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Alaska by Day

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11 days From $4,650 per person
4.7 stars(38 reviews)
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From Prince William Sound to Resurrection Bay, Kenai Fjords and Denali National Parks, and all the expansive wilderness in between, experience untamed Alaska at its best on this immersive journey featuring three of the Alaska Railroad’s scenic rail lines.

Travel on your own following a well-planned itinerary

2025 Tour code: WC-ABDR-25

About the tour

Eleven days of exploration open your eyes to why Alaska has earned the nickname of America's Last Frontier. This state embodies the spirit of adventure, and its pristine wilderness and heritage-filled cities set the perfect backdrop for just that. See yourself on this independent tour exploring destinations like Anchorage, Seward, Talkeetna, and Fairbanks. Spend time spotting wildlife and soaking in the natural grandeur while visiting Kenai Fjords and Denali National Parks, cruising Prince William Sound, and riding through vast expanses of mountainous backcountry on the famous Alaska Railroad. Behold deep heritage while sightseeing independently in culture-filled cities and embarking on excursions that highlight tradition in memorable ways, such as jetboat riding and dogsledding. Glaciers, tundra, mountain scenery, wildlife, and unforgettable experiences await on this grand introduction to Alaska.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - Anchorage

Begin your Alaskan journey in the state's largest city, Anchorage. Tucked between the Chugach Mountains and the Cook Inlet, this city offers an enticing mixture of vibrant culture and natural adventures. Your day here is at leisure to explore either side - or both. You may wish to join an Anchorage trolley tour or wander through downtown's shops, restaurants, breweries, and pretty parks. Historic 4th Avenue is the pinnacle of downtown's charm. Alternatively, you could venture to Chugach State Park. There is much to choose from. Overnight Anchorage.

Day 2 - Prince William Sound

Join the Alaska Railroad's Glacier Discovery Train in traveling from Anchorage to Whittier this morning. Admire the Knik Arm as the route begins, and enjoy a background framed by the Chugach Mountains. The train pauses in Girdwood, then continues through the wilderness to Whittier, to join the 26 Glacier Cruise through Prince William Sound.

This unforgettable expedition navigates 150 miles of calm water, presenting glacier-carved shorelines, stunning fjords, and picture-perfect wilderness views. The boat ventures near massive glaciers, so close that you can hear the towering masses of ice crack as they calve and the thunderous sound of them falling into the ocean below. Spot migratory birds soaring overhead and marine life, including sea otters, harbor seals, and many species of whales, playing in the water. Keep your eyes on the shores, as bears, mountain goats, moose, and other large animals frequently appear. Return to Whittier following the 5 1/2-hour expedition to reboard the Glacier Discovery Train to return to Anchorage. Overnight Anchorage.

Includes
  • Lunch
Day 3 - Coastal Classic Train to Seward/Kenai Fjords National Park

One of North America's most spectacular train rides lies ahead today as you board the Coastal Classic Train. Depart Anchorage early this morning, with views of the Turnagain Arm and the Chugach Range setting the tone for a wonderful route. The train passes through Girdwood and scenic Grandview before entering the most scenic stretch of track through the Kenai backcountry. Look over towering mountains, waterfalls, and ancient glaciers - sights otherwise hidden from travelers. Resurrection Bay comes into view as the train arrives in Seward.

The day's adventure continues with a six-hour cruise through Kenai Fjords National Park and the protected waters of Resurrection Bay. In addition to the exceptional natural scenery, which includes several types of glaciers and coastal rainforests, this region is a hub for marine life viewing. Orcas, whales, seals, and porpoises abound in these frigid waters, as do puffins and seabirds. Sit back and enjoy the peaceful surroundings while your captain navigates through the park's most scenic and wildlife-rich areas. Lunch is included for your convenience, and because the cruise is fully narrated, you will not miss any of the most impressive sights. Overnight Seward.

Includes
  • Lunch
Day 4 - At Leisure in Seward

The day is yours to spend at leisure in the peaceful harbor town of Seward. This seaside destination puts adventure at your fingertips. Set out on one of the local hiking trails to see glaciers, forests, and pristine wilderness expanses. Expert hikers can even hike onto the Harding Icefield. Staying in town, Seward has a charming Main Street district lined with historical buildings. Explore local art installations, and shop for souvenirs in the stores. The waterfront trail connecting downtown and the harbor provides an idyllic perspective on boats approaching and departing Seward and the surrounding mountainscapes. For a more structured day, consider booking an optional excursion, such as kayaking or paddleboarding at Bear Glacier Iceberg, helicopter tours, or a scenic flightseeing excursion with a glacier landing. Overnight Seward.

