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
Riding The Rails From Anchorage
Imagine chugging through mountainous landscapes and past towering glaciers, while enjoying the sight of turquoise waters and remote wilderness views from the comfort of a heated railway car. In Alaska, you can! Some of the best train tours of Alaska begin in Anchorage, which makes a perfect basecamp for an adventure by rail.
What Is The Alaska Railway?
The Railroad was started in 1915 after President Woodrow Wilson realized Alaska needed a rail system to connect its southern harbor to its vast interior. For the next five years, 5,000 men laid the tracks that make up the Alaska Railroad and it has been operating ever since. Today, more than 470 miles of track link top destinations and two national parks, while Alaska rail tours from Anchorage give visitors access to some of Alaska’s most epic scenery. This incredible feat of engineering runs from Seward on the Kenai Peninsula north to Anchorage, Talkeetna, Denali, and Fairbanks. Along the way, you can stop in Whittier, Girdwood, Spencer Whistle Stop, and Wasilla!
There are daily departures from Anchorage, Alaska by train ride from mid-May to mid-September. Each route has only one departure per day, so it is important to book your ticket in advance! During the winter months, the railway runs a weekend service between Anchorage and Fairbanks, with a handful of trains running mid-week. The summer schedule offers a variety of options for visitors to explore Alaska’s pristine glaciers or head to Talkeetna for outdoor adventures. Keep reading to learn more about the best train tours of Alaska and what you can see if you book a trip now!
Alaska Rail Tours from Anchorage #1 – Anchorage to Whittier
Ride the Glacier Discovery Tour Train south to Whittier, which should take approximately two hours. Along the way, enjoy incredible views of the Chugach Mountains and Turnagain Arm. Once you arrive in Whittier, make sure to take a glacier cruise! During the five-hour adventure, you will see 26 glaciers as well as Dall’s porpoises, birds, and other marine life. You should be finished with the cruise just in time to catch the last train back to Anchorage!
Alaska Rail Tours from Anchorage #2 – Anchorage to Girdwood
Two of the Alaska Railway’s trains make stops in this small town – the Glacier Discovery Train and the Coastal Classic Train. A highlight of this Anchorage, Alaska train ride is a stop at the Alyeska Resort. Take a ride on the Alyeska Aerial Tram to the top of Mount Alyeska for stunning panoramic views of glaciers, the Turnagain Arm, and the Chugach Mountain Range. Or, book an overnight stay to enjoy the resort’s amenities – the spa, the restaurant, and fun outdoor activities like dogsledding!
Alaska Rail Tours from Anchorage #3 – Anchorage to Spencer Glacier
One of the best train tours of Alaska ends at the Spencer Glacier Whistle Stop. This remote wilderness area is accessible only by train, but the stop itself is fairly primitive. The highlight of this trip is the Spencer Glacier. From the Whistle Stop, follow a short trail to the Spencer Glacier Overlook at the edge of Spencer Lake. You can explore the area on your own, or sign up for a guided hike. Some of the guided tours include kayak trips that paddle right up to Spencer Glacier, before floating down the Placer River and back to the Whistle Stop. Most people make this a day trip, but camping is available as well as a public-use cabin for those who want to stay longer.
Alaska Rail Tours from Anchorage #4 – Anchorage to Portage
If you take the Alaska Railway to Portage, you can disembark and catch a shuttle to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. The center houses animals in enclosures designed to resemble their natural habitats. Stroll along the boardwalk that passes through the bear habitat to see black bears on one side and brown bears on the other, or enjoy 360-degree views of the far-off mountains. The center has a food truck, a grab-and-go- market, and a gift shop that helps support the facility’s conservation efforts.
Alaska Rail Tours from Anchorage #5 – Anchorage to Seward Along The Coastal Route
This Anchorage, Alaska train ride departs the Anchorage Depot and follows the Cook Inlet along the coast. Travel past Potters Marsh and along the Chugach Mountains, where you can spot Dall sheep. Enjoy the beauty of Trail Glacier and Kenai Lake as you head toward Seward, where you can enjoy a day exploring Kenai Fjords National Park. Activities include ziplining, a visit to a sled dog kennel, or a visit to the Alaska SeaLife Center. You can book an overnight stay in the area, or take the last train back to Anchorage that night, too!
Alaska Rail Tours from Anchorage #6 – Anchorage to Talkeetna
This historic town is located where three rivers converge. Ride the Denali Star Train – the flagship train of the Alaska Railway – along the Knik Arm and through the Matanuska Valley, keeping an eye out for bears, moose, and eagles along the way. If you arrive in Talkeetna on a clear day, you should be able to see Denali, the tallest mountain in America, in the distance. Spend the day on a jet boat tour, go flightseeing, take a hike, rent a bike, or go camping and fishing. If you want to spend more than a day exploring the area, lodging is available and you can return to anchorage by train when you are ready!
Alaska Rail Tours from Anchorage #7 – Anchorage to Fairbanks (The Winter Aurora Train)
Alaska rail tours from Anchorage include a magical, 12-hour journey from Anchorage to Fairbanks that follows the same route as the summer Denali Star Train, but in winter! Enjoy winter scenery with white snow and frozen winters, and look for moose against the snow-covered ground. The railway even offers a weekend trip package that bundles rail travel and overnight lodging at Talkeetna Cabins.
Travel In Style With The Alaska Railway
The Alaska Railroad offers two types of service on their trains — GoldStar and Adventure Class services. The GoldStar service includes meals and drinks, with access to a second-level outdoor viewing platform that is perfect for picture taking. Adventure Class includes cars with reclining seats and access to Vista Dome cars that have large picture windows. Travel in style – and comfort – while enjoying the best train tours of Alaska from Anchorage!