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Tour into Denali

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Hi everyone!

I am booked on a bus tour into Denali. I believe that the tour is 3 hours long. I would like to upgrade to the Princess tour that is like 9 hours long. My friend is worried about sitting so long. Does the bus stop often and do you get to walk around? I would hate to miss this.

 

Thank you.

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It is the only tour to take. Yes, they do stop a lot. If your friend does not want to do the long tour, you should let him do whatever they want to do a take the long one. The short one barely gets into the park.

 

DON

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We did the long tour to Denali and highly recommend it. You travel so much further into the park than you do on the History tour. It is well worth the extra money.

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A few years ago we rented a small plane to fly the four of us into the park and then caught the tour bus out. The "tourist" bus was pretty full so we caught the camper bus out. It was empty and the driver (while he said he didn't do commentary) was a great guide and pointed out the bears and cariboo all along the way and answered all our questions. The flight in was great fun and not unreasonably expensive, and the bus ride out - about 3 hours - was great. We were lucky that where ever no campers picked up on the way out so there was lots of room and got the drivers personal attention. Great experience.

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If I were you, I would cancel the Natural History Tour and get a refund of about $75. Then book the transit shuttle to Eielson. It will cost less than the refund you get and go even further than the Tundra Wilderness Tour. The only real difference is that you need to get to/from the Wilderness Access Center (Princess offers a free shuttle from 7am till about 7pm, outside those hours reserve in advance for about $5/person). Same road, same wildlife stops, drivers give commentary. Just no video equipment, but you go further and pay a lot less.

 

The flight in was great fun and not unreasonably expensive, and the bus ride out - about 3 hours - was great.

 

If you flew to Kantishna, the bus ride out was closer to 5 hours, not 3 hours. Goes to show you how quickly the time passes on the bus!

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I did the long tour a few years ago. Beware only one bathroom in the middle of the 9 hours. If I did it again I would just book a plane to see the mountain.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums

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On the Tundra Wilderness tour bathroom stops used to be at Teklanika, Polychrome, and Toklat on the way out (70 to 90 minutes apart) and you skip Polychrome on the way back. I think they might have gotten rid of the toilets at Polychrome though.

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I was researching this one and if I read a previous post right we can get a refund of $75 if we cancel?

I was then thinking about booking the Kantishna tour through Princess and then do the best price guarantee (difference between Princess and NPS is $67 right now) and get some OBC.

Anyone done that?

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Thank you so much everyone. This is probably my only trip to Alaska so it’s Go Big or Go Home!

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Thank you so much everyone. This is probably my only trip to Alaska so it’s Go Big or Go Home!

 

 

If this is your only trip and you really want to Go Big, consider either changing the date of your cruisetour or switching from a southbound to a northbound trip that will get you to Denali after June 1. End of May is shoulder season for the Tundra Wilderness Tour, which does not go its full distance into the Park at that time. If you do consider the Shuttle (goes further than Tundra Wilderness Tour and is cheaper, per frugaltravel's post), then you are far better off arriving after June 1, when the Shuttle goes its full distance and the Eielson Visitor Center opens.

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We took the TWT this last July and we were not impressed. We got a few photo stops with 10 mins at each stop. It was so rushed. The next day we did some hiking and took the shuttle. There were plenty of space and not crowded like TWT or Kantishna. The driver stopped for us when there were wildlife.

We did not book the tour through Princess because it was cheaper to book directly if I remembered it correctly. You can also get a $10 refund for each person if you have the National Park pass.

The bus picked up people at Princess lodge first. So by the time the bus got to the Wilderness Center, the seats on the driver’s side were almost gone.

If I have a chance to do it again, I would do the shuttle. I hate being rushed and trying to get a good photo when there are 80 other people.

 

 

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So much misinformation above.

 

There are never 80 people on any bus into the park, whether it be a tour bus or a transit/shuttle bus.

 

One poster mentions" when the shuttle goes its full distance and the Eielson Visitor Center opens." Yes, the Eielson Visitor Center opens on June 1, but the "full distance" with the shuttles doesn't happen until June 8 when the buses go the full 92.5 miles of the road to Kantishna.

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If you have the time, I would highly recommend staying for about three days at the Kantishna Road House at the end of the 92 mile road into Denali National Park. There is a main lodge, separate cabins for guests, day trips for fishing, hiking, even panning for gold, sled dog exhibitions, guest lecturers, and there is an airstrip close by for flights around Mt McKinley (Denali) if the weather permits, which it often doesn't. They have excellent food, and great hospitality. They use their own bus from near the Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge. Here is their website.

 

https://www.kantishnaroadhouse.com

 

Hope this helps.

 

bob123

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If I were you, I would cancel the Natural History Tour and get a refund of about $75. Then book the transit shuttle to Eielson. It will cost less than the refund you get and go even further than the Tundra Wilderness Tour. The only real difference is that you need to get to/from the Wilderness Access Center (Princess offers a free shuttle from 7am till about 7pm, outside those hours reserve in advance for about $5/person). Same road, same wildlife stops, drivers give commentary. Just no video equipment, but you go further and pay a lot less.

 

 

 

I heartily second this advice. We cancelled our Princess tour and took the park bus as far as Eielson. It was a long day there and back, but so worth it. Sit on the left side of the bus going in. :D

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The Kantishna Roadhouse doesn't have rights to travel back into the heart of the park. You basically do activities you can do anywhere else in Alaska for a fraction of the lodging cost.

 

If you stay in Kantishna the North Face Lodge and Camp Denali are the only two lodges that can transport you back into the heart of the park for hiking, wildlife viewing etc.

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