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Northern Lights & Alaska Highlights

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7 days From $2,266 per person
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Experience one of the world’s most incredible natural displays in quintessential Alaskan fashion on this week-long rail journey into the state’s Golden Heart.

Travel on your own following a well-planned itinerary

2024 Tour code: WC-ANLN-24

About the tour

By day and night, immerse yourself in the wonders of an Alaskan winter. With its far-north location, this state is one of the best places in North America to see the aurora borealis, and this journey features plenty of opportunities to do just that. Venture into the state's remote interior aboard the Alaska Railroad's Aurora Winter Train and enjoy days to explore at leisure and long nights under the colorful skies. Instead of hibernating this winter, embrace the season in all its glory in Alaska.

Unforgettable Experiences

Ride the Aurora Winter Train
Ride the Aurora Winter Train
Spend a full day traveling from coastal Anchorage to Fairbanks in Alaska’s interior aboard the Aurora Winter Train, the cold-weather equivalent to the Alaska Railroad’s Denali Star.
Choose From an Array of Northern Lights Excursions
Choose From an Array of Northern Lights Excursions
Whether you enjoy the prospect of ice fishing or want the adventure of crossing the Arctic Circle on a famous frozen byway, there are plenty of ways to experience the northern lights on this vacation.
Look Upon the Aurora in Unique Locales
Look Upon the Aurora in Unique Locales
Spend an Evening at Chena Hot Springs
Spend an Evening at Chena Hot Springs
Known for its healing mineral waters and beloved for its prime positioning under Fairbanks’ wide-open skies, Chena Hot Springs is the perfect place to spend a relaxing evening searching for the northern lights.
Explore the Wilderness by Dog Sled
Explore the Wilderness by Dog Sled
Take the reins for your adventure while mushing through the Alaskan wilderness, admiring the serenity of the winter landscape and the power of the sled dogs during your route.

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - Arrive in Anchorage

At the cusp of the Cook Inlet and surrounded by incredible nature, Anchorage is a place where deep Alaskan culture and outstanding natural adventures meet. See for yourself as you arrive today and transfer to your hotel independently. Upon check-in, you are welcome to begin sightseeing. The Anchorage Museum and the Alaska Native Heritage Center are fantastic places to learn about the local culture while staying out of the elements; however, wandering around downtown puts many restaurants, breweries, shops, and public art installations at your fingertips. Overnight Anchorage. 

Day 2 - Alaska Railroad to Fairbanks

The beauty of Alaska's backcountry guides the way as you depart Anchorage aboard the Alaska Railroad's Aurora Winter Train. Board your heated railcar early this morning and settle in next to a picture window to watch the route unfold. Enjoy a full day on the train, looking over wide-open landscapes, dramatic mountain ranges, and the splendors of rural Alaska in the winter. Arrive in Fairbanks this evening after 12 hours traveling through Wasilla, Talkeetna, the town of Denali, remote Hurricane Gulch, Healy, and Nenana. Overnight Fairbanks.

Day 3 - At Leisure in Fairbanks/Nighttime Aurora Adventure

Fairbanks is often called the Land of the Midnight Sun, but the opposite is quite true during the winter months. It is the perfect place to sleep in, as the sun does not rise until mid-morning, and to stay out late chasing the aurora borealis. Today, you may explore its offerings at leisure. Get a picture under the iconic moose antler arch or visit one of the local museums, such as the Morris Thompson Cultural & Visitors Center Museum of the North. Alternatively, you could spend the day resting in preparation for tonight's aurora borealis expedition. Choose the tour that best meets your travel goals. Should you wish to do both, speak to a Rail Specialist about adding extra nights in Fairbanks.
● Aurora Ice Fishing - Combine two of the locals' favorite winter activities on this memorable excursion: ice fishing and northern lights viewing. Sit in a heated hut with all the gear, snacks, and warm drinks you need, and wait for the colors to bloom across the sky.
● Arctic Circle Northern Lights Tour - This 14-hour expedition takes you across the Arctic Circle along the famous James Dalton Highway (featured on the History Channel's Ice Road Truckers). Look for Alaskan wildlife exploring under the evening sky, such as moose, fox, or lynx, and admire how brilliant the colors of the aurora shine this far north.

Overnight Fairbanks.

Day 4 - At Leisure in Fairbanks/Northern Lights Viewing

Enjoy a leisurely day to explore Fairbanks' restaurants or historic Gold Rush buildings downtown. In the center of town, Golden Heart Plaza boasts year-round art installations and incredible galleries and museums. Of course, the frozen Chena River is also beautiful this time of year if you want to explore the riverwalk. Tonight, you again have a choice of activities, and if you want to participate in both, a Rail Specialist will happily extend your stay in Fairbanks.
● Aurora Viewing Lodge Tour - Set out into the deep wilderness surrounding Fairbanks for an idyllic vantage point for viewing the northern lights. But you will not just be out in the cold; you can watch the lights appear and dance across the sky while nice and cozy in a backcountry yurt.
● Murphy Dome Aurora Viewing - Instead of viewing the aurora from the ground, why not head to Murphy Dome, one of the highest peaks in Fairbanks? At close to 3,000 feet, this mountain puts you above the treeline and amidst the show. Your passenger van climbs to the viewing area and keeps you warm while the display unfolds. Please note: There is no restroom at the top. Please plan accordingly.

Overnight Fairbanks.

Day 5 - At Leisure in Fairbanks/Chena Hot Springs Aurora Tour

Whether you spend your day lounging at the hotel or tasting your way through Fairbanks' coffee shops, cozy restaurants, breweries, and distilleries, the day is yours to continue enjoying the city. Tonight's excursion takes you to Chena Hot Springs, a resort property outside Fairbanks. Spend your night exploring the sculptures in the onsite ice museum, or rejuvenating in the naturally warm waters of the mineral baths founded during the Alaska Gold Rush. Visit the warm indoor pool for slightly cooler waters - 90 degrees Fahrenheit vs. 106 degrees Fahrenheit. This resort's remote location also makes it a perfect place to gaze upon the northern lights, so don't forget to head outside and look up to the skies for another showing of this breathtaking natural phenomenon. Overnight Fairbanks.

Day 6 - Dog Mushing in Fairbanks

In Alaska, dog-sledding is an integral part of the culture. It is the state sport and was once an essential means of transportation. Dive into its history and see how it fits into Alaskan culture in modern times during today's excursion. You will meet a team of sled dogs and a knowledgeable musher in Fairbanks. After learning the terminology and about the dogs and discovering more about the sport's adventurous aspect, you will have the chance to experience it for yourself. A guide leads the way, but you are at the reins for your hour-long ride along untamed trails. The ride concludes at a cabin, where you can thaw out and enjoy a last look at the Alaskan wilderness. Overnight Fairbanks. 

Day 7 - Tour Conclusion

After a week of chasing the night skies and being immersed in an Alaskan winter's ambiance, your tour concludes this morning. Check out of your hotel and depart for Fairbanks International Airport or the rail station to return home. Feel free to speak to a Rail Specialist about adding extra nights if there is more you want to accomplish under the aurora borealis. 

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.

Train

Alaska Railroad's Aurora Winter Train
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