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 > Planning summer 2022 trip to Alaska Fly/Rent

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Grit dog

Black Diamond, WA

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Posted: 11/03/21 10:05am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

After living there for a year and realizing how little we actually saw during the one summer we were there, (Typical summer, working full time+, mostly weekend trips and kids started football in end of July) I would not try to "see it all".

I've never taken the bus through Denali. We did camp there early in the spring when it opened to locals and drove up a ways. Regardless it seems like a destination so I'd try to include that if you're inclined.
I'd boondock everywhere except Denali and down on the Kenai Peninsula (but there are good boondock places there, know a couple that are awesome, but not on the side of the highway).

If I went back for 2 weeks, I'd spend up to a week on the Kenai Pen, maybe less depending on how much of a loop you want to do elsewhere. Whale watching and glacier tours are cool. But if you fish, I'd go halibut/salmon fishing. Still see whales, still see glaciers but not close up and you generally come away with some good eatin!
Then I'd head to Denali, then Denali Hwy (if you're ok with breaking the "rules" in your rental), down to Chitina and Mc Carthy and back.

Caveat, never made the Denaili Hwy trip, nor did we make it all the way to Mc Carthy (got held up too long fishing...) so maybe that's why I recommended those locations.

IMO, not enough time to go to Fbks and other locations north in the same trip.
And if you're looking to kill a half day back near Achorage, Hatcher Pass is beautiful, road is good (but another non no location with the rental rules).

FWIW, some friends rented a moho and we hit every dirt road that was on our path. They brought the moho back dirty (not trashed, but could tell it went off pavement) and no issues because they didn't damage anything.


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PA12DRVR

Back in God's Country

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Posted: 11/03/21 11:22am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Veebyes wrote:

To me there are at least three distinct Alaskas. Southeast Alaska is the cruiser's Alaska, where the only access is by sea. Southern Alaska, which includes Kenai Denali, Fairbanks, basically where the paved roads are, belongs to the RVers. The rest of Alaska you had better have wings to get there.


For lots of purposes...including suggesting where to go...this is about as good a breakdown as it gets. FWIW some general suggestions:

- As noted by others, no matter the duration of your trip, don't pack it so full you can't slow down and enjoy the visit: as an example, I can make the drive to Fairbanks in about 6 hours on the Parks, but I prefer to plan on 10-12 hours on the Glenn and Richardson highways just to enjoy the scenery more, so whenever I drive to Fairbanks, I plan a full day.....given how slow the ol PA-12 flies, I also plan a full day to fly there as well [emoticon]

- While the OP has ruled out flying, I'd just suggest that, no matter which region, there is an order of magnitude more scenery (including wildlife) to see from the air than on the surface...

- Again, almost...almost regardless of region, look for opportunities and sights to see that are a short (30 min) or longer (couple of hours?) hike or walk off the road: i.e. Exit Glacier in Seward, Matanuska Glacier in the, strangely enough, Matanuska Valley, etc.


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4runnerguy

Glenwood Springs, CO

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Posted: 11/04/21 10:45am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Both times I've been to AK, I flew up and rented a car and car camped so I can't help you with the RV questions. Also did some backpacking (see my signature pic).

If I was on a limited schedule, I'd sure plan for a lot of my time on the Kenai Peninsula. While I live in a state with pretty amazing mountains, we don't have mountains towering over the ocean nor the glaciers.

I'd pick a central location and day trip out from there. That gives more flexibility to decide what to do based on the weather forecasts. (Didn't stay there, but Quartz Creek NFS CG does have flush toilets, which makes DW happy.)

We really enjoyed the 26 Glacier cruise out of Whittier, but we had absolutely beautiful blue skies, which can be a rarity there. With some flexibility, you might be able to pick a day with nice weather. We also took a glacier cruise out of Seward to view Kenai Fjords N.P. Kayaking out of Homer or Seward would also best be done with decent weather. One can hike along the beach south of Seward for quite a ways. When hiking on other trails into the forests, we wore bear bells. Don't know if they helped, but we never saw a bear on the trail, although there were lots of tracks.

Denali was also impressive, if for nothing else than its elevation. Waaaaay higher than anything here in CO. Did a bus trip into the park and did see some wildlife. Actually our best views of the mountain were from the highway heading north toward Denali.

Definitely plan on two weeks, or more if you can. Distances are pretty long and you'll want plenty of time to stop for pictures, hiking, and sightseeing along the way.


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Crowe

Merrimack, NH

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Posted: 11/04/21 02:02pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We really enjoyed the 26 Glacier cruise out of Whittier, but we had absolutely beautiful blue skies, which can be a rarity there.

Awesome cruise. We had a mixed bag of weather but the area is so impressive it doesn't matter.


I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be Douglas Adams

RV-less for now but our spirits are still on the open road.

PA12DRVR

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Posted: 11/04/21 04:32pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

When we have visitors from Outside, we typically recommend the 26 Glacier Cruise as a must-do for everyone, if they're not going to Southeast. Even in bad weather, it's a great experience and while it might be a bit of a long-ish day, it can be done as a day trip from Los Anchorage.

If the visitors are going to focus on Southcentral, we also recommend the Kenai Fjords Tour for the 2nd "should do it if there's any way you can" activity.

If one is going North of Los Anchorage, we always suggest: i) a flightsee of Denali..but since that's always weather dependent: ii) drive up and see the Alaska range from the road on the Parks Highway past Trapper Creek to Healy; and iii) on the drive to Talkeetna (the most likely spot for Denali sightseeing if one is not staying at the Park), be sure and stop on the way in to town..often the mountain is visible from the wayside when it's not visible closer to the Park.

Mike134

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Posted: 11/04/21 07:48pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

packpe89 wrote:

Thanks for the input so far. any rental advice?


We rented from a private party she has 4 or 5 class C's she rents fully equipped units. Was great to work with.

https://www.yelp.com/biz/explore-alaska-rv-rentals-llc-anchorage?hrid=rLtFmEgLJHV33OglJ5DY_Q&rh_type=phrase&rh_ident=meegan

As others have said the coastline is fabulous the interior reminded me of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

We went at the end of June, bought fancy new flashlights for the wife and I LOL the sun never sets that time of the year. Nice to get to a campground at 11:00 PM and the sun is still out when setting up


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4runnerguy

Glenwood Springs, CO

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Posted: 11/04/21 08:26pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Mike134 wrote:

We went at the end of June, bought fancy new flashlights for the wife and I LOL the sun never sets that time of the year. Nice to get to a campground at 11:00 PM and the sun is still out when setting up
Yep. Might need sleep masks more than a flashlight!

Crowe

Merrimack, NH

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Posted: 11/05/21 05:47am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

the sun never sets that time of the year.

That depends on where you are. It never gets truly dark but it does get dusky. You have to be in the extreme north for the 24 hours of daylight. Even Fairbanks has a sunrise and sunset in June, although it's very brief.

Memphisdoug

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Posted: 11/05/21 12:11pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Rented from Great Alaskan Holidays in 2008. We are going again in 2022 and renting from them again.


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packpe89

NC

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Posted: 11/08/21 08:04am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

So much helpful information. Book (Church) is ordered and on the way.

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