good. The problem is for many people who booked a cruisetour thru ship co is that they only have one night in denali and don't have enough time to have a real tour. If you are driving or have two nights there, you can often trade your NHT for the tundra wilderness tour or for a shuttle bus tour further into the park

Gitsy.
The reason it takes so long is that it is 63 miles one way and then back out. It is a narrow gravel road. Plus you are looking for wildlife which are harder to spot if going to fast. Plus you will stop whenever you see wildlife close to road for 10-15 minutes. Plus you will have rest stops about every 1.5hrs and a longer one at your turnaround point at Toklat River or Fishcreek. The time goes much faster than you think and your son should be ok. Take plenty of snacks and drinks, have some game boy or other diversioins. Many people tend to dose off on way back out because they aren't used to getting up super early to get to denali by 5:30 AM or so!!!
Here are some photos if you want to see what you should see:
http//:community.webshots.com/user/jq4653
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Old February 9th, 2006, 08:59 AM
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I answered elsewhere, but I think you answered your own question with your son "hating long bus rides". Frankly, you don't see kids on these buses and for a reason, scenery is the highlight most of the time. Wildlife is usually far off with binoculars necessary for each person. My recommended is 10 power.

It is a gravel road some sections one lane, slow going. Yell "stop" and the bus does. Interesting wildlife gets an extended look.

If you do determine your child is appropriate, I also suggest- double what you think is necessary in the way of games, DVD player, batteries and food. You have no way out, except to step off the bus in the middle of nowhere, hike some and get back on another.

I did suggest Seward and a Kenai Fjords boat trip which would offer more close up varied wildlife, plus a close up extended glacier view.
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