Official State of Alaska Vacation and Travel Information
"White Pass & Yukon Railway in Skagway " - submitted by Bruce & Linda Holland
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All aboard for spectacular scenery! Whether you’re sailing the Inside Passage or touring Anchorage or Fairbanks, you won’t want to miss out on an opportunity to hop aboard one of Alaska’s scenic railroads.
The White Pass & Yukon Route (WP&YR) rail line climbs an amazing 2,865 feet in 20 miles, going from tidewater to the summit of White Pass as it makes its way between Skagway, Alaska and Carcross, British Columbia. Following the White Pass trail, one of the paths taken by miners to reach the Klondike gold fields in 1898, the route includes tunnels, steep grades, hairpin curves, and bridges over rushing meltwater streams. Completed in 1900, this narrow-gauge railway carried tons of ore from Canada to be loaded onto ships in Skagway. Today, the WP&YR’s vintage parlor cars take you on your journey in style and comfort.
Like the WP&YR, the Alaska Railroad was originally constructed to haul freight. These days, in addition to freight, the ARRC takes visitors on day trips and excursions through some of the most beautiful scenery in the state. Hop on the train to ride between Seward, Anchorage, and Fairbanks, or make stops in Whittier, Talkeetna, or Denali National Park. Take one of ARRC’s glass-domed cars or stand between cars as the train makes its way over Grandview Pass to Spencer Glacier and Turnagain Arm, or over the Hurricane Gulch bridge and into the backcountry north of Talkeetna. And don’t forget to keep an eye out for wildlife! Moose, bears, and eagles are often spotted as the train moves from temperate rain forest to tundra.
In the know: While the Alaska Railroad and White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad are the only two railroads operating in the state today, you can see remnants of Alaska’s railroad past as far away as Nome. The Council City & Solomon River (CC&SR) Railroad was one of many rail lines serving the gold mining areas around Nome in the early 1900s. You can still see remnants of the CC&SR’s “Last Train to Nowhere” outside of Nome, just feet from the Bering Sea.
Keep Reading to find your own rail tour.
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