Transportation at a Glance
|Estimated Time||Travel Guide/Schedule|
|Car||7 - 8 Hours||Parks Highway Guide|
|Bus||8 Hours||Bus Schedule|
|Train||12 Hours||Train Schedule|
|Air||1 Hour||In State Air|
All land transportation options take you through river valleys and boreal forest, with mountain vistas and Mt. McKinley views.
Maximize your flexibility and extend the six or seven hours it would take to drive straight through. Stop off for lunch in Talkeetna, a quirky town in the shadow of Mt. McKinley about 2.5 hours out of Anchorage. Another two hours up the road is iconic Denali National Park; Fairbanks is another couple hours north.
Skip the hassle of a rental car and the uncertainty of finding your own way. Maximize your viewing of scenic landscapes and fully appreciate the changing vistas as you head further north. Most motorcoaches stop every couple hours for restroom breaks or pickup points.
At 12 hours (8:15 a.m. – 8 p.m.), this is the longest train ride on the Alaska Railroad. It’s also usually the most expensive option. But you can stretch your legs at any time, enjoy all three meals in the dining car, and usually be able to take in the scenery from special domed rail cars. This includes spectacular views of Mt. McKinley (on a clear day, anyway) as the train hugs the Susitna River coming out of Talkeetna, as well as the gorgeous Indian River Valley and the 294-foot-high bridge at Hurricane Gulch.
Flying is the quickest option, of course, and sometimes even cheaper than the train. Both Alaska Airlines and private operators offer several flights a day between Anchorage and Fairbanks. On a clear day you can see Mt. McKinley and the Alaska Range, but this route is less about the scenery than it is about maximizing your time in Fairbanks.