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Lonestar648

Denali NP Alaska

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I recommend taking the Alaska RR from Anchorage or Fairbanks to Denali NP station. The scenery is spectacular, which is an understatement. Denali NP is over 6,000,000 acres with only one road, mostly gravel and restricted in the park. We decided to stay at the Camp Denali operator, up scale but definitely wilderness, being 90 miles inside the park, with views of Mt. Denali (formerly McKinley) from every cabin or building. The Camp has its own buses that pick up and meet the Fairbanks arrival, the ride is slow so everyone can take photos of the different animals. About half way in, there is a gourmet picnic dinner. Each day every meal is provided, there are guided hikes by naturalists based on hiking skill ability. We chose their Friday arrival and Monday departure. I took over 1000 photos from bears, sheep to tundra turning its fall colors to the Alpenglow to Mt Denali in all its splendor. Denali NP can be seen on the day long tour buses, but to really see the animals, the mountains, etc. you need multiple days. Fairbanks has many attractions from Riverboats to gold mines. A must see tour is going along the Turnagain Arm for the beauty of the mountains and watching the beluga whales teaching their babies to hunt salmon.

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I had the good fortune to ride the Alaska RR in 1982. First I rode a special train to Seward from Anchorage. This was before regular service had resumed to Seward. Then I rode from Anchorage to Denali NP. I stayed overnight in the main lodge and rode the yellow school bus the next day out the main road into the park. Weather was clear so I saw Denali plus lots of wildlife! Denali is often socked in with clouds.

At the time the lodge still offered overnight lodging in parked sleeping cars, if I recall.

Later I continued my train journey north to Fairbanks.

 

My only regret on that vacation was not taking a conductor's offer in Anchorage to ride in the caboose to Portage. Oh well...

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I'm glad you saw wildlife. I had a 5:30 AM tour departure, and didn't see one, single animal! ^_^

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I rode the winter Aurora in a blazing blizzard at the north end in temps as low as -35F when we arrived in Fairbanks. It was quite a trip. This was over a Thanksgiving break a few years back.

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Thank you for this post. I'm considering this very trip next year. Any more details would be appreciated. How was the train itself? The food? Anything else or advice you might add. Thanks

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Any comments I might have about the food would be 30+ years outdated! When I rode it the operation was still under federal control. Now the state of Alaska operates it. Back when, much of the equipment was former Union Pacific including a dome car. Passenger cars have been replaced with newer equipment plus there are special cars attached belonging to cruise ship companies. I think that's still the case.

I would definitely recommend a layover at Denali Park. More than one night would be better.

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