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Alaska by Train, What Travelers Need to Know

Plan your Alaska Railroad trip for May-September. The weather is warm and dry. The days are longer and you can enjoy views of Alaskan wilderness and wildlife.

The Alaska Railroad, rolling between Anchorange, Denali National Park and Fairbanks. The Alaska Railroad, rolling between Anchorange, Denali National Park and Fairbanks. By Axe, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Plan your Alaskan rail vacation on the Alaska Railroad for the late spring and summer months — mid-May to mid-September. This is when the weather is dry and warm, and the days are longer, providing ample time for vacation travelers to enjoy the scenic views of the Alaskan wilderness.

The peak season for Alaskan rail travel is from early to mid-June through mid-August. That is when you will find the best rail tour options, weather, and wildlife viewing opportunities.

If you want a more budget-friendly option, consider traveling in May, when hotels and the railroad tend to lower their rates for the first few weeks of the summer. Also, as you plan, check the airline connections that will work for you.

All the Sights to See

Here are some of the attractions you will see along  the Alaska Railroad route:

  • Kenai Fjords National Park: This park is home to glaciers, fjords, and abundant marine life, including whales, sea otters, and puffins.
  • Denali National Park: This park is home to North America’s highest peak, Denali, and offers stunning views of the Alaska Range.
  • Talkeetna: This charming town is known for its stunning views of Denali and its quirky local culture.
  • Anchorage: Alaska’s largest city is home to a variety of cultural attractions, including museums, art galleries, and theaters.
  • Fairbanks: This city is known for its gold rush history and offers a variety of outdoor activities, including dog sledding and northern lights viewing.
  • Matanuska Glacier: This glacier is one of Alaska’s most accessible and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains.

All Aboard for Alaska

The Alaska Railroad is a Class II railroad that operates freight and passenger trains in Alaska. The railroad’s mainline runs between Seward on the southern coast and Fairbanks, near the state’s center. It passes through Anchorage and Denali National Park, where 17% of visitors travel by train. The Alaska Railroad provides year-round rail transportation throughout Southcentral and Interior Alaska, traversing almost 500 miles of remote and wild landscapes and safely bringing more than 500,000 passengers to Railbelt destinations annually.

If you are planning to travel on the Alaska Railroad, here are the basic things you should know:

  • Routes and schedules: The Alaska Railroad offers a variety of routes and schedules to choose from, including day trips, overnight trips, and multi-day adventures. You can explore the different options on their website and book your tickets online.
  • Scenic views: The Alaska Railroad is known for its panoramic views of the Alaskan wilderness. You can expect snow-capped mountains, glaciers, wildlife, and more.
  • Amenities: The Alaska Railroad offers a range of amenities, including dining options, comfortable seating, and panoramic windows for optimal viewing.
  • Luggage: Passengers can bring up to two pieces of luggage on board, with a maximum weight of 50 pounds per piece.
  • Accessibility: The Alaska Railroad is committed to providing accessible travel for all passengers. They offer wheelchair lifts, accessible seating, and other accommodations for disabled passengers. Here is what passengers need to know about traveling on the Alaska Railroad.

If you want more information, request a brochure, or for more information, try Fodor’s Alaska.

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