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Alaska Wilderness Tour

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7 days From $2,466 per person
4.5 stars(77 reviews)
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Join the Denali Star in exploring Alaska’s gorgeous rail corridor, venturing through the vast wilderness and past pristine mountainscapes to the state’s best destinations, including Anchorage, Talkeetna, Denali National Park, and Fairbanks.

Travel on your own following a well-planned itinerary

2025 Tour code: WC-AWTN-25

About the tour

Alaska is a place where contrasts are written into the landscape. Lively cities sit at the cusp of pristine wilderness, and rich indigenous heritage and reminders of the past mingle with modern life. This seven-day independent rail journey is your chance to explore these elements, unveiling what makes America's Last Frontier such a beguiling destination. Sit back and relax as a showcase of quintessential Alaska unfolds from the state's rail corridor, beginning in Anchorage. Your journey aboard the Denali Star takes you from the beautiful south-central coast deep into the forested mountains of the interior by way of immense backcountry and mile upon mile of pristine wilderness. Enjoy time in historic Talkeetna, taking to the Talkeetna and Susitna Rivers by jetboat, and in Denali National Park, where a wilderness adventure presents some of the park's most scenic vistas and best wildlife viewing points. You also have a chance to experience Denali on your terms before rejoining the Alaska Railroad for a trip to Fairbanks. The Golden Heart of Alaska has a riveting mixture of culture, tradition, and wilderness, which you experience from the decks of a sternwheeler riverboat while cruising the Chena and Tanana Rivers. Find yourself inspired and delighted at each turn of this Alaskan exploration, which stands alone as a memorable trip through the state's most renowned destinations or is perfect as a pre- or post-trip extension to an Alaskan cruise.

This tour is also available in reverse from Fairbanks to Anchorage.

 

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - Anchorage

Anchorage, Alaska's largest city and a gorgeous destination at the cusp of the Knik and Turnagain Arms, welcomes you to America's Last Frontier. As you arrive, transfer on your own to your hotel, and then take the day to get accustomed to your new surroundings. If you arrive early, you may wish to take a sightseeing trolley around the city or visit the Anchorage Museum, the state's largest museum. With natural surroundings that include the Chugach Mountains, glaciers, and beautiful waterways, there are also many ways to explore Anchorage's backcountry, including flightseeing or a helicopter tour. If one night isn't enough time to accomplish all your travel goals in Anchorage, you may opt to add additional nights. Overnight Anchorage.

Day 2 - To Talkeetna Aboard the Denali Star

Make your way to Anchorage's rail station this morning to board the Denali Star to Talkeetna in the beautiful Mat-Su Valley. Picturesque views of the Knik Arm and the Chugach Mountains surround the tracks as you begin your journey, and as the train nears Talkeetna, you may even catch a glimpse of Mount Denali. The Denali Star arrives in Talkeetna after a three-hour route through remote Alaska.

Take some time to settle into your hotel, then this afternoon, enjoy a thrilling jetboat excursion on two of the three local rivers. Look upon mountain scenes framed by lush evergreen forests as you wind along the Talkeetna and Susitna Rivers. Continue your day in Talkeetna at leisure, perhaps on an optional flightseeing excursion highlighting Mount Denali and the surrounding glaciers. Overnight Talkeetna.

Day 3 - Denali Star from Talkeetna to Denali National Park

Enjoy a leisurely morning to soak in the splendors of this wilderness town. Much of Talkeetna's original charm remains from its days as a mining boomtown in the late 1800s. Venture downtown to see its wooden buildings, grab a bite to eat in one of the restaurants, or shop at the local galleries and stores. Before reboarding the Alaska Railroad's Denali Star, you could also head into nature for a quick hike.

Take in the views of Mt. Denali and the Susitna River as the train sets underway for the next leg of your journey to Denali National Park. This stretch of the track is markedly wild, weaving into the deep Alaskan wilderness after departing Talkeetna. Enjoy glimpses at the Indian River, Hurricane Gulch, and the Alaska Range as the route unfolds. Majestic views of Healy Canyon and the Nenana River below offer a glorious conclusion to your day's travels. You will arrive at Denali National Park late this afternoon with profound scenery at every angle. Overnight Denali.

Day 4 - Denali National Park Tundra Wilderness Tour

A day of marvelous panoramas, wildlife, and outback adventures lies ahead as you set into Denali National Park on a narrated bus tour. This excursion takes to the park's singular road, built atop a rock glacier. Breathtaking views of Mt. Denali, the Alaska Range, lakes, and expansive valleys mark the byway with beauty. Enjoy included photo stops at scenic overlooks throughout the route and plenty of animal-spotting opportunities. Alaska's "Big 5" - bear, moose, caribou, wolves, and Dall sheep - call these protected lands home and roam freely, so keep your camera ready. Overnight Denali. 

