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doconner

Denali - Where to buy food for the day, and tourist bus scheduled times

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Hi there, 

    Two questions.   The first is hopefully easy:

 

1. I thought tourist bus tickets into Denali were hop on hop off style, however when attempting to book tickets for the 'Eielson Transit Bus' I have to choose a time that seems to be for the whole in and out journey. 

               e.g "(Wed) 9/4/2019 7:00 AM - 4:00 PM"  

 

   If I book this ticket, do I have to be on the 7am bus and then the subsequent bus that arrives back at the start at 4pm, or can I get on other buses?

The second question is more of a discussion topic.

2. I'm staying in Healy the night before going into Denali, what places are there to buy food to take with us into the park?    And also in general, I'm curious what food people do end up taking.   

 

Thanks,

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In answer to your first question: " All non-narrated buses, called transit buses, are designed to move people around within the park. They make regular restroom stops and wildlife-viewing stops, just like the narrated tour buses.

Unlike tour buses, however, you're not limited to staying on the bus in which you originally started. Thus, this is the type of bus you want to take if you're interested in a day hike, or just want to experience the park on your own terms rather than as part of a tour group.

If you get off your initial bus, you can flag down any other non-narrated bus going in your desired direction - i.e., farther into the park, or back towards the entrance. Re-boarding is on a seat-available basis, so you may wait anywhere from five minutes to an hour or more for a bus with ample seating. You'll recognize them at a distance, as non-narrated buses are green, whereas narrated tour buses are tan."
Taken from here: https://www.nps.gov/dena/planyourvisit/shuttles.htm

 

Food: There's a Three Bears grocery store in Healy that would have items for lunch. Or there's a Subway in Glitter Gulch.

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Will you have a car?  If so,   There are full service in Wasila  and Anchorage.  You do have to get on a shuttle bus,  at the scheduled time.   But,  just yell "stop"  and you can exit any place with no wildlife nearby.   As mentioned-   just flag  down any green bus,  going in the direction you want.  

 

Without your own transportation- most of  the lodges have preordered box lunches available.   The WAC  has a limited selection of box meals.     I usually have a car/RV,  and I rely heavily on my favorite-   pb&j.   Needs no refrigeration  and simple to put together fresh.  

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Thanks for the replies.  Yes we'll have our own car.  We're leaving Anchorage on Monday afternoon, staying in Talkeetna on Monday night, and Healy from Tuesday to Thursday, with Wednesday being the day we intend to go into the park.   

For the bus, I guess I was just confused why I had to pick a time if it was hop-on  / hop-off, but it sounds like I'm obligated to get on the first bus at whatever time I pick when reserving and then from there have a bit of flexibility based on availability of later buses.  

For food, we were thinking of picking up a few non-perishable snack items on Monday on our way out of Anchorage, and it sounds like we can get a few fresh items from The Three Bears in Healy. 

Follow-up question instead of starting a new thread.   

We're planning on getting the bus all the way in to the Eielson Visitor Center when we board the bus in the morning and then hope to do a few of the trails to either the ridge or gorge.    If we broke our journey on the way out, is there any recommend spots that might be good for an hour or two that would provide something different than what we'll see at/near Eielson? 

If it matters, we'll be visiting on Wednesday Sept 5th, so quite late in the season.      
 

Thanks again,

Duane

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Just a quick comment regarding the food part of the OP's question --  the Healy Three Bears Grocery store has a nice produce section so would be a great place to pick up fresh fruit.  And the bus depot (formerly named the Wilderness Access Center) also has some pre-made sandwiches, bags of snacks and so forth available for purchase.

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On 7/15/2019 at 5:22 AM, doconner said:

Thanks for the replies.  <snip>
We're planning on getting the bus all the way in to the Eielson Visitor Center when we board the bus in the morning and then hope to do a few of the trails to either the ridge or gorge.    If we broke our journey on the way out, is there any recommend spots that might be good for an hour or two that would provide something different than what we'll see at/near Eielson? 

If it matters, we'll be visiting on Wednesday Sept 5th, so quite late in the season.      
 

Thanks again,

Duane

Looks like a nice plan. I wish that we had made the time to do a little foot travel when we were there in May. Just make sure your tick-tock is on ADT and you pay attention to the times of last pickups going out of the park.

sept 5-12 transit schedule web.jpg

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13 hours ago, masterdrago said:

The last bus departs Eielson Visitors Center at 5:00pm. Sorry that screen capture doesn't look very good. Scroll to the bottom of the page at https://www.nps.gov/dena/planyourvisit/upload/transit-schedule.pdf

 

 

Have you ever been to the Eielson Visitors Center?  The NPS has operated shuttles in Denali for a good number of years, and actually have a system to not leave day visitors in the park.

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11 hours ago, Northern Aurora said:

 

 

Have you ever been to the Eielson Visitors Center?  The NPS has operated shuttles in Denali for a good number of years, and actually have a system to not leave day visitors in the park.

Hopefully one day I'll be in Alaska when their schedule goes that far. We could only go as far as Toklat on May 20th. We've only toured Alaska One time. It just sounded like the OP might find themselves wondering around off the path and get so engrossed in the beauty, and with sunset being so late (~9pm), could loose track of time. What you mention makes great sense to me and I'm glad to hear it.

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