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Anchorage/Fairbanks/Denali trip advice for newbie

Discussion in 'Alaska' started by PROseur, Jan 17, 2019.

  1. Jan 17, 2019 at 1:19 PM
    #1
    PROseur

    PROseur [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Never been to Alaska. Always on bucket list. Appreciate help from the locals.


    I will be in Anchorage June 27-30 at Captain Hook Hotel in downtown Anchorage for a conference.

    We can arrive June 21, so that gives us 5 days to go around Alaska before the conference. Additionally my conference is only half days, so we can still do stuff around Anchorage the other half of the day.

    We can rent a car from Anchorage Airport. Denali is a must do. Need to figure out where to stay etc.

    Is Fairbanks something we should do?

    Must do's in Anchorage?

    Appreicate any help you locals can provide for me.
     
  2. Jan 18, 2019 at 8:27 AM
    #2
    SnowroxKT

    SnowroxKT Well-Known Member

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    If you like pizza check out the Moose's Tooth (famous for beer and pizza). Local hike that is pretty short is Flattop, easy to get to and maybe half a day hike, maybe after one of your conference half-days? June is a little early for fishing, but a charter could probably get you some halibut or something. The drive down to Homer and the Hoer spit is a long one but is very pretty. At least drive down to Girdwood and check out the Double Musky and a newer place along the way is Froth & Forage- a little place with weird hours but amazing food. Both good dinner spots.

    Denali is super expensive and hotels book out way in advance, so book that now. Flightseeing tours of Denali are out of Talkeetna, a weird quirky town that has or still has a cat as a mayor...

    If you are going to Fairbanks you might want to stop by Chena Hot Springs, I haven't been but thats a popular spot.

    Depending on how comfortable you are in taking rental cars places, Hatcher Pass Road is a beautiful drive but often doesn't open until July 4th weekend. You could drive in from the Willow side, just not connect over the pass. Independence mine in Hatcher Pass is a cool site. Also, McCarthy is on my list to see... From Denali you could take the Denali Highway to Glennallen, then down and over to McCarthy to see the old Kennicott Mine there.

    Feel free to ask more questions, happy to help.
     
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  3. Jan 18, 2019 at 12:39 PM
    #3
    PROseur

    PROseur [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Thank you

    Girdwood is something we will do

    Chena Hot Springs is on the must do list

    Drive to Kenai Peninsula and national park there worth it ?

    Will look at Denali hotels tonight ... are there hotels between Denali and Fairbanks we can stay instead ?

    Talkeetna is something we want to stop at also
     
  4. Jan 18, 2019 at 12:46 PM
    #4
    crazysccrmd

    crazysccrmd Well-Known Member

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    There’s pretty much nothing between Denali and Fairbanks. There’s also pretty much nothing worth coming to Fairbanks to see. It’s a good stopping point for other trips but the town itself is just another town.
     
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  5. Jan 18, 2019 at 12:50 PM
    #5
    AK Taco

    AK Taco Your opinion? Fuck it.

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    Totally depends on what you want/like to do. Mid June is prime King salmon fishing time on a decent number of rivers North and South of Anchorage, as well as Ship creek which is about a two second drive from the Cook.

    Lots of fun hikes to do in the Anchorage bowl, but if you want to avoid the masses of people I'd stay away from Flattop. It gets packed on the weekends in the summer.


    Unless you're gonna go all the way up in to Denali National Park itself, you can see Denali just fine from Talkeetna, and the drive is much shorter. Same deal with Homer, its a long drive for a place that's interesting, but really not worth driving 8-9 hours round trip unless you're gonna do a halibut charter or something there as well. If you've only got a few days to get around, I would hate to spend half that time just driving.
     
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  6. Jan 18, 2019 at 3:41 PM
    #6
    PROseur

    PROseur [OP] Well-Known Member

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    So we should skip Fairbanks?
     
  7. Jan 18, 2019 at 3:41 PM
    #7
    PROseur

    PROseur [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Friend at work proposed the following:

    Friday - Fly in to Anchorage - stay the night.

