RV Camping in Denali National Park

Picture of Wonder Lake in Denali National Park

Wonder Lake in Denali National Park

The sight of Alaska’s Mt. McKinley is something we urge all RV campers to see at least once. “Enormous”, “mysterious” and “constantly changing” are adjectives motorhome travelers have used to describe North America’s tallest peak. The wild frontier waiting to be explored at Denali National Park, created to celebrate McKinley’s awesome beauty, can be appreciated in many ways. Let’s look at some helpful information to help you plan your Denali RV trip.

Getting to Denali National Park
The easiest thing to say about getting to Denali is “It’s a long way from here!” That doesn’t take into account, however, the amazingly scenic route you’ll take to get there. About 240 miles north of Anchorage and 120 miles south of Fairbanks, Denali is most easily accessible by traveling the Alaska Highway (Alcan).

Assuming you’ll start in Ferndale, WA by picking up your El Monte RV rental, travel to Prince George, BC, than along Hart Highway to Dawson Creek, BC, starting point for the Alaska Highway. It’s then a fantastically scenic stretch across British Columbia and the Yukon Territory to the beautiful port city Anchorage, AK. The distance from Ferndale to Anchorage is about 2300 miles. It’s then only 300 miles up Alaska’s Hwy-3 to Denali. A note for RV drivers-the Alcan is a two-lane highway that may have “frost heaves” in the pavement. You won’t be driving nearly as fast as you would on a California interstate! Since you’ll be stopping at least one night along the way, use this RV campground finder at Campgrounds-Alaska.com.

RV Camping at Denali National Park
Vehicles are only allowed fifteen miles into the Park, but two RV campgrounds are located near the entrance. The third campground that allows RVs is Teklanika River (Tek) Campground, twenty-nine miles into the National Park. To stay there, you’ll have to park your RV for the duration of your stay and make a reservation for at least three days at the campground. There are no hook-ups at any of the campgrounds, so plan for dry camping. Here’s a link to more information on RV campgrounds at Denali National Park.

Exploring Denali National Park
The first thing you should know about exploring the wonders of Denali is that it won’t be from your RV. Shuttle buses and charter tours are the easiest ways to see the sights. Plan to make reservations early for these. If you’re up for an unforgettable bike trip, traveling Denali by bicycle is an even more intimate way to explore. There are also almost limitless hiking opportunities in this six-million acre preserve.

No matter which way you travel, you’re sure to see abundant wildlife. Moose, grizzly and black bears, caribou, Dall’s sheep and wolves are just a few of the species you’re liable to spy. Look to the skies for a chance to see golden and bald eagles, and watch the undergrowth for fox, arctic ground squirrels and marmots.

There’s one very special activity you’re not likely to experience at other National Parks-a visit to a sled dog kennel! That’s where you’ll see the dogs that transport Park rangers in winter.

If you’re looking for photography subjects, simply stand still and point your camera in any direction! Mt. McKinley, even on cloudy days, is a once-in-a-lifetime photo op. Wildlife, glaciers and stunning mountain views will fill your camera with exciting memories.

And we can’t leave Denali National Park without mentioning the mountaineering possibilities. Mighty Mt. McKinley attracts climbers from around the world. Guided climbs are available, or experienced climbers can go solo. There are also many other mountains there that offer challenging climbs. One more way to “climb” the Park’s mountains is by “flightseeing” in small planes that land directly on the glaciers!

We’ve only scratched the surface of what an RV camping vacation to Mt. McKinley and Denali National Park can be. Use the NPS site for Denali to plan your vacation, as well as helpful guides such as TheMilePost.com, TravelAlaska.com and NorthtoAlaska.com. Your trip to Denali can be as unique as you and your fellow travelers, but it won’t be one you soon forget.

Posted in AK RV Vacation, National Parks | Tagged | 2 Comments

Fantastic RV Road Trip Idea: Seattle to Anchorage!

We have just heard about a super RV road trip idea and wanted to pass it along to our readers. If you’re ready for the ultimate RV journey, plan a road trip from Seattle, Washington to Anchorage, Alaska! Does that idea have you running to pack your bags? Here’s the scoop on how to travel by RV from Washington to Alaska.

Washington/Alaska Road Trip Itinerary
The drive from Seattle to Anchorage is about 2400 miles one-way. Obviously, you should set aside two or three weeks to mosey up the road to Alaska with time to enjoy the sights along the way.

The first leg of our suggested itinerary takes you from Seattle through Bellingham to Vancouver, British Columbia. For an incredibly scenic side trip, detour to Hwy 11 from Burlington to Bellingham. Not only will you look out over the San Juan Islands, you’ll also see some of the most fertile farmland, orchards and vineyards in the Northwest.

Head north from Bellingham to Vancouver, BC. The most popular place to cross into Canada is the Peace Arch/Blaine Border Crossing. American RV travelers will need a passport to enter Canada.

Plan to stop in Vancouver to visit Vancouver Lookout, a twenty-eighth floor observation deck at the top of the city’s Harbour Centre. You’ll find a thriving arts community in Vancouver, and this fascinating BC city also boasts mountains, ocean and river views!

