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Alaska Northern Lights & Aurora Train

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Tranquil, snow-covered scenery paves the path to grand expeditions on this immersive Alaskan wintertime rail vacation featuring the Aurora Winter Train.

You are viewing the 2023 itinerary. Select your departure year
20232024
7 days From $2,578 per person
Travel on your own following a well-planned itinerary
Special Offer

$100pp off on select Alaska Rail and Cruise Vacations departing March thru September 2023. Book by February 3rd.

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2023 Tour code: DH-ANLS-23

About the tour

Winter is a special time of year in Alaska. The landscape transforms into a wonderland clad in fluffy white snow, and the short days set the perfect stage for the aurora borealis to take over the night sky. Adventures take on a new form and open visitors' eyes to the wonders and traditions of America's Last Frontier. This week-long Alaskan journey showcases all this and more. Split your time between Fairbanks and Anchorage as a relaxing homebase between each adventure.

In Fairbanks, spend your days sightseeing, hiking, and exploring at your own pace and your nights chasing the northern lights. Enjoy a relaxing visit to Chena Hot Springs Resort and the unique experience of watching the aurora's colors dance overhead in a backcountry yurt. Learn about how the land was shaped, and its traditions were formed during your time in Anchorage. A visit to a dog sledding facility and a guided excursion atop the Matanuska Glacier are experiences you will treasure for a lifetime. And connecting these two destinations, 350 miles of some of the interior's most remote and impressive lands lie along the Alaska Railroad's tracks. This journey truly showcases the magic winter can bring to Alaska.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - Fairbanks

Arrive in the "Golden Heart of Alaska" today, Fairbanks, and transfer on your own to your hotel. Fairbanks is the largest city in Alaska's interior and has a prime location under the auroral oval. These facts make the metropolis a perfect starting point for your wintertime adventure. After checking in, take the rest of the day to get acquainted with your new surroundings. Overnight Fairbanks.

Day 2 - Fairbanks at Leisure/Chena Hot Springs Northern Lights Viewing

Spend the day at leisure in Fairbanks. Winter is a great time to explore the city's fascinating museums, including the Museum of the North, the Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum, and the Morris Thompson Cultural & Visitors Center. Don't forget to get a picture under the moose antler arch! Nearby, the Reindeer Ranch is the perfect place to learn more about Santa's favorite animals.

This evening, prepare for an aurora viewing experience like no other at Chena Hot Springs Resort. An excellent location outside the city affords this resort an unmatched perspective on the aurora borealis. Its amenities ensure your experience is as relaxing as it is scenic. Unwind in Chena Hot Springs's legendary mineral water baths or stroll through the Aurora Ice Museum. When the atmospheric conditions are just right, lift your eyes to the sky. Nature's most colorful display dances across the sky in red, violet, and green hues. Overnight Fairbanks.

Day 3 - At Leisure in Fairbanks/Aurora Borealis Viewing

Even when the temperatures drop, the fun does not slow in Fairbanks. Outdoor adventures, like snowmobiling, ice fishing, and cross-country skiing, abound. Various breweries produce fantastic local microbrews, and excellent restaurants offer an array of cuisines.

Another northern light viewing experience beckons tonight when you venture to an Aurora Viewing Yurt outside of Fairbanks. These cozy buildings have clear roofs to ensure a perfect view of the multi-hued sky. Feel free to get comfortable inside and watch the show unfold, or venture outside for an even more incredible perspective. After all, these yurts are carefully placed away from all the city lights. Their locations are remote enough to promise the best vantage points from which to see the aurora borealis, yet they are still easily accessible. Overnight Fairbanks.

Day 4 - Aurora Winter Train to Anchorage

An all-day expedition through the great state of Alaska lies ahead today as you join the Alaska Railroad to Anchorage. Your chariot is the Aurora Winter Train - the cold-weather equivalent to the Denali Star. Depart Fairbanks and spend the day marveling at views of the tranquil, snow-clad landscapes from your large picture window in the pure comfort of your heated rail car. Comfortable seating pairs with onboard dining options to ensure your full-day trip is as pleasant as it is scenic. This ride is truly a grand introduction to Alaska. On arrival in Anchorage, make your way to your hotel with the remainder of the evening at leisure. Overnight Anchorage.

Day 5 - Dog Sledding Excursion in Talkeetna

Take the scenic highway from Anchorage to Talkeetna. Keep an eye out for the snow-covered mountain of Denali. Immerse yourself in the time-honored tradition of dog-sledding, a sport that has carved its place in Alaskan history. Enjoy a full-day excursion to a beloved kennel in Talkeetna, where you can experience its thrills first-hand. Race through snow-covered forests and great expanses of wide-open terrain at the heels of these powerful dogs. Listen to their barks and excitement as they work together to navigate their route. Once your driver-guide returns you to the kennels, you are welcome to snuggle the puppies and meet the dogs for some one-on-one time. Learning about the history of the sport, how it used to be the prime mode of transportation in the state, and its place in the modern world complements this outdoor adventure. Return to Anchorage and take the evening to explore the city's best restaurants, brewhouses, or distilleries as you please. Overnight Anchorage.

Day 6 - Matanuska Glacier Tour

Today you have a chance to explore a local favorite. At twenty-seven miles long, four miles wide, and approximately 21,000 years old, the Matanuska Glacier is an icy behemoth of epic proportions. This ancient stretch of ice sits at the head of the Matanuska Susitna Valley (Mat-Su Valley) and is the largest glacier in the United States that you can access by car. It would be an understatement to say it is the perfect place for an adventure.

Your excursion takes you directly onto the face of the glacier with a guide by your side. Your guide helps you get fitted with all the proper gear for safe hiking, and then you are off to be submersed in otherworldly scenery. Capture breathtaking views of the Alaskan Range, the Talkeetna Mountains, and the Chugach Mountains all around you while exploring this icy playground. Explore brilliant blue meltwater pools and remarkable ice formations. As you hike, your guide introduces the glacier's history and notes how it has changed the landscape of the Mat-Su Valley. Wrap up your adventure with a relaxing lunch overlooking the glacier's ever-impressive ice. Overnight Anchorage.

*This activity requires the ability to walk one to two miles (2 to 3 hours) on uneven surfaces. Ice cleats, walking sticks, and helmets provided.

Includes
  • Lunch
Day 7 - Tour Conclusion

After a week of quintessential wintertime activities in Alaska, your auroral adventure concludes this morning as you check out of your hotel. 

Additional information

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.

Train

Alaska Railroad's Aurora Winter Train
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