Glacier Discovery Train (Anchorage - Whittier - Spencer - Grandview)

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Alaska Railroad  (2:07)

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.

Day Trips

From Anchorage

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.

From Portage

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.
  • Sunglasses

Getting There

411 West 1st Avenue
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.

Driving Directions

Prices & Dates

Season May 15 - Sept 17
One Way Fares Anchorage to Girdwood // $71 adult, $36 child
Anchorage to Portage // $89 adult, $45 child
Anchorage to Whittier // $91 adult, $46 child
Portage to Whittier // $30 adult, $15 child
Whittier to Girdwood // $91 adult, $46 child
Whittier to Portage // $80 adult, $40 child
Whittier to Spencer WS with Rafting // N/A
Roundtrip Fares Anchorage to Girdwood // $111 adult, $56 child
Anchorage/Girdwood to Whittier // $105 adult, $53 child
Anchorage to Spencer Whistle Stop // $129 M adult, $65 M child
Anchorage to Grandview // $148 M adult, $74 M child
Portage/Whittier to Spencer Whistle Stop // $115 adult, $58 child
Portage/Whittier to Grandview // $125 adult, $63 child
Portage to Whittier // $50 adult, $25 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.

Photos

Glacier Discovery Train (Anchorage - Whittier - Spencer - Grandview)

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