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Alaska Trip - Early Planning

Discussion in 'Hunting, Fishing & Camping' started by Introscape, Dec 19, 2004.

  1. Introscape

    Introscape End Eye Quote

    Jan 26, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    I figured I'd post about this here. I'm planning on going to Denali in July or August. I'm not entirely sure that I'm going there, but the plan is to fly from O'Hare in Chicago to Fairbanks. What I'm really looking for is to do some hiking and camping in some scenic areas. Not really looking to do any drastic climbing or anything.

    I'm probably going to be going with my cousin, but we're having a hard time figuring out where to start. I don't really want to do a tour package or anything, but rather just be able to plan my own little tour based of maps and such within the park itself....should we choose to go to Denali.

    I'm still young (24) and I'm really wanting to use this experience to get a little bit of seclusion from the rest of the world. I know I'll have someone with me who I've hunted and camped with since I was a kid, but I feel that's the smart route to go and it's someone who I know enjoys this type of stuff as well.

    My question to people here is have any of you gone? Have any of you done something similar? Do any of you know where the best place to start would be? I just need some ideas of how to pull an itinerary together and such. This will really be my first 'expedition' of sorts. I've done some extensive traveling with my family when I was younger, but we always had a hotel to stay at, rental car, etc. I know this is going to be much different.

    Also, I'm trying to figure out what kind of firearm I should buy for this as well. Just something for personal protection from the wildlife up there. I've heard a wide range of stuff from people, but I've been seriously looking at the Ruger Super Redhawk 454. Anything better?

    Any and all help would be welcome. Some links to sites and message boards as well.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. bustedknee

    bustedknee Curmudgeon

    Aug 1, 2001
    Wythe County, VA
    I don't think guns are allowed in the park.

    Rent a car in Fairbanks. Bring a small tent and sleeping bag. Drive the Denali Highway. Good camp spots, lots of wildlife, great fishing, hike your butt off, and pan for gold.

    Drive down to Anchorage, even the Kenai. I can suggest a couple of hikes - PM me if interested.

    Get yourself to the internet and get a "Milepost" now!

  3. DJ Niner

    DJ Niner Moderator

    Feb 13, 2001
    North-Central USA
    Good advice; especially the Milepost! Guns DEFINITELY NOT allowed in Denali park.

    If you decide to rent a vehicle (car OR truck), don't tell them the details of your trip. I rented a truck at the Fairbanks airport, and they actually made me sign a release that said I agreed to not drive the vehicle (a 4x4) off paved roads. In Alaska! Idiots.

    I drove it OVER a mountain on a two-track trail; but I was careful and took good care of it. Heck, that's why I was renting the truck; my wife wouldn't let me use the mini-van for camping and gold prospecting! ;f

    It's a beautiful state; in many areas, it's easy to convince yourself that you are the first person to have set foot in any single spot.
  4. DJ Niner

    DJ Niner Moderator

    Feb 13, 2001
    North-Central USA
    Denali Overlook; don't ya HATE it when clouds block your view of the mountain (well, just the MIDDLE of the mountain -- you can see the top above the clouds):
  5. Guest

    Man, I sure wish I was going. Good advice from the the brokenknee. Also consider that if you are going out with just 2 guys, know your abilities. Its a big state and its easy to get in over your head in manyways. I know you are thinking you are a young hardcore mofo(and you may be) but its easy to get in trouble there. And there is no one around in the remote areas, which are the best. Have the best equipment and know it well and how to repair it. Have backups crucial things like water treatment and gps units. A sat phone is a good thing to think about, pricey but good to have. If you are thinking aboout renting a car and staying on the roads you will be fine. If you are thinking of being dropped off and going from a to b with your gear on your back of in a raft its a different story. I prefer the latter. But thats just me. I think the crowds scare off the best scenery. Oh, and yes Denali is anti gun, there are lots of places that are not. Get your self a .44 revolver and some type of large boar rifle, a lever action 45/70 would be a good choice. Once again if you are going car camping ignore most of my advice, otherwise plan well and have fun. Also checkout forums, great info there.
  6. Introscape

    Introscape End Eye Quote

    Jan 26, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Thanks for all the info, guys! I'll check some of that stuff out and figure out exactly what I want to do. I'm sure I'll be PMing Bustedknee at some point in the not too distant future.

