Sunday, June 30, 2019

Day 24-29 Alaskan Adventure Denali

Day 24- We left our little spot at the fishing pond early. We wanted to stop in Fairbanks to resupply before we got to Denali National Park. We were going to be there for 4 days and new there wasn't much for groceries there.

We checked into the Denali National Park Campground, Riley Creek. That is the campground closest to the park entrance. We found our spot and then started planning our days here.
Our first full day we decided to hike to the visitor center to get some information. It was a mile and a half to the visitor center along Riley Creek.

It was a nice hike and it goes underneath this trestle bridge. Once at the visitor center we got some information and we needed to go to the bus depot to purchase our tickets. I snapped a picture of the Denali model in the visitor center.
Little did we know that that was the best picture of the mountain and the closest we would get to it. So we then hiked to the bus depot, purchased our tickets for the following morning and then hiked back to the  campground with high hopes of our journey yet to come. This is fair warning that the rant is on the way. 

Now we took the shortest bus ride there was. It was six and a half to seven hours for that tour. The park road is, I believe 91 miles, and after mile 12, you can't drive your vehicle past that. So you have to take some kind of bus to get back there. Our bus was going to take us to mile 56. The Toklot River area. Also after mile 12 it turns to gravel. 

The preferred mode of transportation in the park is a vehicle designed to carry children to and from school. 15-30 minutes tops, usually. Also kid's butts are a foot wide and they weigh 50 pounds. Last time I checked, my butt was wider than a foot and I was 1 or 2 pounds heavier than 50 pounds. As I looked around, I found that to be the case with most everyone else on the bus, except for the few kids that were there. Thankfully it wasn't sold out so there was a little room to spread out.
The weather here in Danali has been beautiful. Maybe a little bit on the hot side as you can tell from our bus windows all being open. So we board hoping to get some glimpses of the mountain. The bus ride didn't disappoint because thats all we got, was glimpses. We got going and the rest was just a hazy fog of a day. We saw a bear.
A few shaggy Caribou.
But mostly what we saw was the backs of people's heads.

Which makes me wonder how many pictures of the back of my head are out there now. The glimpses of the mountain? Here they are.

Do you think we could stop and get out and take a picture? Nope. We were able to get out of the bus twice. Once to use the bathroom. That stop lasted 5 minutes and our next stop was at the top of a pass called Polychrome which took us 10 minutes there.

We finally got to Tolklot River and do you know what was there? A bunch of out houses and a gift shop. We had 30 minutes before the bus headed back down the road. No view of the mountain from that point.

I got the window seat on the way back this time and took some photos of the road that we had to go over. It makes me ask again why people put roads in some places.

The drop off where immense and it was kind of nerve wracking when you would meet another bus out there. Our driver kept asking us if we had our seat belts on. I said to Lisa that if we went over the edge, we may not want to live through that. We had one potty stop on the way back. Saw a moose near the visitor center.
Well our day cost us $67. We got a couple of glimpses of the mountain and saw some critters. If you want to take a bus out to see the mountain, you have to take an 8 to 12 hour bus. They go the furthest out into the park.

Our final day in Denali, we took our truck and headed south on the parks highway to see if we could see the mountain. Nope.

We left Denali and started making our way to Anchorage. At the south viewpoint we could see the mountain. But there is so much smoke here due to wildfires that it was pretty poor viewing.
Lisa in front of Denali.

As far as seeing the mountain it was a bust. Even though we had such perfect sunny weather to see it.

Oh well. 

"Gladys! Lets go see something we can see!"


  1. Bummer your experience wasn’t that great. We had a totally different experience. Took the school bus all the way to the end, had a great driver that liked to talk about the area, had a clear view of the mountain and lots of animals including a few grizzly bears. At one stop we weren’t allowed off because 2 grizzlies were too close and challenging one another and later another I spotted sitting in a pond play with a large stick...a Disney moment! 😉 Safe travels!

  2. Accurate description of the bus ride, Dino. We saw it the best from Anchorage.

  3. We didn't see it while staying at the park either. When we got back to Anchorage it was a beautiful day and there it was in all it's glory so we to a plane ride our to see it. Wow!!! That was amazing!

  4. When we were there in '16 it rained pretty much the entire time. No view of the mountain but we did see some bears and went on a couple great hikes.

  5. Oh well. Did you start seeing shapes in the back of their heads? Like clouds? 🤣

    1. I know pot is legal here in Alaska but not on the bus.