Denali Journals

Denali National Park - The Road Lottery Weekend

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A September 2011 trip to Denali by MilwVon

Mt. McKinley from Eielson Visitors Center Photo, Denali, Alaska More Photos
Quote: At the end of every season, the NPS allows 400 private vehicles for each of four days to drive the 92 mile Park Rd. This year over 10,000 people entered "the lottery" and I was fortunate enough to be able to drive the road on three of the four days!

Denali National Park

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Story/Tip

Entrance to Denali National Park Photo, Denali, Alaska
Quote:
This was my third trip to Denali National Park in five years. On my prior two visits to the park David and I used the required NPS shuttle bus service to enter and explore the park. This trip, however was different as it was during the annual "Road Lottery Weekend" when 400 cars per day (for four days) are allowed to drive the entire 92 miles, weather permitting. This entry will chronicle my first-time experiences utilizing some of the park services and programs during my lottery weekend.I had camp reservations for four nights at the Teklanika Campground (aka TEK), located inside the park at MM29. This is the same location where we camped last summer and as luck would have it, I was abl...Read More
Denali Park Road - Road Lottery Weekend Photo, Denali, Alaska
Quote:
The Denali Park Road Lottery occurs annual in mid September, at the end of their season, weather permitting. The National Park Service conducts a drawing whereby 400 people are selected for each of the four days of the road lottery. This year there were more than 10,000 people who paid the $10 entry fee at a chance to drive the Denali Park Road. Those selected in the random drawing are also assessed an additional $25 for their road pass. Since entries are limited to one per person, David and I enlisted some family members (seven of them) to enter the lottery too as winning passes are transferable to others. Out of our nine entries, my sister's mother-in-law did win a Saturday pass. Hurray!...Read More
That is One Big Bear Head! Photo, Denali, Alaska
Quote:
Continuing with Sunday 9/18 . . .I went back into the park, in hopes of seeing those sheep and the bears closer. I was fortunate to arrive at the location for the afternoon bear jam before there was anyone else (other than a park ranger) there. She said that the three had been sighted but headed down a ravine, not to be seen since for about an hour. I told her I would just park and wait to see what might happen. About 15 minutes later, they all appeared. Hurray - the bear jam was on.I stayed for just under an hour, until the bears crossed the road and headed up high into the hillside. I got a lot of nice photos of them eating berries throughout this little valley area....Read More

Prospectors Historic Pizzeria & Alehouse

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Restaurant | "Wonderful Dining Option in Glitter Gulch"

Prospectors Historic Pizzeria & Alehouse Photo, Denali, Alaska
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The area of the Parks Hwy near the entrance to Denali National Park is known as "glitter gulch" and is full of the trappings of any popular tourist area. There are several gift shops and high priced gasoline ($4.69/gallon vs. $4.20 just eight miles away). This area near the park entrance mostly caters to the cruise ship land tour crowd who are herded in from Anchorage or Fairbanks on either end of their Alaskan cruise vacation. Most of the large lodges in the area are also owned by the cruise lines (Princess or Holland America).For me, all of these touristy aspects of glitter gulch is reason enough to avoid the area at all costs. That said, I fought my instincts to skip it, opting inst...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 27, 2011

Prospectors Historic Pizzeria & Alehouse
Milepost 238.9 Parks Highway
Denali 99755
907-683-7437

Rose's Cafe

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Restaurant | "Return Visit - Wonderful Again!"

Rose's Cafe Photo, Healy, Alaska
Quote:
Having dined here back in 2006, I knew that if I had the opportunity to get "out of the park" during my road lottery weekend, I would make my way back to Rose's Cafe. The opportunity presented itself on Friday morning, so I took it for a wonderful breakfast.Not only does Rose's Cafe have location going for it . . . the owners who are active in the operation of this restaurant are very friendly and service oriented. Whoever you are, you are greeted as though you were a long-time family friend. Even if they don't know your first name, they treat you like a local stopping in their home for coffee over the kitchen table. This visit was no different.As I entered the relatively s...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 27, 2011

Rose's Cafe
Milepost 249.5 Parks Highway
Healy, Alaska 99743

Comfort Inn Fairbanks

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Hotel | "Dependable Lodging"

Comfort Inn Fairbanks Photo, Fairbanks, Alaska
Quote:
This was not my first time staying at the Comfort Inn in Fairbanks. I have often been able to book here at close to half-price using AARP Travel and they did not disappoint for this trip.The Comfort Inn provides free shuttle service to and from the Fairbanks Airport as well as the train station. This convenience alone makes a stay here worthwhile, especially if you are not planning to stay in town long. They are a bit out of the way, about 10 minutes from the downtown area and with no services (restaurants, etc) within walking distance. That said, to come to town, pick up a rental car and head out the next day . . . they are perfect.The rooms are comfortable with small dorm...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 27, 2011

Comfort Inn Fairbanks
1908 Chena Landings Loop
Fairbanks 99701
(907) 479-8080