Not all adventures require four wheels, and fortunately, the Alaska Railroad offers a great, stress-free way to get between Fairbanks and Anchorage. (The Alaska Railroad goes south to Seward, too, but this itinerary is a round-trip train ride between Anchorage and Fairbanks and back again - or, if you prefer, from Fairbanks to Anchorage and back!)

Starting July 1, the Alaska Railroad will offer Denali Star train service with stops in Anchorage, Talkeetna, Denali National Park and Fairbanks.

There are a couple of ways to do this trip:

2 Day Trip:

The Anchorage/Fairbanks and Fairbanks/Anchorage journey is a little more than 12 hours one way. If you want to do a straight there-and-back-again trip, you’ll catch the train early in the morning and reach your destination in time for a late supper (after 8 p.m.) and an overnight stay at a lodge or hotel.

3+ Day Trip starting in Anchorage (do a different leg of the journey each day, or combine days to fit your timeframe):

Day 1

Board the train early in the morning and weave your way across Eklutna Flats, through Wasilla, and on to Talkeetna in time for lunch. Step off the train and enjoy the afternoon in Talkeetna – sign up for a jet-boat tour on the Susitna River, learn what it takes to climb the Great One at the Denali National Park Talkeetna Ranger Station, taste some local brews, and take a leisurely walk along the main street. There’s even an audio walking tour available to download! Search for the Downtown Talkeetna Walking Tour on iTunes or Google Play. Overnight in Talkeetna.

Day 2

After breakfast and a walk along the banks of the Susitna River, re-board the train late in the morning and continue your journey. Next stop – Denali National Park! After riding through some amazing scenery, you’ll reach the park train station by late afternoon. Stroll along a trail at the park entrance or check out the visitor center and Alaska Geographic bookstore (open July 1). Shuttle buses can take you to a local hotel for dinner and overnight near the park entrance.

Day 3

You’ll have the day to explore the park before the train to Fairbanks arrives later in the afternoon. Take a park bus tour (advance reservations required) or sign up for an outing with one of the locally owned tour operators. Try flying through the air on a zipline, take an ATV tour, or learn about the importance of dog mushing in Denali National Park during a demonstration at the park’s own kennel. Board the train in late afternoon and make it to Fairbanks in time for a late dinner and overnight at a local lodge or hotel.

Day 4

Explore Fairbanks. Alaska’s Golden Heart City has something for everyone. Rent a canoe and float down the Chena River, explore the collections in the Museum of the North or meet muskox at the experimental farm on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus, learn about Athabascan culture at the Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitor Center, imagine riding in classic cars at the Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum, peruse the attractions at Pioneer Park, or take a boat trip down the Tanana River. You could easily spend multiple days in Fairbanks!

Day 5

After overnighting in Fairbanks, you’ll board the train early in the morning to make your way south and back to Anchorage, where you’ll arrive later that evening.

Note: if you’re doing this itinerary as a round trip from Fairbanks, start your trip with the train ride to Anchorage on Day 1, explore Anchorage on Day 2, head to Talkeetna on Day 3, Denali on Day 4, and home on Day 5.

3+ Day Trip starting in in Fairbanks (do a different leg of the journey each day, or combine days to fit your timeframe):

Day 1

Board the train early in the morning and head to Anchorage, winding your way through spectacular scenery. Be sure to keep an eye out for wildlife, too! You’ll arrive in Anchorage in time for a late dinner and overnight at your hotel.

Day 2

Visit Anchorage. There’s plenty of ways to spend the day in Alaska’s largest city. Stroll or bike along all or part of the 11-mile long Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, which winds its way from Elderberry Park on the west side of downtown to Kincaid Park, south of the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport; view the extensive collection of Alaska art at the Anchorage Museum, or learn about Alaska’s Native cultures at the Alaska Native Heritage Center (shuttles available from downtown). Or, hop a trolly and get your bearings on a rolling tour of the city before striking out on your own. Overnight in Anchorage.

Day 3

Board the northbound train early in the morning and weave your way across Eklutna Flats, through Wasilla, and on to Talkeetna in time for lunch. Step off the train and enjoy the afternoon in Talkeetna – sign up for a jet-boat tour on the Susitna River, learn what it takes to climb the Great One at the Denali National Park Talkeetna Ranger Station, taste some local brews, and take a leisurely walk along the main street. There’s even an audio walking tour available to download! Search for the Downtown Talkeetna Walking Tour on iTunes or Google Play. Overnight in Talkeetna.

Day 4

After breakfast and a walk along the banks of the Susitna River, re-board the train late in the morning and continue your journey. Next stop – Denali National Park! After riding through some amazing scenery, you’ll reach the park train station by late afternoon. Stroll along a trail at the park entrance or check out the visitor center and Alaska Geographic bookstore (open July 1). Shuttle buses can take you to a local hotel for dinner and overnight near the park entrance.

Day 5

You’ll have the day to explore the park before the train to Fairbanks arrives later in the afternoon. Take a park bus tour (advance reservations required) or sign up for an outing with one of the locally owned tour operators. Try flying through the air on a zipline, take an ATV tour, or learn about the importance of dog mushing in Denali National Park during a demonstration at the park’s own kennel. Board the train in late afternoon and make it to Fairbanks later that evening.

Are you an active or retired member of the military? Be sure to ask for military discount!

If you would like to compare where services are located, you can Add to My Alaska to compile a list and see all the points on the same map.

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Take your itinerary with you using our My Alaska Trip feature and the TravelAlaska app.

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