Travel by Train: Ride the Alaska Railroad

Alaska Railroad Alaska Railroad Map o166cj

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.

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North of Anchorage

Talkeetna (3 hrs), Denali (8 hrs), and Fairbanks (12 hrs) • Multiple companies

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.

Season: May 11 to Sep 18 $70 to $405

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

Season: Year Round $114 Round Trip 6 hrs

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

Season: Mid-May to Mid-Sept $389+

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

Season: May 15 to Sep 20 $106 - $349 7+ hrs

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.

Season: Sep 18 to May 08 $63+

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

Girdwood (1.25 hrs), Seward (3.25 hrs) • Operated only by the Alaska Railroad
Season: May 14 to Sep 11 $71 to $148

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

Season: May 07 to Sep 18 $88 to $393

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


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