Train enthusiasts might have asked themselves this question: can I ride a train to Alaska? Unfortunately, Canada does not connect directly to Alaska through rail networks, so you may need to fly, cruise or use its ferry system instead.
But you are in luck: Alaska offers some incredible ways to explore it – one such being on a train tour, where you’ll gain views and experiences that simply cannot be had through any other form of transportation.
Trains to Alaska
Train travel can be an ideal way to experience some of the most breathtaking parts of Alaska, which is famous for its breathtaking scenery, lush national parks, and abundant wildlife.
The Alaska Railroad offers scenic train rides between Seward, Anchorage, Talkeetna, and Fairbanks along a 470-mile route that passes by iconic attractions like Denali National Park and Kenai Fjords National Park.
Train journeys take about 12 hours and offer passengers an unparalleled way to explore Alaska. They also feature “whistle stop” service, which allows passengers to disembark at specific destinations not accessible via road.
Denali Star Train
The Denali Star Train travels between Anchorage in the south and Fairbanks in the center, covering 350 miles with three stops along its journey. Alaska Railroad’s flagship route allows travelers to experience Interior Alaska for up to 10 days on this unforgettable trip.
As your train passes through Interior Alaska, the breathtaking Alaska scenery will take your breath away. Take in pristine Knik and Matanuska River waters, dense birch forests, expansive watersheds housing moose, bear, caribou, Dall sheep and numerous waterfowl as you cross this vast land mass on its journey through Interior Alaska.
Talkeetna, an old mining town situated several miles outside Anchorage, will offer your first opportunity to witness Denali, North America’s tallest peak.
Explore towns like Wasilla for jet boating and rafting; spend some time at Denali National Park – one of the world’s greatest natural wonders; or stop for sightseeing in Anchorage itself.
Glacier Discovery Train
One of the best ways to explore Alaska is with a train tour. These trips allow guests to see wildlife, witness Denali or witness glaciers in Kenai Fjords.
The Glacier Discovery Train is an Alaska-based scenic railway that travels along Turnagain Arm from Anchorage to Girdwood, Whittier, Portage, Spencer, and Grandview – perfect for day trips and cruise transfers alike.
After boarding the Glacier Discovery train in Anchorage, passengers can enjoy breathtaking mountain and waterfall views during their journey. Furthermore, guides provide invaluable insights into Alaska’s ecology and history during this tour.
This train route was developed as a means of accessing wilderness areas previously inaccessible to visitors, with stops at Girdwood, Whittier, Portage and Spencer Glacier Whistle Stop.
The Coastal Classic Train provides an unforgettable journey from Anchorage to Seward and back, and is one of the most sought-after ways of exploring Alaska. Travel along scenic Turnagain Arm before venturing deeper into Kenai Peninsula wilderness areas.
As soon as you arrive in Girdwood, you will be treated to breathtaking scenery such as glaciers, waterfalls and snowy mountaintops of the Chugach Range. As you continue south along Route 951, eventually reaching Placer River Valley’s lush alpine forests where moose, bears and wolves play freely.
As soon as you arrive in Seward, take time to enjoy Kenai Fjords National Park or any of the many other attractions within its boundaries. A seven-hour layover provides ample opportunity to explore this charming town that boasts numerous charming shops and restaurants.
Onboard services offered include GoldStar Service or Adventure Class, dining car service (in Anchorage and Seward only), baggage service, non-smoking cars and wheelchair access. For an optimal experience book one of the glass dome GoldStar railcars.
Chris is a passionate learner and writer. When he’s not working on his blog or learning something new, he’s a full-time systems administrator and father of two beautiful girls. Chris loves spending time with his family, reading, writing, and playing hockey.