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a VirtualTourist member from Pleasanton

Denali National Park and Preserve

Denali in May

My wife and I are planning a trip to Denali late May 09. What kind of weather can we expect this time of year? We plan on flying in to Anchorage, renting a car and take a do-your-on-thing to Denali and maybe Fairbanks if time permits. Planning on staying outside the park @ Denali Grizzly Bear Lodge or the like. Is everything open this early in the season. Will have approx. 8 days to actually sight-see, hike, etc. Any suggestions on what are must sees and must do's?Thanks in advance, Nailbender

4 Answers

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Upper Darby

And weather should be cool, but okay. Strongly suggest you skip Fairbanks, as there's just not much there to see that's unique to Alaska. The Kenai Peninsula will probably better suit what you are looking for, with beautiful vistas and opportunities for wildlife.

Alaska in general, and Denali in particular, doesn't have "must see's" or "must do's" per se; the incredible appeal is that there AREN'T developed sights. You drive on a road near dusk and see a moose; you camp by a river and see a bear; you take a random dirt road and view an incredible overlook. But it's not a zoo or a museum; whether or not you see anything is as much luck as good planning.

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Montréal-Nord

Hello & Bonjour !!

Oh YES ... ALASKA ... the dream of the dreams !!

Almost two years I spent in this fabulous and incredible state and Yukon ...

Because late May is preseason, there are not so many tourists on the road ... and you get the "lonely" feeling more easier ! During my first time in Alaska I didn`t see a car for hours ... Sometimes I thought that I must be alone !

The weather in May ... ?? Normally (but what is normal) it should be still a little bit fresh and cool at the mornings and on the evenings. The average should be between 50 and 70 F ! But in May I saw a lot of bears ...

I would suggest everybody to visit Alaska in May / June ... with almost 20, 21 hours of daylight - wonderful !!

The fact that you`ve time only for seven or eight days I wouldn`t drive up to Fairbanks. On the way to the Denali-Park is WASILLA, where is located the IDITAROD-HEADQUARTERS. Here I worked for one season and it is really interesting to see some about DOG-MUSHING.

On the other side is the HATCHER-PASS ... a really, really nice place in the mountains ... (maybe you can stay there on your way back to Anchorage !!)

If you have enough time then go south to the Kenai Peninsula ... also a great destination !!

For any questions, pls. don`t hesitate and contact me !!

Take care !

Greetings from Montréal, Juergen

answered by
a VirtualTourist member

My wife and i rented an RV for 3 weeks and drove around alaska a few years ago. We arived in Anchorage in late may, a week before memorial day. We started off heading south to the Kenai peninsula and down to Homer and Seward. We did find that some of the tourist things (kayaking, 1/2 fishing charter) were only running on the weekends until Memorial day. Denali was the last leg of our trip, which would have been early June. Unless you are staying at a campground in Denali, you will have to take a bus, which drives on the one road that leads into the park. There are various bus trips in length, however, when we were there, they were only going as far as (sp??) Eileson visitor center due to snow still being on the road. We took the same bus trip for 3 days out to the visitor center and saw something different each day. We saw Mt Denali, grizzly bears, Moose, Carribou, & Dall sheep. We took the time to go for a hike across the street from the visitor center up the steep hill to the top of the ridge. Fantastic views.

Other than Denali - Matanuska glacier - you pay something like10 and you can walk around on the glacier - pretty cool. Talkeetna is a cool town and we decided since this may be a once in a lifetime trip, to pay a few hundred dollars to get in one of the little airplanes and fly around Mt Denali and the other mountains and do a glacier landing. After we returned, we were glad we had decided to do it. It was like being in an IMAX movie. Definitely a highlight of the trip. Also check out some of the little towns, there's always something to be discovered - we decided to visit a small town call Hope, 10 miles down a deadend road on the Kenai pen. We stopped by the Seaview cafe for a beer and talked to some of the locals. The cook came out of the kitchen to see who was hungry - a friend of his had just caught some halibut. Everyone present was treated to a free meal of fresh halibut, garlic mashed potatoes and fiddle heads (a local "green" that was picked that afternoon)

oh, by the way - the weather was at times warm (shorts and tee shirt) and at times cool (long pants and sweatshirt/jacket) At night it can get cool, but we never felt like we needed a winter coat.

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Alaska

Skip Fairbanks, not worth the drive.

In 8 days I would visit (south to north):

Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center
Portage Glacier
Flatttop Mountain at the Glen Alps Trailhead
Kincaid Park
Hatcher's Pass
Denali National Park

If you need a place to have dinner while you pass through Wasilla, come stop by our lodge @ my profil.

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