Travel by Train: Ride the Alaska Railroad
Where Can I Go? 470 miles of track run from Seward on the Kenai Peninsula north to Anchorage, Talkeetna, Denali, and on into Fairbanks. Other stops include Whittier, Girdwood, Spencer Whistle Stop, and Wasilla.
When Can I Go? There are daily departures mid-May to mid-September. Each train has only one departure per day, so it’s important to book your ticket in advance. In Winter there’s weekend service between Anchorage and Fairbanks with sporadic mid-week trains. See Alaska Railroad Schedule for more.
What Will I See? Mountains and glaciers fill the ever-changing panorama of your window. Sometimes, you’ll even spot wildlife. The train from Anchorage to Seward is considered the most scenic, but any route is more scenic than your average train ride.
How to Book? North of Anchorage (Talkeetna, Denali, and Fairbanks), you can book directly with the Alaska Railroad Corporation or with companies that operate adjoining dome cars such as Denali Rail Tours, Princess Rail tours, and The Wilderness Express.
South of Anchorage you can only book with the Alaska Railroad Corporation. The Coastal Classic stops in Girdwood and Seward and the Glacier Discovery stops in Girdwood, Portage, Whittier, and the Spencer Whistle Stop.
Pros & Cons The train takes longer and costs more than driving if there are more than two in your party. But you can relax in spacious, comfortable seats and enjoy the views through giant picture windows and dome cars. If visiting Denali National Park you don't need a car because there are shuttles to get around. If riding to Seward, Whittier, or Talkeetna for the day from Anchorage, the schedule aligns perfectly to take an afternoon tour before your return train.
North of Anchorage
Step aboard Princess Rail, whose cars have two levels with 360-degree dome views, a dining area, and large open-air platforms at the rear. You may choose to ride as an independent traveler, or with a larger package that will include lodging at the Princess properties along the way.
This train travels through the forested areas north of Anchorage into the boreal forest, and eventually into the tundra regions further north. On a clear day the train will slow down to allow you to see beautiful vistas of Denali. You may also spot wildlife along the way. Day Trip from Anchorage: Talkeetna Day Trip from Fairbanks: Denali Multi-Day Trip from Anchorage: Talkeetna, Denali National Park, and / or Fairbanks Multi-Day Trip ...more
The Hurricane Turn Train operates on Thursday through Sunday between Talkeetna and Hurricane Gulch from mid May to mid September. You can either take a scenic journey round trip, or you can ask to be let off at whichever mile marker you choose. This train is how many people who live in the backcountry gain access to their homes or cabins. It is also popular for fishermen who gain access to some great fishing spots by train. Get back on the ...more
Take in the scenic views from the domed windows in the private McKinley Explorer railcars by Gray Line Alaska. Independent travelers can book a seat, but most opt for a multi-day package including hotel and transfers. Enjoy excellent service from your car manager, who will point out sights and scenery along the way. Dine in the restaurant located just beneath you, and don’t miss a thing as you continue to gaze out of large picture windows. ...more
Riding the train in Alaska is a relaxing and fun way to take in amazing sights around every bend, and many travelers choose a dome car for the best viewing experience. When you’re headed north of Anchorage, hop on a Wilderness Express private dome car for deluxe viewing at great value.
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.
South of Anchorage
The train can be used as a mode of transportation, however it can also be a round-trip sightseeing excursion. This primary destination is the town of Whittier, a major cruise ship and afternoon day cruise hub. Day Trips from Anchorage: Whittier, Girdwood, Spencer Glacier, Grandview
The Coastal Classic train runs between Anchorage and the town of Seward — a four-hour trip that’s the most beautiful along the entire Alaska Railroad. You’ll see Turnagain Arm as the train departs Anchorage, then a panorama of mountains, glaciers, lakes, and streams. You may even see wildlife like Dall sheep, Beluga whales, moose, bear, and more! Day Trip from Anchorage: Seward, Girdwood Multi-Day Trip from Anchorage: Overnight Seward, or ...more