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Alaska Railroad

Trains offer travelers rare access to 49th state

Alaska Railroad

The Alaska Railroad offers curious tourists and outdoor enthusiasts rare access to the natural beauty and recreational opportunities of the Alaskan wilderness. Shown: Coastal Classic. Photo: ©Alaska Railroad

For the adventurous spirit, Alaska packs a punch! With "more mountains than buildings, more wildlife than people and more glaciers than stop lights," the nation's 49th state offers rare opportunities to experience the remote wilderness. For vast stretches, meandering trails and isolated cabins tuck up against an endless ribbon of rail. Along that track, the Alaska Railroad takes you through some of the most rugged and unspoiled terrain in North America.

Three wilderness and glacier tour trains depart Anchorage from mid-May through mid-September.

The Coastal Classic, called one of "North America's ten best train rides" by National Geographic, is perfect for one-day outings or longer getaways. The glacier-land ride to Resurrection Bay ends at Seward, where you can catch a fjords-bound cruise.

Also an easy day trip, the Glacier Discovery heads off to the spectacular glacial formations of Grandview Valley. The route includes a side trip to Whittier -- the cruise port on Prince William Sound -- and a whistle stop at Spencer Glacier.

The Alaska Railroad's flagship is the Denali Star. The 12-hour odyssey takes you deep into the Alaskan interior, to Fairbanks and the Land of the Midnight Sun. Stops along the way include Denali: access point to Mt. McKinley, North America's highest peak!

On weekends between mid-September and mid-May, the Aurora Winter Train departs Anchorage, bound for Fairbanks and the Northern Lights.

Both Fairbanks trains serve Talkeetna; departing point for the Hurricane Turn, North America's last flagstop train. Adventurers may exit or board the train anywhere along its 100mi/60km route. A popular day trip, the train operates on a limited year-round schedule.

Life onboard the Alaska Railroad is anything but rugged. Adventure Class, available on all trains, sets the standard with comfortable seating and wide picture windows. For snapping pictures, open-air vestibules showcase sweeping unobstructed vistas. When hunger pangs hit, Wilderness CafÈ menus feature snacks, light meals to go, and full bar service.

Headed for the far north or the coast? GoldStar Service, available on both Denali Star and Coastal Classic trains, is first-class all the way. As Alaska's breathtaking scenery unfolds, luxury bi-level dome cars afford sweeping 360† views. Complementary non-alcoholic beverages are served seat-side and bar selections are available. A specially designed outdoor viewing area, accessible only to GoldStar passengers, is unique to the Alaska Railroad.

At mealtime, GoldStar guests receive priority seating in the lower-deck's full-service dining room. Alaskan seafood highlights lunch and dinner menus that also feature favorites like BBQ ribs and roasted chicken as well as lighter fare. For breakfast, reindeer sausage is an option!

The ARR offers a range of day tours and 2-to-12-night vacation packages. You can stay in a wood cabin, scout the Arctic, dog-sled through the glaciers, or scope Denali from a helicopter. Whether you're looking for an easy-going escape or an adrenalin-pumping thrill, the Alaska Railroad has an adventure for you.

Ready to explore? The USA's largest state has something for everyone. And the Alaska Railroad makes getting there half the fun!

The Alaska Railroad operates daily from mid-May to mid-October. At other times, routes and schedules are seasonally adjusted. Passengers are permitted two pieces of checked baggage and one carry-on at no additional charge. All stations and trains are wheelchair accessible. Year-round discounts are available for children, Alaska residents and U.S. military. Seasonal discounts are available for seniors and inpiduals with certain disabilities.

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