Travel aboard the Alaska Railroad through interesting towns and incredible wildlife habitats and take your vacation by the reins with a legendary road trip through Alaska’s most scenic areas on this round-trip expedition through America’s Last Frontier.
About the Tour
Wild landscapes and iconic sites - including the tallest mountain peak in the United States - lie ahead on this rail and drive vacation through Alaska. Your journey begins in Anchorage, where you can explore the city’s historical museums and gorgeous gardens and parks. Departing the city aboard the Alaska Railroad’s Denali Star, enjoy a scenic route to Denali National Park. An all-day bus tour unlocks the beauty of the park and offers opportunities to see some of the animals that roam within Denali: bears, moose, mountain goats, wolves and eagles. Your adventure continues by train to Fairbanks, from which you depart on the driving part of your journey. Your route takes you along the scenic Richardson Highway on your way to Valdez, known as “Little Switzerland.” Here, enjoy plenty of outdoor activities and wildlife spotting before kicking off your road trip back to the cultural epicenter that is Anchorage. Whether you crave excursions in nature or laid-back explorations of Alaskan cities, there is something for everyone on this circular adventure.
- Rail travel on the Alaska Railroad
- Hotel accommodations for 7 nights
- Denali National Park bus tour
- 4 days mid-size car rental with unlimited mileage
Day 1 - Anchorage ArrivalArrive in Anchorage on your own and check-in at the hotel. Spend the rest of the day getting acquainted with the offerings of the city. Explore Anchorage's museums, gardens and parks or explore the restaurant scene, which is surprisingly diverse. Overnight in Anchorage.
Day 2 - Anchorage to DenaliEmbark on a journey aboard the Alaska Railroad’s Denali Star, traveling on a northerly route from Anchorage to Denali National Park. Relax and enjoy the scenery as you pass through colorful fields of spruce and fireweed, sparkling salmon streams and towering mountains. In all, the journey takes approximately 8 hours to complete. Transfer to your hotel near the gates of the park upon arrival. Overnight Denali.
Day 3 - Denali National Park/Fairbanks by TrainTake in Denali National Park's alpine tundra and snowy mountains on a 6-8 hour bus tour of the park, learning about the land and its history along the way. Keep your eyes peeled for the wildlife that inhabits the park, such as bears and moose, and look on the mountainsides for glimpses at Dall sheep. As you travel further into the park, soak in the sheer majesty of Mount Denali, North America's tallest peak. In the afternoon, your journey continues by rail, as you board the Denali Star once more for a ride to Fairbanks. Known as “Alaska's Golden Heart City,” Fairbanks is beloved for its energy and warmth, as well as its beautiful displays of northern lights during the winter months. Overnight in Fairbanks.
Day 4 - Fairbanks at LeisureEnjoy a day on your own in Fairbanks, where you can visit the Museum of the North, the Morris Thompson Cultural Center, Pioneer Park or the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. There are many wildlife tours you can embark upon, and Fairbanks has hiking trails that are suitable for hikers of all fitness levels. Perhaps take a boat ride on the Chena River or set out on one of many other outdoor adventures this city has to offer. You may also pick up your rental car today. Overnight in Fairbanks.
Day 5 - Fairbanks to ValdezThe driving portion of your Alaska adventure begins today, taking the scenic Richardson Highway from Fairbanks to Valdez. Immense glaciers and dramatic mountain ranges come into view as you travel along the picturesque byway. The highway has two 100-mile sections designated as State Scenic Byways, so there are plenty of opportunities to pull over for photos during your drive. Overnight in Valdez.
Day 6 - Valdez at LeisureSurrounded by the Chugach Mountains and home to five glaciers, Valdez is known as “Little Switzerland”; in fact, this town is known to be one of the prettiest places in all of Alaska. You can enjoy the scenery at your own pace today. Perhaps embark on a boat cruise or kayaking tour. Hiking is popular in Valdez, as well, and there are many lovely trails, including one to Bridal Veil Falls. During the colder months when there is snow on the ground, snowboarding and skiing are also popular. This destination is one of Alaska’s best places to spot orca whales and harbor seals, as well as brown bears and seabirds. Overnight in Valdez.
Day 7 - Valdez to Anchorage
Depart Valdez this morning and begin the 300-mile drive to Anchorage. Following the Richardson and Glenn Highways, find yourself surrounded by the tremendous natural beauty of Alaska as you travel west. You will follow along stunning rivers and past waterfalls. Soak in scenes of the towering mountains and verdant rural scapes. As you arrive in Anchorage, transfer to your hotel and settle in for the evening. Overnight Anchorage.
Day 8 -Tour ConclusionYour rail and drive tour of Alaska concludes this morning. Check out of your hotel and transfer to the airport independently or via the hotel’s shuttle for your return flight home.
Denali Star Train
The Denali Star, the Alaska Railroad's flagship train, links Anchorage to Fairbanks with stops in Wasilla, Talkeetna and Denali Park. On this route, sparkling salmon streams and stands of birch and spruce come into view, while carpets of fireweed add dramatic purple to the landscape.
Hotels include Inlet Tower Hotel, Anchorage; Denali Bluffs Hotel, Denali; La Quinta Inn & Suites, Fairbanks; and BW Valdez Harbor Inn or Mountain Sky, Valdez.
Train accommodations are in Adventure Class. Adventure Class cars offer comfortable seating and large picture windows. Open-air vestibules between railcars provide an opportunity for fresh air and excellent photo ops. Adventure Class guests are encouraged to travel between railcars, whether to take advantage of the open seating in our Vista Dome cars or visit the Wilderness Café.
Hotels include Sheraton Hotel, Anchorage; Grande Denali Lodge, Denali; Pike's Waterfront Hotel, Fairbanks; and Totem Hotel & Suites, Valdez.
Train accommodations are in GoldStar Class. GoldStar Class is a premium class of service offering passengers an exceptional way to travel across Alaska. Glass-dome ceilings allow for panoramic views as Alaska unfolds along the tracks, and an outdoor, upper-level viewing platform -- the only of its kind in the world -- offers fresh air and an excellent vantage point for photos. On the lower level of GoldStar railcars, passengers enjoy a full-service dining room; GoldStar tickets include meals, all soft beverages and two complimentary adult beverages per trip for passengers over 21.
It is your responsibility to check and fulfill the passport, visa, health and immigration requirements applicable to your itinerary. We do not accept any responsibility if you cannot travel, or incur any other loss because you have not complied with any passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities. You agree to reimburse us in relation to any fines or other losses which we incur as a result of your failure to comply with any passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities.
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Mid-size vehicle rental is included. Other vehicle options are available, contact your rail specialist for details.