Traveling By Train in Alaska

An epic experience you don't want to miss!

Traveling By Train in Alaska
The train we rode from Denali National Park to Anchorage in Alaska ©Donetta Dalman

Since we started traveling full time in 2020, one of our goals was to get all 50 states checked off our list and be able say we’d visited them all. Last fall, we were finally able to make that happen with an epic trip to Alaska.

I’m going to start with the middle of the trip for this post because our train trip was one of the most amazing things we did while we were there. We flew into Fairbanks to begin our trip and spent a little time there and then took the train down to Denali National Park from there. But the second leg of the train trip is when it began to get amazing!

We got to spend a couple of days in Denali Village and when our time was up there, we were shuttled back to the train station to board the train for Anchorage. I was expecting everything to be the same as it was from Fairbanks to Denali but we were pleasantly surprised to find a different train and a different experience!!

The experience on the first leg was amazing but this was even better! We had a tour guide who told us all kinds of fun things that we were seeing all the way to Anchorage, she played some games with us that were hilarious, and she just made the whole trip incredible! Our guide’s name was Jane and if you ever get to ride the train with her you’ll love it!

Our tour guide, Jane, and the captain of the train.

You know you have an amazing tour guide when your train has to pull off and stop for TWO HOURS in order to wait for oncoming trains to pass because they have priority and you don’t even bat an eye at the time you have to sit and wait. She made it so fun we weren’t even worried about sitting there that long!

We also had a bar at the back of our train car with a bartender who was super friendly and a lot of fun. They had a drink package deal for the day that was a great price so we got that and had anything we wanted to drink all day — coffee, tea, pop, and even alcohol! James sure enjoyed that last part. 🍻

Another thing that was different about this train, and something that also helped that two hours pass by quickly, was a dining car. We got to go downstairs for lunch and they had the whole bottom part of our train car as a dining room and kitchen. It was really cool! I will say the food was a little pricey for what it was but it tasted good and the experience was fun so it was worth a little splurge.

Enjoying lunch downstairs in the dining car
Enjoying lunch downstairs in the dining car.

We were hoping to see some wildlife as we traveled through the wilderness but sadly we did not. (If you know anything about James you know he’s been trying DESPERATELY to see a bear since we started traveling.) We did see an eagle which was super cool! And the funny thing was, I snapped a pic of the area before I even realized it was there because it looked so pretty and then discovered I’d captured the eagle! #winning

This train trip was definitely a highlight of our trip. It was SO much fun. Interestingly it wasn’t supposed to be the highlight of the trip. It was supposed to be just some fun we had exploring Alaska before the highlight of the trip — an Alaskan cruise from Seward to Vancouver, Britsh Columbia. Sadly, when we arrived at the cruise port later that week we discovered our ship had mechanical problems and the entire cruise had been cancelled. Talk about devastating. :’( That’s a story for another day though.

Here are some more pics I took from the journey south. This is just a fraction of what I got but they’re some of my favorites. Photography from a moving train through a window isn’t always the best but I was still able to capture some amazing beauty I think. The crazy thing is, pictures never do the view justice. It’s always so much more beautiful in person than a photo ever shows.

Have you been to Alaska and experienced train travel? What did you think?

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