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Open Roads Forum  >  RVing in Canada and Alaska  >  Alaska

 > Denali NP-probable shutdown 2020 season-Updated 2/19/20

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PartyOf Five

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Posted: 12/21/19 02:44pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Sounds like a good plan Crowe; agree with the others that you'll see plenty even if you don't get to Polychrome. There's usually space at the park campgrounds near the entry; might be worthwhile to book a backup site at Riley Creek etc. Enjoy your trip (enough if its not per plan)!


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Posted: 12/22/19 08:41am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Please don't change your travel plans due to part of the road being closed (might be), Alaska has so much more than Denali NP. Every animal in the park can also be seen outside of the park, it's not like a zoo. The views from the south side are spectacular (Byers Lake area, Trapper Creek, Talkeetna), I see it on my daily drive (weather permitting) and never get tired of its splendor.


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PA12DRVR

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Posted: 12/22/19 10:39am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

For my $0.02, recognizing the lower level of infrastructure, accessibility, etc, I think the Lake Clark area is preferable to the McKinley / Denali area. If there is time in the trip, it would probably still be worthwhile to visit the Denali area, drive in as far as one can, arrange flightseeing from the area, etc.

Camping (or some variant thereof) at Denali State Park can be pretty nice and for views of The Mountain, and the Mountains, there are pretty spectacular views available from the highway and from the road into Talkeetna.


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Crowe

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Posted: 12/22/19 05:58pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

All, please remember I don't have a camper and live in NH. Not yet retired so time is an issue.

If there is time in the trip, it would probably still be worthwhile to visit the Denali area, drive in as far as one can, arrange flightseeing from the area, etc.

We will still have to drive by there and the plan is to go into the park as far as we can and/or spend some time in Denali State Park. As I previously stated, it was a knee-jerk reaction to think about canceling the whole trip (fatigue does that). We have booked the Silver Salmon Creek Lodge in Lake Clark NP for when we were supposed to be in Denali and are very excited about it. We will be staying for 4 nights at Lake Clark whereas we only had 3 nights booked in Denali so we will not be staying a night in Talkeetna as originally planned. We got lucky, though-just before I contacted the lodge in Lake Clark they had a cancellation, otherwise we'd have to look elsewhere. I have numerous friends who have gone to Denali-some said it was the highlight of their trip, others said it wasn't that great. We will get to Denali at some point but for whatever reason fate is pushing us elsewhere.


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BB_TX

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Posted: 12/22/19 07:24pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Crowe wrote:

...........
I have numerous friends who have gone to Denali-some said it was the highlight of their trip, others said it wasn't that great. We will get to Denali at some point but for whatever reason fate is pushing us elsewhere.

If you catch Denali NP with clear weather the views are absolutely awesome.
If you are unlucky and catch it cloudy you may not even be able to tell The Mountain is there. And that is not uncommon.
We had both on the same trip. Taking the shuttle in we could not even see the base of The Mountain. Near dark clouds began to break. About 2 am the northern lights were out. And the next day not a cloud to be seen. And as we were leaving 2 days later clouds were moving back in. Timing was perfect. For us.

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Posted: 12/23/19 10:00am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Crowe,

That should be a good location....it won't be quite as "commercialized" as Brooks Falls and similar locations and you should have smaller groups (even factoring in the overnighters) to deal with for the bear watching and similar activities. FWIW, as you probably know already, coastal bear watching is a bit different than further inland: bears tend to be less concentrated, but so do the people. Hip boots are always a good thing as are telephoto lenses.

Crowe

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Posted: 12/23/19 11:47am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

That should be a good location....it won't be quite as "commercialized" as Brooks Falls and similar locations and you should have smaller groups (even factoring in the overnighters) to deal with for the bear watching and similar activities. FWIW, as you probably know already, coastal bear watching is a bit different than further inland: bears tend to be less concentrated, but so do the people. Hip boots are always a good thing as are telephoto lenses.

We've been to Katmai and loved it. Our son was 7 so there's something to be said for the ease of the bear viewing. Yes, it was crowded but I'd still recommend it to anyone. Fully understand it will be wet-have been to Afognak Island. The lodge we are staying at has rubber boots to borrow so we won't have to pack them. We have a 100-400mm zoom, 300mm fixed and a 500mm fixed for lenses. Hubby is looking for an excuse to get a 400mm fixed and this may be it! The 500mm is very difficult to travel with due to its size, especially when we are flying in to places where luggage is restricted. Telephoto lenses are essential when photographing wildlife.

fanrgs

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Posted: 12/31/19 10:55pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Guess I have been luckier than most as I have seen Denali in clear, sunny skies every time I have been there since 1972. Have also had a grizzly walk directly under my bus window on the Denali bus tour (I still have the photo taken from above). And we once had to stay on the bus at the Eielson Visitors Center because a mother grizzly and her cub were walking through the breezeway of the building. After we were allowed off the bus, we watched the two bears amble down the trail to the river for nearly 10 minutes.

We also have photos of a male caribou taken from ~150', several close photos of other caribou and a bull moose, and more distant photos of Dall sheep, all taken on Denali bus trips.

However, our best bear photos were of a mother grizzly and her FOUR yearling cubs in Valdez. Every evening, she led the cubs along the road to the Alaska Pipeline terminal to get to the fish hatchery. There they gorged themselves on the salmon returning to their birthplace to spawn.


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Crowe

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Posted: 01/01/20 07:29am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Sent the official cancellation request to the lodge. We have booked the lodge in Lake Clark NP and will visit Denali at some other time.

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