Hop on board the Alaska Railroad for a true Alaska experience. Relax in reclining, forward facing chairs with large picture windows while cruising past some of the world’s best vistas. Whether as an independent traveler or a cruise passenger looking for a pre- or post- experience, the Alaska Railroad is flexible enough to fit any schedule. One-day adventures and multi-day packages can be booked through several local operators.
From mid-May to mid-September, trains depart north and south every day from Anchorage. Two trains run south: the Coastal Classic train heads out with an early morning departure for Seward, and the Glacier Discovery train leaves mid-morning for Whittier, then travels further into the Kenai Mountains, Spencer Glacier and the alpine paradise of Grandview.
The Glacier Discovery Train is the ticket to the Alaska Railroad Whistle Stop at Spencer Glacier. Here, passengers can disembark for short hike with a U.S. Forest Service ranger up to get a closer look at Spencer Glacier or hop on a boat for a gentle float among the icebergs at Spencer Lake and down the Placer River.
The Denali Star train makes its way north into Alaska’s interior to Talkeetna, Denali National Park and Fairbanks – the railroad’s northernmost point. At the same time, another train travels south from Fairbanks along the same route.
Not limited to summer, the Alaska Railroad operates weekends in winter and offers a few different special event trains each fall.
Alaska Railroad's Got the Blues
Wallow with them aboard the annual fall Blues Train on track each September to Seward for the sweet sounds of a local blues band. The roundtrip, overnight adventure treats guests to Turnagain Arm on its way to the shores of Resurrection Bay, includes a righteous spread of appetizers, a delicious BBQ meal, no host bar and overnight hotel accommodations.
All Aboard for Oktoberfest
Sample the best of the Glacier Brewhouse aboard the Great Alaska Beer Train, which travels 80 miles roundtrip from Anchorage to Portage and features an impressive assortment of the finest local microbrews paired with appetizers, entrees and dessert. Held annually in early October.
A Ghoulishly Good Time
The Alaska Railroad scares up the Alyeska Mystery Train at the end of October. The special event train features murder mystery-style entertainment and includes one-way train ride from Anchorage to Girdwood, one-night stay at The Hotel Alyeska, multi-course dinner, entertainment and bus transfer to Anchorage the next morning.
The term “winter train” conjures thoughts of a locomotive passing through stark and lonely landscapes before a trail of billowing steam. But in Anchorage, “winter train” means comfort, warmth of companionship and an extraordinary opportunity to ski, snowboard, snowshoe, explore quaint communities and watch for the aurora borealis – Alaska’s dancing northern lights.
Spend some time in the Dome Car and you will definitely view a moose or three as the train rolls past a hidden snowy valley. There is plenty of time to visit with a companion while the winter wonderland of Alaska sweeps by, but watch out, the gentle rocking may lull you into a cozy winter’s nap!
Special winter event trains operated by the Alaska Railroad include the Easter Train and Holiday Train. A special Nordic Ski Train to Curry in March is extremely popular with the locals and tickets sell out quickly!