    Sat wake up drive down to Seward/Kenai Peninsula. Do the Kenai Fjords National park, some sight seeing in Seward if possible.
    Sunday Do more in Seward that we missed, and drive up to Talkeetna, and stay the night.

    Monday - spend all day in Denali and head up to Fairbanks night time.

    Tuesday - Spend all day in Fairbanks and stay the night.

    Wed- drive the 6.5 hours down to Anchorage.

    Thurs/Fri/Sat stay in Anchorage.
     
  8. Jan 18, 2019 at 3:42 PM
    #8
    PROseur

    PROseur [OP] Well-Known Member

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    We would love to hike. We do some fishing in Montana.

    So you recommend going to Talkeetna, and skiing going to Denali?
     
  9. Jan 18, 2019 at 3:42 PM
    #9
    PROseur

    PROseur [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Kids really want do a ride in a Seaplane. Any suggestions for that?
     
  10. Jan 18, 2019 at 3:46 PM
    #10
    crazysccrmd

    crazysccrmd Well-Known Member

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    Unless you find something you want to do here that isn’t an option anywhere else. Can’t think of anything that would be though.
     
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  11. Jan 18, 2019 at 3:46 PM
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    SnowroxKT

    SnowroxKT Well-Known Member

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    Lake Hood is the busiest seaplane airport in the world. Right in Anchorage so do that then. Rust's flying service and a number of other companies operate planes from there.

    King fishing this year might not be open, they closed a lot of the fisheries due to horrible runs last year and low predicted runs this year.
     
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  12. Jan 18, 2019 at 3:47 PM
    #12
    SnowroxKT

    SnowroxKT Well-Known Member

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    If you are taking fairbanks off I would add a day for Homer, and a day in Seward. You can also take the train to/from Seward from Anchorage so keep that an option.
     
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  13. Jan 18, 2019 at 3:49 PM
    #13
    crazysccrmd

    crazysccrmd Well-Known Member

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    The train runs up to Denali also. Would make for nice relaxing sightseeing if the weather is good.
     
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  14. Jan 18, 2019 at 3:59 PM
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    MFTAF13

    MFTAF13 Well-Known Member

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    Take the Seward Highway to Portage and see the glaciers and the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. On the way back have dinner at the Double Musky in Girdwood. Local to Anchorage, Flattop is a good hike and Moose's Tooth is great pizza and beer. If you're up for a great dive bar in Anchorage, check out Darwin's Theory.
     
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  15. Jan 18, 2019 at 4:17 PM
    #15
    PROseur

    PROseur [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Never been. Aside from hot springs and some car museum haven’t heard anything about it

    You are local I trust your judgement
     
  16. Jan 18, 2019 at 4:23 PM
    #16
    PROseur

    PROseur [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Great, I will see if I can book something for the flying :) thanks
     
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  17. Jan 18, 2019 at 4:24 PM
    #17
    PROseur

    PROseur [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like might have to scratch Fairbanks

    I can definitely add a day as you suggested

    Are the train rides scenic ? We will have a car the whole time, so I want to take trains if I am getting something in addition. Thanks
     
  18. Jan 18, 2019 at 4:25 PM
    #18
    PROseur

    PROseur [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Will look into that for sure. If we don’t go to Fairbanks- maybe park the car in anchorage and do a train ride to Denali and back ?

    The cat mayor town - is that a must see?
     
  19. Jan 18, 2019 at 4:26 PM
    #19
    PROseur

    PROseur [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Excellent suggestions . Since we will definitely do the Seward highway

    You guys do think Kenai peninsula and national park there is worth the trip ?

    Portage and conservation center I will add

    Thanks
     
  20. Jan 18, 2019 at 5:36 PM
    #20
    PROseur

    PROseur [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Any thoughts on this:


    • -Drive to Seward. Stop at GIrdwood to see the Aerial Tram.

    • -Do Wildlife Conservation Park

    • -Take a Kenai Fjords Tour.

    • -Sea Life Center in Seward

    • T-ake a Dog Mushing Kennel tour in Seward.

    • -Go to the Talkeetna Ranger Station on way to Denali.

    • Anchorage:
    RUSTS Flying service for sea plane.

    Aviation Museum
    Ship Creek

    Glen Alps
    Flat Top
     

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