Winter in Alaska is a magical time, with fewer visitors and a serene, snow-covered landscape. If you’re here from mid-September to mid-May, you can take it in from the comfort of the Aurora Winter Train, which runs between Anchorage and Fairbanks. It’s an easy and memorable way to travel north and experience the aurora borealis, or even do a weekend getaway to Talkeetna.
Fairbanks. The train departs on Saturdays for this 12-hour trip, with a return on Sundays. There are also select mid-week departures in November, December, January, February, and March. This train makes stops in Wasilla and Talkeetna, and there’s flagstop in the roadless area south of Hurricane Gulch.
Talkeetna. It’s a 3-hour trip to the charming frontier town of Talkeetna; go up on a Saturday and return on Sunday for the perfect weekend getaway. There are lots of options to fill your time. For example, stay at the Talkeetna Roadhouse and take their pie-making class!
What the Route is Like
This 12-hour trip isn’t the fastest way to travel between the two cities—and that’s exactly the point. You’ll have plenty of time to appreciate some unique winter views:
- Denali. Because winters tend to have clearer weather than summers, you’ll have a better chance of nabbing a perfect clear view of this stunning mountain.
- Sunrise/sunset. The shorter days mean that you’ll have the chance to witness the sun at its most dramatic.
Plus, you’ll meet the other travelers on board—perhaps over a meal from the onboard café—and experience the railroad’s unique flagstop service. Pressed for time? Take the train north and fly back to Anchorage.
- Northbound: Depart Anchorage Saturdays at 8:30 am
- Southbound: Depart Fairbanks Sundays at 8:30 am
- Northbound: Depart Anchorage Tuesdays at 8:30 am
- Southbound: Depart Fairbanks Wednesdays at 8:30 am
- Northbound: Depart Anchorage Thursdays at 8:30 am
- Southbound: Depart Fairbanks Fridays at 8:30 am