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Traveling from Soldotna/Home back to the lower 48.

Billings, Montana
5 posts
Traveling from Soldotna/Home back to the lower 48.

We are going to drive up to Soldotna/Home in a UHaul truck. We are delivering goods to friends who are moving there. What are our options for getting back to Montana? I have looked into the ferry and would like to make stops at different ports if that is possible. Also, is there an option of the rail? I would appreciate any comments. We will be traveling mid-September and returning to Montana early October.

Healy, Alaska
Destination Expert
for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
Level Contributor
45,599 posts
44 reviews
1. Re: Traveling from Soldotna/Home back to the lower 48.

SO - are you doing a round trip from Montana, to Alaska and then back to Montana?

Alaska train only runs in Alaska.

Ferry info: http://www.dot.state.ak.us/amhs/

If you are driving, I would recommend you order a Milepost today! How much time do you have?

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
8,228 posts
45 reviews
2. Re: Traveling from Soldotna/Home back to the lower 48.

Assuming the ferry is running at the time you're looking at, you could ferry to Bellingham, then get to Seattle, where you could pick up Amtrak's Empire Builder into Montana.

Not a route/trip I'd want to take but you could do it.

Wasilla, Alaska
Destination Expert
for Alaska
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6,800 posts
171 reviews
3. Re: Traveling from Soldotna/Home back to the lower 48.

You'd have to get back up to Whittier to catch the cross-gulf ferry that goes twice a month to Juneau. You'd connect with the ferry to Bellingham from there.

Billings, Montana
5 posts
4. Re: Traveling from Soldotna/Home back to the lower 48.

We are taking a truck/camper up to AK (leaving sometime the first week of September) for some friends and ferrying home (no car). I have found out that we can catch the last ferry out of Homer on the 21st of September and go to Juneau (a 3 day ferry ride). The ferrytravel.com does not have the October schedule listed at this time so unsure of our port hopping adventure after Juneau at this time. We are thiking maybe Juneau to Sitka to Ketichan then to Bellingham. Does this sound feasible? It depends on the ferry schedule I understand. I think we will ride the amtrak from Seattle to Spokane and then have family pick us up in Spokane and then on back to Montana. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Anchorage, Alaska
Destination Expert
for Anchorage
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13,251 posts
233 reviews
5. Re: Traveling from Soldotna/Home back to the lower 48.

Sounds like an interesting trip.

Try looking directly at the Alaska Marine Highway's website: http://www.dot.state.ak.us/amhs/

I have a lot of difficulty figuring it out, but you will definitely will be at an advantage traveling the ferry system without a car.

Good luck.

Lake Tahoe...
Level Contributor
9,264 posts
63 reviews
6. Re: Traveling from Soldotna/Home back to the lower 48.

Taking the cross gulf ferry out of Homer will be the Kennicott and you will be going by way of Kodiak. This service is a twice per month seasonal service, mainly to fill in for the Tustumena when she does her trips out to Dutch Harbor. That will be a LONG trip and would highly recommend getting cabin space.

As you would be taking the Empire Builder out of Seattle, why not continue on to one of the stops in Montana? But, I guess Spokane is more convenient for Billings than perhaps Havre.

I like the ferry/train arrangement, but I would think of after driving a u-haul up here from Montana, I would just want to go home and fly back

Wasilla, Alaska
Destination Expert
for Alaska
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6,800 posts
171 reviews
7. Re: Traveling from Soldotna/Home back to the lower 48.

As k2iks pointed out, the ferry that leaves from Homer on the 21st goes to down to Kodiak, then back up to Whittier, then onto Juneau, and even onto Bellingham. If you want to avoid the side trip (and cost) to Kodiak, you could catch it out of Whittier on the night of the 22nd. It gets into Juneau on the 24th, or onto Bellingham, arriving on the 27th.

I would recommend having a cabin for a trip that long.

Billings, Montana
5 posts
8. Re: Traveling from Soldotna/Home back to the lower 48.

Do you think it will be too cold to tent camp in Juneau/Ketchikan if we were to stay over a few days (end of Sept and the first few days of Oct)? We are thinking that spending a few days at each would be a good thing but we don't want to freeze out? I was thinking maybe the rooms would be discounted if nothing else.

Lake Tahoe...
Level Contributor
9,264 posts
63 reviews
9. Re: Traveling from Soldotna/Home back to the lower 48.

Being that you are from Montana I would assume the temperatures to be about the same, maybe even warmer

Billings, Montana
5 posts
10. Re: Traveling from Soldotna/Home back to the lower 48.

Oh that is good to know. Thanks! I think we are going to take Amtrak from Vashon Island, WA/Seattle to Malta Montana to end our trip. Thanks so much for your information. You really helped alot.