Day 5 - Seward Sightseeing

Experience the best of Seward on a sightseeing excursion. Your guide presents elements of the port town you may have missed while exploring independently and delves into the fascinating history and breathtaking beauty of the "Gateway to Alaska." After touring the city, continue into the wilderness to Exit Glacier in Kenai Fjords National Park. The Exit Glacier region is the only part of the park accessible by land, and visiting shows you how ancient ice has shaped the land. A short walk along a nature trail takes you to the face of the glacier, and seeing its power up close is impressive. As you meander along the well-kept path, look to the surrounding slopes to spot bears, mountain goats, and moose and in the streams for salmon.

Enjoy lunch with a view at Resurrection Roadhouse, and after, the day continues to the Seavey Homestead, home to three-time Iditarod champion Mitch Seavey. Learn about dogsledding and its significance in Alaskan culture while meeting the dogs at the kennels, then set out on the IdidaRide's Wilderness Dog Sled Ride and Tour, a two-mile wheeled sled ride to Resurrection Mountain and along Box Canyon Creek.

Wrap up your day on the rails. Join the Alaska Railroad this evening for its northerly route to Anchorage on the Coastal Classic Train. Overnight Anchorage.

Includes
  • Lunch
Day 6 - Talkeetna

This morning's travels take you inland aboard the Alaska Railroad's flagship route, the Denali Star. Your destination is Talkeetna in the picturesque Mat-Su Valley. Soft morning sunlight makes for beautiful views over the Knik Arm as the journey begins. Look over the Chugach Mountains, and as the train nears Talkeetna, mighty Mt. Denali breaks on the horizon. Jump right back into the action on arrival with a jetboat ride aboard the McKinley Queen. Your cruise explores the Talkeetna, Chulitna, and Susitna Rivers and the Chulitna River Gorge weaving through the wilderness with chances to spot eagles overhead and bears along the shore at every turn. Your boat allows you to explore an Alaskan braided river - a series of channels separated by small islands - and takes you to the shore, where a 1/4-mile walk leads you to an authentic native encampment and a rustic trapper cabin. Overnight Talkeetna. 

Day 7 - Alaska Railroad to Denali National Park

Relax with a free morning in Talkeetna, a town whose wild surroundings, boomtown roots, and artsy undertones make it a destination you will love. You can explore the downtown region, where original buildings line the streets and shops and art galleries abound. There are plenty of places to grab a cup of coffee or a bite to eat. Continue down the road to Talkeetna Riverfront Park to walk on the sandbar and soak in glorious scenery composed of water and mountains. Optional flightseeing excursions, including over Denali National Park, are also available.

Later this morning, join the Denali Star in traveling to Denali National Park. This route is a stunning presentation of the Alaskan wilderness, with views of the Indian River, Hurricane Gulch's dramatic landscapes, and Healy Canyon's impressive scenery paving the course. And all of this is in addition to the mountainous backdrop the Alaska Range provides. Arrive in the park this afternoon with plenty of time to begin your explorations independently. Perhaps dip your toes into Denali's history and offerings at the Visitor's Center or take a short hike to see the beautiful scenery. Overnight Denali.

Day 8 - Denali National Park Tundra Wilderness Tour

Some of Denali National Park's most impressive vistas are on display today as you embark on a 43-mile narrated bus tour to the East Fork River. This excursion heads deep into the backcountry on the park's singular road. Keep your camera handy as you venture past lakes and sweeping valleys. Enjoy photo stops at particularly scenic overlooks and the chance to spot wildlife in remote locations. You may see Dall sheep or mountain goats clinging to the peaks or bears fishing in the lakes. Moose and caribou roam through the valleys and forests. Unrivaled views of the Alaskan Range and Mount Denali complement all of this. This tour is your ticket to Alaska at its best. Overnight Denali.

Day 9 - At Leisure in Denali/Travel to Fairbanks

With over 6 million acres of protected land, Denali National Park has no shortage of scenery to captivate you during your free day in the park. Add as much or as little adventure to your day as you would like. The park has incredible hiking trails you can explore alone or with a ranger. Choose a scenic river float or Denali helicopter tour with glacier landing for a more thrilling way to spend your time. This afternoon, join the final leg of the Denali Star route to Fairbanks, Alaska's Golden Heart. Views of the vast inland tundra punctuate the path to this unique city. Overnight Fairbanks.

Day 10 - Riverboat Discovery Tour

Wild Fairbanks in Alaska's interior is a playground for nature lovers. Its gorgeous rivers, deep forests, and rugged landscapes set the tone for myriad adventures, including today's, which takes to the region's waterways. Join the Riverboat Discovery, a historic sternwheeler, in cruising the Chena and Tanana Rivers. The boat cascades through the water at a leisurely pace and gives you a front-row seat to marvelous panoramas. Enjoy full narration during the journey, ensuring you do not miss any wildlife along the shores or points of interest. The route pauses to visit a traditional Chena Indian Village, where locals offer insight into their traditions and way of life, and at a dogsledding facility. Did you know the dogs continue to run during the summer months to stay in shape for the season? You will see it in action today.

