Anchorage, Granview, Talkeetna, Denali, Fairbanks
Day 1 Anchorage - Grandview
Fly in to Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport and take a scenic day trip aboard the Alaska Railroad’s Glacier Discovery train, as portrayed in the mid-‘80s action movie “Runway Train.” From Anchorage, the train travels south toward Grandview, with stops at Girdwood, Portage Glacier and Spencer Glacier. Stop at the Spencer Glacier and choose from various canoeing, kayaking and hiking tours. Meals are available for purchase on the train. After taking in the sights at Grandview, return to Anchorage via rail or board a motorcoach at the Portage Glacier stop.
Day 2 Talkeetna
Continue your Alaska Railroad adventure north aboard the Denali Star train. In just under three hours you’ll arrive in the charming town of Talkeetna, one of several small towns that inspired the hit television show “Northern Exposure.” Outdoor adventure abounds in Talkeetna, which serves as the departure point for mountain climbers set on tackling nearby Denali — North America’s highest peak. Activity options in Talkeetna include flightseeing, riverboat and jetboat tours, fishing, horseback riding, wildlife viewing and more. Spend the night at one of several quaint lodges in the area.
Day 3 Denali National Park and Preserve
Back aboard the Denali Star, travel a little more than four hours north to Denali National Park and Preserve, one of several Alaska locations in the acclaimed production “Into the Wild,” starring Emile Hirsch. The train drops passengers off near the park entrance where numerous campgrounds, food and lodging services and recreation activities are available. Additional activity options inside the park include guided wildlife viewing, rafting and hiking excursions. Overnight at the park entrance or fly to a remote lodge deep within Denali’s unspoiled wilderness.
Day 4 Denali - Fairbanks
Spend the morning exploring Denali National Park and Preserve before boarding the Denali Star train in the afternoon to Fairbanks. Enjoy the scenic rail tour of Alaska’s Interior, passing picturesque communities like Healy and Nenana. Purchase dinner aboard the train — you’ll arrive in Fairbanks later that evening. Fairbanks is Alaska’s second-largest city and the chief transportation hub of the Interior region.
Day 5 Fairbanks
In Fairbanks, spend time touring the University of Alaska Museum of the North. Here you’ll learn about Alaska’s gold rush history, Native culture and wildlife in the area. Stop by the museum’s Alaska Center for Documentary Film — an internationally acclaimed program that has documented the changing cultures of Northern peoples for the past 30 years. The museum’s film and audio collection contains more than 400 hours of irreplaceable Alaska historical material, including “Forced to Leave,” a riveting documentary film about the forced evacuation of Alaska’s Aleut people from their homes in the Aleutian Islands during WWII. Few Americans are familiar with this part of WWII history, and personal interviews with survivors of the traumatic evacuation describe their experiences as virtual prisoners in an abandoned logging camp in Southeast Alaska.
Day 5 Barrow
As an optional trip add-on, fly to Barrow via scheduled jet service. Situated on the shores of the Arctic Ocean, Barrow is the northernmost community in the United States. The area boasts 24 hours of daylight in summer months and offers a variety of tour opportunities to explore Barrow’s rich Native heritage. Approximately 10 miles northeast of town is Point Barrow, the setting for the 1988 international rescue effort known as “Operation Breakthrough,” when three gray whales became trapped in the surrounding sea ice. The ordeal is dramatized in the upcoming film “Big Miracle,” starring Drew Barrymore and John Krasinski. Spend the night at a local hotel before returning to Fairbanks. Fly home from Fairbanks International Airport, or travel south via the Alaska Railroad back to Anchorage.