PRIVATE & SMALL GROUP TOURS TO THE WORLD'S BEST DESTINATIONS
Three Amazing Alaskan Vacations To Choose From!
Summer Trips To Alaska
Grizzlies & Glaciers Tour
Winter Trips To Alaska
See The Northern Lights
Summer Trips To Alaska
Denali Discovery Adventure
Exploring Alaska By Train
Did you know that one of the best ways to explore Alaska is by train? The Alaska Railroad provides year-round Alaska train vacation packages throughout the Southcentral and Interior regions of the state, with scenic views of more than 500 miles of remote and wild landscapes along the way! This state-owned rail line stretches from Seward to Fairbanks, with stops in Anchorage, Talkeetna, Denali National Park, and many more incredible destinations. Climb onboard and get ready for an adventure with the best Alaska rail tours in the state!
What Is The Alaska Railway?
The Alaska Railroad is a Class II railroad that operates freight and passenger trains in the state of Alaska! This modern railroad welcomes visitors year-round, running between Seward on the southern coast and Fairbanks, near the center of the state and the Arctic Circle, and passing through Anchorage and Denali. Tourists can choose between GoldStar Service cars with glass-domed windows on the top level of the train cars and outdoor viewing platforms, or Adventure Class, with front-facing seats and large windows in each car. You can even book your Alaska train vacation packages online before you arrive.
Enjoy Alaska’s Scenic Train Routes
The Alaska Railroad operates during the spring, summer, fall, and winter seasons – although routes may be limited or less frequent during the cold months. The railway has five different routes to choose from, each offering riders a different landscape to enjoy and different parts of the state to explore. Keep reading to learn more about the best Alaska rail tours you can find in this great state!
Rail Adventure #1 – The Denali Star Train
This Alaska train tour from Anchorage is one of the most popular rail tours offered by the Alaska Railway. Riders can board the train in Anchorage for the 356-mile journey to Fairbanks, with stops in Wasilla Talkeetna, and Denali National Park along the way! The route spans two of Alaska’s distinct regions and features views of the Chugach Mountains and Denali, the tallest mountain in North America, as well as the Alaska Range. Enjoy views of the Indian River, Hurricane Gulch, and Healy Canyon during the 12-hour trip. Passengers often ride the Denali Star to Talkeetna for a day trip or plan multi-day itineraries with overnight stops along the way.
One word of advice, though if you’re traveling from Anchorage to Fairbanks, reserve a seat on the left side of the train! Almost every sight you want to see is on the left, including Mount Denali. But book a seat on the right side of the car for the ride back – so you can see everything in reverse!
Rail Adventure #2 – The Coastal Classic Train
This route departs from Anchorage, then winds along the Turnagain Arm with incredible views of the Chugach Mountains in the distance. The train ride includes a brief stop in Girdwood, then veers away from the state’s road system into the backcountry wilderness. After passing through Seward, the train stops on the shores of Resurrection Bay for visitors to enjoy the scenery, then reverses direction to return travelers back to Anchorage in time for a late dinner. Riders who want to experience a full Alaska train vacation package can add on a boat cruise around Resurrection Bay or Kenai Fjords National Park, or enjoy a scenic trip to a remote island for lunch. Travelers also have the option to stay longer as part of the Real Alaska Tour, which includes a visit to Exit Glacier and a sled dog ride at a local kennel.
Rail Adventure #3 – The Glacier Discovery Train
This train also departs from Anchorage, following the same route as the Coastal Classic, but turning off the main line to the tiny port town of Whittier (with a turnaround point of Grandview.) However, the Glacier Discovery Train route features many more stops than the Coastal Classic, offering passengers the option to participate in several unique day trips. Visitors can explore Girdwood, disembark for a trip to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, or hike through the backcountry at the Spencer Glacier Whistle Stop for a view of Spencer Glacier. And if you want to make a day trip of it, the Whistle Stop offers rafting, hiking, and kayaking opportunities for outdoorsy guests!
Rail Adventure #4 – The Hurricane Turn Train
This train follows two different routes, which vary by season.
The Summer Hurricane Turn Train runs Thursday through Monday from mid-May until mid-September. The train departs from Talkeetna, and then makes a round-trip journey through the wilds of the Indian River Valley. Passengers can disembark along the way, to access remote cabins or hunting and fishing locations, or keep riding until they arrive at Hurricane Gulch. This panoramic viewpoint offers a breathtaking glimpse of Denali towering over the Susitna River in the distance as well as a guided tour of the surrounding area before it returns to Talkeetna.
The winter Hurricane Turn Train departs from Anchorage en route to Hurricane Gulch, but only on the 1st Thursday of the month from October through May. This provides visitors with a good option for a day trip from Anchorage, either to spend a day exploring Talkeetna or simply to enjoy a day riding the rails while taking in the winter landscapes from the comfort of a heated railcar.
Rail Adventure #4 – The Aurora Winter Train
This tour has been named one of the best Alaska rail tours in the state! It runs each weekend from mid-September to mid-May, from Anchorage to Fairbanks, with stops at Wasilla, Talkeetna, Hurricane, Healy, and Nenana. Although the train travels the same stretch of tracks as the summer Denali Star Train, passengers can enjoy views of Alaska’s backcountry pristinely covered in snow! The Aurora Winter Train also offers travelers a perfect opportunity to get away to Talkeetna for a quick day trip, where they can explore the town’s network of winter trails or add on a guided dogsled tour before boarding the train back to Anchorage.
Riding The Rails From Anchorage To Fairbanks
For a truly unique way to see Alaska, consider Alaska train tours from Anchorage. The Alaska Railroad runs all year long, offering passengers incredible views of the ever-changing landscape no matter the season! And, better yet, it offers travelers the opportunity to sit back and enjoy the ride, from the comfort of a heated railway car.