Return to Fairbanks following the three-hour cruise with the rest of the day to explore as you please. The Morris Thompson Cultural & Visitors Center, the Museum of the North, and the Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum are some popular museums in town. You could venture to Chena Hot Springs for a dose of relaxation or toast to a fantastic adventure in one of the local breweries. Overnight Fairbanks.

Day 11 - Tour Conclusion

Upon checking out of your hotel, your memorable journey through Alaska's cities and wilderness concludes. If you are not ready to head home just yet, speak to a Rail Specialist about extending your stay in Fairbanks with additional nights or activities.

Additional information

Please Note

In general, Alaska hotels tend to be more dated and rustic than hotels found in the continental US. Due to the remote nature of the state, and destinations visited on this tour, access to select food items may be challenging or expensive. We recommend packing personal essentials and snacks to bring with you.

Prices are land-only, per person based on double occupancy. Prices are correct at the time of this web page going live; however are subject to confirmation at time of booking. Hotels & Accommodations are subject to change based on availability.

Departure times

Departure times vary based on selected rail vacation. This information will be provided in your final documents. For more information please speak with your rail specialist.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular vacation with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.

Hotels

Hotel Captain Cook, Anchorage

Hotel Captain Cook, Anchorage

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Denali Bluffs Hotel

Denali Bluffs Hotel

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Grande Denali Lodge, Denali National Park

Grande Denali Lodge, Denali National Park

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Pike’s Waterfront Lodge

Pike’s Waterfront Lodge, Fairbanks

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Springhill Suites

Springhill Suites, Fairbanks

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Seward Windsong Lodge, Seward

Seward Windsong Lodge, Seward

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Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge

Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge, Talkeetna

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Train

Alaska Railroad

Ship

Riverboat Discovery

Reviews

4.7 stars4.7 / 5 · 38 reviews

  1. 5 stars
    (31)
  2. 4 stars
    (5)
  3. 3 stars
    (1)
  4. 2 stars
    (1)
  5. 1 star
    (0)

customer

3 stars

Submitted 03 Jul 2024

Alaska is beautiful and we enjoyed seeing by train. But customer service and having no reps on the ground to answer questions was not good. One hotel was a bit dated and run down. also should provide transport in more places.

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LISA LEPPEK

4 stars

Submitted 30 Jun 2024

The train travel was amazing. Comfortable seating, excellent dining service and amazing scenery. Most hotels were comfortable and accommodating, but the Pikes Landing hotel staff lacked knowledge and transportation services were confusing. The excursions started on a high, but ended on a low. The two sea cruises were spectacular, but the Fairbanks paddlewheel trip is kitschy. All in all, it was a great trip and seeing the Alaska wilderness by train is an exceptional experience.

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LINDA SPENK

5 stars

Submitted 31 Aug 2023

The trip was just fabulous. It hit all the main stops and was fun and relaxing. The excursions were interesting and well done, and we still had down time in the evenings to do want we wanted to do.

from Vacations By Rail
We are so glad to hear that you had a great time on your trip to Alaska! We hope you choose to travel with us again.
1 comment

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SHAWN LEROY

4 stars

Submitted 12 Aug 2023

Although we had some glitches here and there with the vendors contracted the trip was a great experience. The itinerary should explain in a more clear way whether shuttles will or will not be available when you get off the train and straight into an excursion.

from Vacations By Rail
Thank you for taking the time to provide your feedback. We are so glad that you enjoyed your time in Alaska! These photos are beautiful and we'd love to share them on our social media with your permission. :)
You have my permission to use those pictures
Of course we have many more pictures we can share as well
3 comments

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DAVID PLEAU

5 stars

Submitted 09 Jul 2023

The Alaska by Day train tour was amazing. One of the best ways to see the highlights of Alaska.

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WADE JARVIS

5 stars

Submitted 04 Jul 2023

We loved our trip! So many great things to do and see. The side excursions were excellent. The lodging in some places was a bit lacking (Hilton had no shuttles and one of the rooms we got had poor AC, Bridgewater was definitely not an "upgrade" hotel, Grande Denali was really far from any other restaurants and their restaurant was not very good) but ALL the beds were very comfy!! Definitely a bucket list trip! ** anyone with food allergies or limitations should be aware there are limited choices on the trains and many of the side excursions with food. Bring your own snacks!

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