The Alaska Railroad: A Journey Through the Last Frontier

The Alaska Railroad offers a remarkable journey through some of the most pristine and awe-inspiring landscapes in North America. Traversing the rugged terrain of the Last Frontier, the Alaska Railroad provides an unparalleled travel experience, combining scenic beauty, rich history, and modern comfort. Whether you are an adventurer, a nature lover, or a history buff, this rail journey offers something for everyone.

A Historic Journey

The Alaska Railroad has been a vital part of Alaska’s history since its inception in the early 20th century. Completed in 1923, it played a crucial role in the development of Alaska, providing a critical link between the coastal city of Seward and the interior town of Fairbanks. Today, it remains a key mode of transportation for residents and a unique way for visitors to explore the state's vast wilderness.

Scenic Routes

The Alaska Railroad offers several routes, each providing breathtaking views and access to remote areas:

  • The Coastal Classic (Anchorage to Seward): This route is often hailed as one of the most scenic train rides in the world. Traveling along the Turnagain Arm, passengers can enjoy stunning views of tidal flats, snow-capped mountains, and glaciers. The journey ends in Seward, gateway to the Kenai Fjords National Park.

  • The Denali Star (Anchorage to Fairbanks): This flagship route takes passengers through the heart of Alaska, with a stop at the iconic Denali National Park. On clear days, travelers can catch a glimpse of Denali (formerly Mount McKinley), the tallest peak in North America.

  • The Glacier Discovery (Anchorage to Whittier): Perfect for those who want to experience Alaska’s glaciers up close, this route travels through the scenic Portage Valley and stops at Spencer Glacier Whistle Stop, where passengers can disembark for glacier hikes and rafting excursions.

  • The Aurora Winter Train (Anchorage to Fairbanks): Running from September to May, this route offers a winter wonderland experience. Passengers can enjoy the sight of snow-covered landscapes and, with some luck, the spectacular northern lights.

Onboard Experience

Traveling on the Alaska Railroad is about more than just the views. The trains are equipped with modern amenities to ensure a comfortable journey:

  • Dome Cars: For the best views, passengers can upgrade to the GoldStar Service, which includes seating in double-deck dome cars. These cars feature large windows that provide panoramic views of the stunning scenery.

  • Dining: The onboard dining options highlight Alaskan cuisine, with fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. Meals are prepared to order, allowing passengers to enjoy a gourmet experience while taking in the scenery.

  • Wildlife Viewing: The routes pass through areas teeming with wildlife. Passengers might spot moose, bears, eagles, and even whales along the coastal routes.

Excursions and Activities

The Alaska Railroad offers numerous excursions and activities to enhance the journey. At various stops, passengers can embark on guided hikes, rafting trips, and wildlife tours. Some of the most popular excursions include:

  • Denali National Park: Explore the park’s vast wilderness, take a bus tour deep into the park, or try your hand at dog sledding.

  • Kenai Fjords National Park: In Seward, visitors can take a boat tour to see glaciers calving into the sea and spot marine wildlife such as seals, sea lions, and puffins.

  • Spencer Glacier: Disembark at the Spencer Glacier Whistle Stop for guided hikes on the glacier or take a raft trip on the glacier-fed river.


The Alaska Railroad offers a unique way to experience the raw beauty and grandeur of Alaska. With its scenic routes, comfortable onboard amenities, and a variety of excursions, it provides an unforgettable adventure through one of the world’s last great wildernesses. Whether you are seeking adventure, relaxation, or a bit of both, the Alaska Railroad promises a journey that is as enriching as it is breathtaking.