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amisup

Anchorage to Denali Scenic Spots

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We will be driving from Anchorage into Denali. Our hotel is in Healy. And we plan to spend 1/2 of that first day and the entire second day exploring Denali.  I wanted to know what are some scenic spots along the way that are not too much off the main road.

We will leave Anchorage at 9 am and need to get to Denali well before the dog sled show at 4 so I don’t want to do long detours or difficult hikes given that we have bunch of seniors in our group. 

 

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This doesn't allow as much time for stops as you'd think .  On a good day it takes almost 5 hrs for that drive of 240 miles.  I assume you'll be stopping for lunch. Check this site before you leave to check for hwy delays due to road repairs.

http://511.alaska.gov/alaska511/mappingcomponent/index

 

You'll need to be at the Denali around 3pm to get parked, pay your entry fee, then catch the shuttle to the sled dogs ( or walk).  

 

Most people would probably use this extra time to stop off in Talkeetna for a look around and have lunch.

 

My favorite stop along the way is the Eklutna Spirit Houses and Orthodox Church. About 20 miles north of Anchorage, a 5 minute detour off the hwy.  You can make this a quick stop by just viewing the spirit houses from the parking lot , or spend $5 and 30 minutes to walk around the grounds.

http://www.eklutnahistoricalpark.org/

 

Veterans in the group would appreciate the Veterans Memorial just off the hwy, by Denali State Park . 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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If you get the book Milepost - a tremendous additional to our 9 day land tour. It will give you all kinds of information, including mile markers of when to stop to see Denali all along the highway. Covers Alaska and parts of Canada. 

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Posted (edited)

I would make it a goal to leave earlier than 9am. Forgo sleeping. There is plenty of light and we missed out driving east from Wasilla to the Mantanuska Glacier. There were many things we could have spent TIME doing that we passed up because of schedules. One source I ran across when researching our trip was at http://www.denali101.com/denalinationalpark/see_mt_Mckinley.html

Edited by masterdrago

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We stopped at Denali viewpoint north and south which are pull offs right on the road.  We drove to Healy and made it late afternoon but we made sandwiches and weren't in any hurry.  

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My stops are the K'esugi Ken Campground and walk the Moose Flats Loop Trail. And at mile 147 the Veteran's Memorial.

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2 hours ago, amisup said:

We will be driving from Anchorage into Denali. Our hotel is in Healy. And we plan to spend 1/2 of that first day and the entire second day exploring Denali.  I wanted to know what are some scenic spots along the way that are not too much off the main road.

We will leave Anchorage at 9 am and need to get to Denali well before the dog sled show at 4 so I don’t want to do long detours or difficult hikes given that we have bunch of seniors in our group. 

 

 

You're going to be surprised how time is different in Alaska.  I can't explain it.  If I were you, I'd leave at 7 AM if possible.  The extra two hours, you're going to need it.  I've done quite a bit of highway touring around in Alaska and it's a safe thing to allow twice the expected amount of time to get from A to B.  There's a lot to see and things of interest that will take more time than you're expecting.  Don't be rushed.  The highway from Anchorage to Denali is mostly 2-lane once you're past Wasilla and the least oops can delay you - a wreck, road construction, etc.  A stop in Talkeetna is interesting - though it's about 15-16 miles off of the main highway.  Good luck!

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North of Mary's McKinley View Lodge are several pull-outs/camp grounds which have nice views of Denali if the mountain is visible.  When overnighting at the Princess McKinley Lodge we check out and then drive to Mary's Lodge for breakfast.  Mary's also  has great views of Denali.

 

Folks have such different opinions of Talkeetna.  One person once posted that they thought it was the quintessential Alaskan small community, but as someone who lives in Alaska I see it as the quintessential tourist trap.

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Thank you everyone for chiming in. This definitely is helpful

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