Day 5 - Denali to Fairbanks Aboard the Denali Star

See what makes Denali National Park such an incredible destination as you explore the park independently today. You may wish to set out on foot, hiking the park's trails alone or alongside a park ranger, or see the peaks and valleys from above on a flightseeing experience. Denali offers year-round dogsledding and thrilling seasonal adventures, such as off-roading and whitewater rafting on the Nenana River. Of course, you could always keep your adventures low-key, exploring the park's Visitors Center, picnicking, or choosing a location to post up and spot wildlife.

Late this afternoon, head to the train station once more to board the Denali Star to Fairbanks. The short train ride takes you deeper into the heart of the state, crossing through tundra and remote stretches en route. Overnight Fairbanks.

Day 6 - Discovering Fairbanks

Enjoy a memorable introduction to Fairbanks this morning as you board the sternwheeler Riverboat Discovery to cruise the Chena and Tanana Rivers. This excursion unveils fantastic scenery at a leisurely pace, allowing you to spot wildlife along the shores and admire the rugged mountain scenery. Expert narration provides insight into Alaska's history, landmarks, and ecology during the cruise. Watch floatplanes land and take off from the surrounding water, and enjoy the opportunity to visit a traditional Chena Indian Village to learn about their heritage and connection to the Alaskan wilderness. Before the cruise concludes, you will also stop at a dogsledding facility for a demonstration. The day is yours to visit the Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum, the Morris Thompson Cultural & Visitors Center, or the Museum of the North once back in Fairbanks. You could also venture out on an excursion to Chena Hot Springs. Do not forget to get the iconic photo under Fairbank's antler arch! Overnight Fairbanks.

Day 7 - Tour Conclusion

Your Alaskan adventure concludes this morning, and you are welcome to depart for home at leisure. If you are not ready for your journey to end, speak to a Rail Specialist about extending your stay in Fairbanks with additional nights or activities.

Additional information

Pricing Plans

Moderate
Hotels include Anchorage Marriott, Anchorage; Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge, Talkeetna; Denali Bluffs Hotel, Denali National Park; and SpringHill Suites, Fairbanks.
Service onboard Alaska Railroad's Denali Star is in Adventure Class.

Superior
Hotels include Hotel Captain Cook, Anchorage; Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge, Talkeetna; Grande Denali Lodge, Denali National Park; and Pikes Waterfront Lodge, Fairbanks.
Service onboard Alaska Railroad's Denali Star is in GoldStar Service.

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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Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge

Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge, Talkeetna

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Train

Alaska Railroad

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Reviews

4.5 stars4.5 / 5 · 77 reviews

  1. 5 stars
    (52)
  2. 4 stars
    (16)
  3. 3 stars
    (7)
  4. 2 stars
    (1)
  5. 1 star
    (1)

PENNY TENNETTE

4 stars

Submitted 29 Jun 2024

The trip was enjoyable.

Collected by Trustpilot

CHAD OXTON

5 stars

Submitted 29 Jun 2024

If you're second guessing booking this your, stop now and book it. The seamless integration between the Alaskan Rail Road and the hotels made the trip a breeze. So much to do, see, eat, enjoy, and experience that we are already planning our return visit

Collected by Trustpilot

WENDY G CASSADY

3 stars

Submitted 22 Jun 2024

I wish I would have rented a car and driven myself. Lots of waiting around.

Collected by Trustpilot

Gerry Fightmaster

5 stars

Submitted 19 Jun 2024

It was a comfortable and practical way of exploring the landscape and wildlife of Alaska with just the right mix of activity and just hanging out. The facilities provided adequate and sometimes above average comforts that are expected with an experience like this. The Independent tour was the best way for me to show my 6 year old grandson what Alaska is like. By the way he loved the Denali park sled dog kennel.

Collected by Trustpilot

DEIDRE ANSPACH

4 stars

Submitted 15 Jun 2024

The hotels at the end of the tour should be improved. Breakfast at the hotels could be included. Transportation to the River Boat Paddle boat should have been included. Information about other transportation system at the train stops such as public bus service could be included.

Collected by Trustpilot

CYNTHIA FULLER

3 stars

Submitted 09 Jun 2024

Good food was hard to find. Third leg of trip didn't provide lunch or breakfast, and had to call out a search party to find the pre-ordered $46.00 lunches we ordered. The hotel room at this place was also not very comfortable for an older gentleman who needs space for privacy and a place to line up his medications. The park tour and the shuttle service was very helpful and dependable. The train ride was great, with helpful and interesting staff. The last leg of the trip was good. Fairbanks is expensive, if you decide to go anywhere but your booked hotel. I will say the hotel was wonderful and made the previous two nights stay tolerable. They even paid for a taxi shuttle to the airport because their staff didn't start working early enough to get us to the airport.

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