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The Alaska Railroad passes wildflowers and a river
Photo Credit: ATIA, Michael DeYoung
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Getting Around by Train

Getting Around Alaska: By Train

Alaska offers some of the world’s most spectacular rail journeys on the two railroads operating in the state: the Alaska Railroad and the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad. Traveling Alaska by train offers an exciting yet comfortable way to see the state. Both trains journey through areas that are inaccessible by road and offer “whistle stop” service for passengers to disembark along the way for a quiet day of picnicking, fishing, or hiking.

The Alaska Railroad is a modern railroad with track stretching 470 miles from Seward to Fairbanks, with stops in top destinations like AnchorageTalkeetnaDenali National Park and Preserve, and more. The Alaska Railroad is famed for its glass-domed rail cars and excellent service. 

Train tours on the Alaska Railroad are a convenient and fun option for those interested in seeing Southcentral and Interior Alaska but don't want to drive themselves. Hop on board for a scenic day trip or book a multi-day package that includes overnight stays at hotels and lodges along the way and activities such as rafting, wildlife viewing, hiking, ziplining, and more. A major rail station in Denali National Park provides one of the most favored methods of reaching the iconic national park. Cruise ship passengers disembarking in SewardWhittier, and Anchorage can book the Alaska Railroad for a convenient post-cruise multi-day land tour and then fly out of Anchorage or Fairbanks.

Two classes of passenger service are available, including GoldStar Service featuring glass-domed ceilings and outside viewing platforms. Locally-sourced food and beverages are offered in dining cars so you can enjoy hearty and delicious meals on your journey. Local tour guides provide narration and point out the bears, moose, bald eagles, and other wildlife that can be seen along the way.

For a train adventure in the Inside Passage, the White Pass & Yukon Railroad travels from Skagway to Fraser, B.C. Established in 1891 during the Klondike Gold Rush, it’s now a scenic rail line that takes visitors through rugged terrain and impressive scenery. 

Several tour options are available ranging from two hours to full-day, with drop-off options for camping and hiking excursions. Route highlights include Glacier Gorge, Dead Horse Gulch, and Bridal Veil Falls. The train climbs steeply up to White Pass, the boundary between the United States and Canada, at 2,888 feet in elevation. The two hour train tour is one of the top excursions in Skagway and is a popular option for cruise ship passengers in port for the day.

Alaska is not accessible from the contiguous U.S. by train.

Get other travel tips for visiting Alaska.

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