    Thanks again!

  7. BKD in Texas

    BKD in Texas Millennium Member

    May 9, 1999

    I made the exact trip you are describing last August, but did not go into the park (partly because of the no gun rule). Saw an 800 lb griz on the Denali highway the very first day. PM me for more advice and/or details (all free and worth what you pay for it of course). :>)

    I can even give you some GPS coordinates of a couple of good campsites and one great place to view game where I watched bear, caribou and moose all in the same afternoon.

    It was my first trip and I WILL go back. If there is any way you can go now, don't miss it for anything. I put mine off for years and I regret not going earlier now.

    BTW, you can rent all wheel drive chevy Astro vans in Anchorage at reasonable rates that are suprisingly capable off road. Ask me how I know this... :>)

    Take Care,
  8. geminicricket

    geminicricket NRA Life member

    Apr 26, 2001
    Lewisville, TX USA
    I hear you can get a mosquito tow for a parasailing adventure in Denali for only 1/2pint of blood.;f

  9. Introscape

    Introscape End Eye Quote

    Jan 26, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Yeah, the no gun rule bothers me because the same wildlife is in there and I don't really feel like taking any chances. If you guys have anything you wish you send me my email address is

    I'm getting more and more excited, but will have to wait 7-8 months!!!
  10. Sixgun_Symphony

    Sixgun_Symphony NRA4EVR

    Apr 16, 2002
    They don't allow guns in the park, I would consider getting a shoulder holster like Clint Eastwood wore in the "Dirty Harry" films for concealing a .44 magnum revolver.
  11. Scoob


    Sep 10, 2002
    Don't forget mosquito repelant;)
  12. MrMunster


    Nov 4, 2001
    Do you own GoreTex or equivalent clothing?

    If not, better buy yourself a jacket and pants.
  13. akbound


    Mar 31, 2004
    No firearms are allowed in the Park, and Alaska is very serious about its' Parks and Game. For what it's worth though you can find the same scenery, same game, same conditions entirely surrounding the Park. Except firearms are allowed outside the Park. Also it is amazing how far you can travel, hike, camp, etc. just outside the Park and still not be on privately owned land.

    You could very well plan your trip to take advantage of this. Plan some of your trip to include areas outside the Park. For instance the Denali Highway (actually about 150 mile dirt road) cuts from West to East from the Parks Highway across to the Richardson Highway and allows auto travel for its entire length as long as it's not snowbound. You can freely travel off the highway as far as you'd like for most of its length. Whether that is by foot, horseback, ATV, whatever? And the Denali Hwy. is just one tiny section of Alaska.

    Another example is Taylor Highway (yep, dirt again) which goes from near Tok, Alaska to places like Chicken, and Eagle, Alaska. And I haven't talked about anything south of Anchorage, north of Fairbanks, etc.

    Check out the Milepost, and many of the online resources. The advantage of travel, camping, hiking, etc. outside of the parks is the amazing lack of restriction on carrying firearms. Best of luck on your upcoming trip and enjoy!

  14. AAshooter


    Nov 1, 2000
    I have made the trip several times. Generally I like to stay places three days between travel days. So I have done a trip similar to this several times:
    * Fly into Fairbanks
    * Spend 3 full days in Fairbanks and surrounding area
    * Take the train down to Denali
    * Spend 3 full days in Denali
    * Take the train down to Anchorage
    * Spend 3 full days in Anchorage and surrounding area (Kenai)
    * Fly home out of Anchorage.

    I always wanted to stay in the lodge deep in Denali (can't remember the name of it) but it is a little pricey for my budget.
  15. BKD in Texas

    BKD in Texas Millennium Member

    May 9, 1999
    As akbound said, the Denali highway is your best bet, starting west by the park and going east. The first fifty miles is just like around the park. The second fifty turns heavily wooded with some pretty big lakes (good moose country). The last 50 is kinda tundra country and looks amazingly like south Texas! The mileages are estimates, but it really is a highway of diverse terrain.

    The Taylor highway north of Tok is not as versatile in scenery to me. But a large chunk of it is now paved going towards Chicken. North of Chicken, towards Eagle, the country gets more interesting and so does the road, especially when you meet an eighteen wheeler on a switchback haulin' ass...

    Take Care,