If you’re ready to stop for the night, Burnaby Cariboo RV Park in Vancouver sits on the shores of Burnaby Lake.

Once you leave Vancouver for the next leg of your RV camping adventure, get ready for the great outdoors! We’re headed now for one of three destinations –

  1. Prince Rupert, where you can drive your RV right onto one of the famous Inside Passage Ferries for the rest of the trip to Homer, Alaska, a short jaunt in your RV from Anchorage. Travel west from Prince George, BC on Hwy 16 to Prince Rupert to follow this route. RV campers recommend Prince Rupert RV Campground (have your camera ready for deer right next door!)
  2. North from Prince George along the Alaska Highway (PDF) to White Horse and, finally, Anchorage. This route takes you along the eastern edge of British Columbia. You will definitely experience the vastness of both BC and Alaska if you choose this route. Wide valleys, mountains, and rivers rushing through canyons are standard fare along the “Alcan.” RV campgrounds along the way include Tok RV Village in Tok, AK and Pioneer RV Camp in Whitehorse, AK.
  3. Along the Stewart-Cassier Highway (Hwy 37) from Prince George, BC to the Alaskan border, then on to White Horse and Anchorage on the Alcan. I’m told this route is absolutely spectacular, winding past glaciers, deep mountain valleys and rivers full of salmon.

Once in Anchorage, you’ll find a thriving city of about two hundred thousand people. Don’t miss visiting the Alaska Native Heritage Center, Earthquake Park and the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, where you’ll see both mountain and ocean views as you hike or bike.

No matter which route you choose to travel by RV from Seattle to Anchorage, remember to fill your gas tanks whenever you have the opportunity. Also, plan ahead for emergencies, as services aren’t available nearly as often as along most US highways. Even so, an RV journey from Washington to Alaska will be the trip of a lifetime.

El Monte RV Rentals help can set you up with a luxurious motorhome for the journey. Pick up your RV at the El Monte RV Vancouver/Bellingham RV Rentals locations. Head north to Alaska in a comfortable motorhome and bring home tales of the North to share for years!

Posted in AK RV Vacation, WA RV Vacation | Leave a comment

Barn Door Halibut in an Alaskan RV Vacation Adventure

This post is courtesy of our friends at Alaskan Angler RV Resort in Ninilchik, Alaska.

As you might imagine, RV parks in Alaska offer opportunities to camp in the midst of breathtaking scenery – glaciers, volcanoes, world-class mountain ranges that cascade into deep blue ocean waters. However, not many RVers realize that camping in Alaska also provides access to world-class fishing in both saltwater and freshwater locations. One of the most popular locations for these activities is Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula, just south of the major hub of Alaska, the city of Anchorage. This area is easily accessible by modern highway and is usually the endgame destination of those who drive up the entire distance from the lower 48 on the Alaska Highway.

Barn Door HalibutOn the Kenai Peninsula, the village of Ninilchik has become known as the “heart of recreation” due to its central location to several fishing and clamming sites. Ninilchik and the State Recreation area known as Deep Creek is the access point into the salt waters of Cook Inlet, the world-renowned home of huge “barn door” halibut. These unusual flatfish can grow to sizes exceeding 8 feet long and 400 pounds, although the average sport-caught fish is in the 20 to 40 pound range. This area is arguably the most prolific halibut fishery in the world, and it is a very popular activity with RV visitors who charter day trips with local operators.

In addition to white-meat halibut, salmon fishing opportunities abound in the Ninilchik area. The two streams in town, the Ninilchik River and Deep Creek, both support runs of Chinook “king” salmon and coho “silver” salmon. King salmon are the largest salmonoid in the world, and can grow to lengths of five feet and nearly 100 pounds. Silvers are much smaller, about 10 pounds, and are the hardest fighting fish around. They are known for dramatic jumps, back-flips, and dives when hooked. The local rivers are easily fished from the riverbanks, while there are opportunities for chartered boats for these species in the Kasilof and Kenai Rivers just to the north of town.

The prime fillets of all the salmon species come from the sockeye, or “red” salmon, and that fish is also available in this vicinity. The beautifully firm, bright-red, meat of the red salmon makes it the highest priced and most desirable seafood in Alaska. These fish do not require a boat or guide, and can be caught in the Kasilof or Kenai Rivers.

razor clamThere is also an additional seafood opportunity on the local beaches at low tides: razor clams. These crustaceans are available by digging into the beach sand at times of extra-low tides, known locally as “negative tides”. This opportunity occurs when the tide cycle flows out so low that the clam beds are uncovered and you can walk on the ocean floor, usually twice a month for a period of four or five days. Ninilchik is blessed with almost thirteen miles of beaches suitable for clamming, and with the clam bag limit of sixty per person, it is easy to see why this is a very popular endeavor.

Alaskan Angler RV Resort has grown into the largest full-service RV resort in the area due its central location for all of the above activities and its notoriety for providing excellent service, amenities, and activities for RVers while participating in those activities. With on-site fish processing, fishing and clamming gear rentals and sales, as well as charter ocean and river fishing, Alaskan Angler RV is known as the area’s premier fishing and clamming resort.

Posted in AK RV Vacation, Fishing, Fishing Vacation | Leave a comment