ALASKA: A LAND FAR, FAR AWAY

HOW FAR IS ALASKA?

The simple answer to that is: very far! 🙂 A direct flight from Los Angeles or Seattle takes about 4 to 5 hours. It is closer and quicker to fly from Boston to Europe, than from Boston to Alaska (you get the idea, right?).

Anchorage to Denali
Photo credit to Custom Trip

Alaska is called many names: the Great Land, the Last Frontier, the 49th State and others. There is more land in Alaska than one knows what to do with it! Alaska is also (apologies to our readers from Texas) the largest state in the United States. It has the highest reserves of gold, minerals, oil and other gems and alone is capable of supporting half of the U.S. If one lays Alaska on the map of the lower 48 states, Alaska spreads from Daytona Beach, Florida to San Diego, California. Simply put: the place is vast!

There are three major cities in Alaska: Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau. Anchorage is located in the south-central part of the continental Alaska and it is the biggest one. It is a major transportation and business hub. Fairbanks is the second largest city and it is located in the northern part of the state. Rumors say that Fairbanks is only 50 miles away from the North Pole, so you can imagine what winter looks like there. 🙂 Juneau — the prettiest of all Alaska towns, in our humble opinion — is the third largest city and the capital of Alaska. It is considered to be the “Pacific Coast Queen of State Capitals”Beautifully situated underneath Mt.Roberts it welcomes people from all over the world,  arriving by cruise ships or plane. Very popular and highly recommended destination for Whale Watching tours, hiking, sea plane flying or to see a glacier!

THEY SAY THE BEST PART OF THE CAKE IS IN THE MIDDLE

Maybe that’s true, but there is one more (of the many other) things that Alaska is popular with: it has the highest number of national parks within its state boundaries and the best one: DENALI NATIONAL PARK!

WELCOME TO GRIZZLY LAND

Anchorage Airport
Photo credit to Custom Trip

Denali National Park is located 4 hours by car north of Anchorage. There is only one road, so you can’t get lost! You can also take the Alaska Railroad and enjoy the beautiful scenery around. The trains are well taken care of, narrated, staff is very friendly and they have a restaurant with inside with great meals. The trip takes approximately 8 hours. Another alternative is to travel for 5 hours by bus. The Park Connection is the company you want to look for.  The park is 2 hours south by car from Fairbanks, 4 hours by train or 3 hours by bus. As you see, it is quite accessible … but… mainly May thru September. You can visit during the winter too, but a snowmobile or a dog led sled might be your only options. 🙂

Denali National Park contains six million acres of wild land. Out of those only 92 miles are accessible to us and you can’t take your private vehicle on the road unless you obtain a special permit beforehand.

Denali National Park
Photo credit to Custom Trip

The best way to tour the park is by booking a trip through Denali Backcountry Adventure or the Tundra Tours offered by Aramark. Most tours are narrated and you can either do a day trip, which takes about 8 hours if you go all the way to the end of the 92 miles road and back or 4 hours if you do half of it up to the visitor center. You also have the option of staying in one of the lodges at the end of  the road — we recommend the Denali Back Country Lodge. It is here where you will see the true personality of the park because AT THE END OF THE PARK….

HOW DO PEOPLE SURVIVE IN NATURE and WITHOUT?

… …. ….. 😛

  • cell phone service;
  • no internet;
  • no people except few seasonal employees and your buddies from the bus;
  • no stores;
  • nothing but you, nature, the big Alaska sky — which as you know has almost 24 hours of daylight between May and end of June — and wildlife.
READ  THE WINES AT CELLARS WINE CLUB

You also have the option to take a free bus and disembark at certain spots to go hiking or camping.

On the 92 miles road
Photo credit to Custom Trip

Keep in mind that you are a guest to the grizzlies while visiting Denali National Park. They are everywhere! The longer you stay inside the park, the more likely it is you will see Grizzlies. You can also see wolves, caribou and moose. We recommend you visit the visitor center at the beginning of your trip to get some background info and tips on how to behave while inside the park and what to do if you encounter a bear. This is very needed information for the hikers as bears have been seen on hiking trails.

WE LOVE DENALI NATIONAL PARK AND YOU WILL TOO!!!

We love Denali National Park!

DENALI’S NORTHERN LIGHTS ARE THE CHERRY ON TOP OF YOUR ICE CREAM (hint: visit end of August or beginning of September for best “lights show”

Alaska has majestic landscape and once you get on that tour bus and lose all contact with the rest of the world, you will fall in love with its vastness too. On a clear day you can even see the top of Mt.Denali right off your bus seat. You can get close to nature as never before as you find yourself surrounded by wildlife, wildflowers, crystal clear air and rivers. You will be able to see life through a different angle as you stand at the overlook area and stare at the land beneath you. This land has been there for millions of years. It continues to be a home to many Native Americans who have come to understand the importance of preserving the land, its richness and the animals inhabiting it. Black bears, grizzly bears, wolves, moose, caribou, it is their home and you could give yourself a once-in-a-lifetime experience by visiting the park yourself!

Northern Lights
Photo credit to Custom Trip

OUR STAFF HAS WORKED & LIVED IN DENALI AND KNOWS THE PLACE WELL

Yep, we can plan it all for you within an hour and send you the itinerary. Click here to plan your trip today!

TIPS:

  • We recommend starting your trip at Southeast Alaska  and working your way up to Fairbanks OR start your trip from Anchorage and work move north;
  • Staying 2 to 3 nights in Denali is enough to see and do all you want;
  • You must take the train at least one-way! It is a huge part of the Alaska adventure.

Places to stay at Denali:

Tours:

Things to do:

WILD AND SLIGHTLY INFLUENCED BY HUMANS, DENALI NATIONAL PARK IS A REMINDER TO US ALL THAT NATURE IS ESSENTIAL FOR HUMAN SURVIVAL AND THAT IT IS NATURE THAT OFFERS US THE BEST OF LIFE

Silviya Topchiyska

Business Consultant, specializing in Management, HR and Finance while wearing the business suit. Travel Blogger & Wine Enthusiast when wearing shorts and t-shirt! I love to travel and I love to plan all of my trips ahead of time from A to Z! Long time ago, I figured out it's the best way to do it and TODAY I am sharing my travel planning, organizational and budgeting skills with you!

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