4 Spectacular Alaska Train Trips

There is so much beautiful scenery to enjoy in Alaska, some of which is only accessible by train. The Alaska railroad offers the unique opportunity to see glaciers, waterfalls, and wildlife like never before. These four spectacular Alaska train trips cast America's largest state in a whole new light.

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  • You’ve probably heard about touring Alaska by ship or bus, but did you know that the state also has an extensive railroad? Experiencing Alaska by train can take you to sights you may never get to see otherwise. Plus, some tours combine time riding the rails with outdoor activities like hiking, biking, and kayaking.

    Spencer Glacier Rail and Trail

    Hop on a train in Anchorage and head to Spencer Lake for this one-of-a-kind, 10-hour railroad and hiking day trip. On the way to your destination, take in the breathtaking beauty of the Chugach National Forest as you pass through Girdwood and Whittier. You’ll then enter the Placer Valley for a unique view only accessible by train. Next up is the magnificent Spencer Glacier where you’ll have a chance to spot wildlife like wolves, bears, coyotes, and moose. Your last stop will be at Spencer Whistle Stop to embark on a two-mile narrated hike out to Spencer Lake. After you’ve immersed yourself in nature and scenery, the train will take you on a short trip to Portage, where a bus will be waiting to bring you back to Anchorage. This unforgettable tour leaves daily at 9:45 am from May 28 – September 19, and adult tickets are $135.95. Holland America Group employees receive discounts on certain excursions, so ask your hiring manager for more details.

    White Pass Train and Bike Tour

    If you enjoy seeing the sights on two wheels, consider this thrilling train and bike combination tour starting in Skagway. You’ll start with a gorgeous 1.5-hour train trip on the White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad that features stunning glaciers, mountains, and waterfalls. After that, you’ll take a quick van ride up to the White Pass summit for fabulous views. Then it’s time to jump on your bike for a 15-mile downhill ride on the Klondike Highway with multiple stops for photo opportunities. Finish your tour by strolling through charming downtown Skagway and its historic Gold Rush era buildings. Make sure to bring your passport and a visa if necessary since this trip will enter Canada. This tour lasts approximately 4.5 hours, and adult tickets are $209.95.

    Glacier Lake Kayak and White Pass Rail Experience

    Alaska is known for its incredible glaciers, and this tour gives you the opportunity to see them up close. The tour starts with a beautiful train ride on the Scenic Railroad of the World along the Coastal Mountains. From your train car, you’ll admire trestles, mountains, waterfalls, and of course, glaciers. Then it’s time to grab a two-person kayak and navigate the waters of Lake Bernard as your experienced tour guide teaches you about the history of the Gold Rush and the local plants and wildlife. End your trip with a light snack provided by your guide on the bus back to Skagway as you learn about the Klondike Highway. This tour crosses into Canada, so a passport and possibly a visa are needed. It lasts approximately five hours, and adult tickets are $239.95. Travel privileges vary by location, so speak to the hiring manager of your desired location for employee discount information.

    Anchorage and Beyond

    Alaska’s biggest city serves as the perfect hub to start your Alaska train adventure. Here are just a few of the routes available to get you on your way.

    Anchorage to Denali

    Enjoy a gorgeous trip along the Alaska and Talkeetna mountain ranges in a luxury train car on your way to the 6-million acre Denali National Park. Spend the afternoon exploring the park’s unique beauty and wildlife and take in a dinner theater performance at your hotel. In the morning, check out more of the sites in the park before boarding the train back to Anchorage. This two-day excursion includes a round-trip train ride, one-night at a Denali hotel, and transfers between your train and hotel.

    Anchorage to Denali to Seward

    If you want to spend more time marveling at all that Denali National Park has to offer, check out this tour which offers an extra day in the park and an additional stop in Seward. With a full additional day, you’ll have time to book a golfing, rafting, or ATV tour of Denali. This three-day journey includes transportation on a luxury train car from Anchorage to Denali, a motorcoach ride from Denali to Seward, a two-night stay in a Denali hotel, transfers between your train and hotel, and a ticket to a show at Music of Denali Dinner Theater at McKinley Chalet Resort.

    Anchorage to Talkeetna

    Perhaps you want to design your own tour to Denali and simply need a scenic train trip to get you there. This option will take you to Talkeetna at the base of Denali, the tallest mountain peak in North America. It does not include a hotel stay or transfers from the train, but it does offer transportation in a charming glass-domed railcar.

    All aboard! Do you daydream of riding the rails? Consider a job in rail services. It will give you the chance to explore Alaska like never before, plus employees can get discounts on tours! Take a look at our current job openings to get started.