The shortest route on the Alaska Railroad, the Glacier Discovery offers opportunities to escape Anchorage and take unique day trips to Girdwood, Portage or Whittier, and in the Kenai Mountains.
Whittier. Connect to a Glacier & Wildlife Cruise in Prince William Sound (from the port of Whittier) and visit active tidewater glaciers, or hire your own small-boat charter to explore or kayak the Sound.
Spencer Glacier. Take Spencer Glacier Rafting, a raft trip around icebergs in Spencer Lake (need to reserve in advance). Join a USFS ranger at the Spencer Whistle Stop for a narrated 1.5 mile hike to Spencer Lake.
Grandview. An easy day-trip, get away from the roads, and see beautiful scenery and wildlife.
Girdwood. Visit the resort town of Girdwood for dog sledding, flightseeing, or rain forest hikes.
All of the trips listed above are also possible from Portage (a 1 hour drive from Anchorage, 20 minutes from Girdwood).
What the Route is Like
As you come out of Anchorage, you'll skirt Turnagain Arm of Cook Inlet. The first two hours run right along the waters of the Arm. Keep a sharp eye out here: passengers frequently spot Beluga whales, Dall sheep, eagles, and moose.
You'll make a quick stop at Girdwood, Alaska's resort town, then Portage. (From here you can go to Whittier to connect to Prince William Sound glacier and wildlife cruises.) Just south of Portage you'll stop following the roads and head straight up the Placer River Valley, a wide glacial river valley carpeted with grassy meadows.
What to Bring
- Camera and Binoculars
- Dress for comfort. Wear comfortable walking shoes. Bring a light jacket for those glacier river breeze that can be chilly.
Anchorage, AK 99501
Anchorage Depot: 411 West 1st Ave, easily accessible from downtown Anchorage.
Girdwood Depot: Brudine Rd, Girdwood Ak, just off of the Seward Highway.
Whittier Depot: Look for white tent across from cruise shop dock.
Portage Depot: When traveling south on the Seward Highway, look for blue Alaska Railroad Depot signs after you pass Girdwood. Depot location is where the Kenai Visitors Center Building (red roof) is located on the left hand side.
Prices & Dates
|Season||May 13 - Sept 17|
|One Way Fares||Anchorage to Girdwood // $76 adult, $38 child|
|Anchorage to Portage // $92 adult, $46 child|
|Anchorage to Whittier // $98 adult, $49 child|
|Portage to Whittier // $32 adult, $16 child|
|Whittier to Girdwood // $98 adult, $49 child|
|Whittier to Portage // $32 adult, $16 child|
|Whittier to Spencer WS with Rafting // N/A|
|Roundtrip Fares||Anchorage to Girdwood // $119 adult, $60 child|
|Anchorage/Girdwood to Whittier // $125 adult, $63 child|
|Anchorage to Spencer Whistle Stop // $141 M adult, $71 M child|
|Anchorage to Grandview // $158 M adult, $79 M child|
|Portage/Whittier to Spencer Whistle Stop // $85 adult, $43 child|
|Portage/Whittier to Grandview // $103 adult, $52 child|
|Portage to Whittier // $52 adult, $26 child|
|Rate Notes||M signifies motorcoach transfer from Portage to either Anchorage or Girdwood is included.|
|Whistle Stop includes guided hike with U.S. Forest Service Ranger.|