Most Scenic Alaska Railroad Trips
Most people that have traveled the entire Alaska Railroad system would likely agree that either the Denali Star route between Anchorage and Denali or the Coastal Classic Route between Anchorage and Seward is the most scenic.
On a clear day, it hard to top the views of Mt. Denali from the train. At 20,322 feet Mt. Denali is the tallest peak in North America and the train offers a number of unobstructed views as it passes within 50 miles of the summit. Some of the best views are just north and south of Talkeetna across the Susitna River. Of course there is lots to see on the Denali Star route in addition to Mt. Denali. Just north of Anchorage is a beautiful section where the train follows the Chugach Mountains then turns and crosses the Knik and Matanuska Rivers… heading north towards the Talkeetna Mountains and into the Matanuska Valley. North of Talkeetna the train crosses over the 918-foot Hurricane Gulch trestle, towering 296 feet above the creek below and allowing breathtaking photo opportunities. Before arriving at Denali Park you pass through Broad Pass, the highest point on the Alaska Railroad at 2,363 feet, featuring impressive panoramic views of the Alaska Range.
The Coastal Classic route between Anchorage and Seward is a favorite of many local Alaskans, and tends to be a great bet even if when the weather is less than optimal. Much of the first hour south of Anchorage hugs the coastline along the Turnagain Arm where there are great views of the train as it rounds several scenic points. Dall sheep can often be seen on the rocky cliffs above and passengers are also frequently treated to a unique phenomenon known as a bore tide. South of Portage the train separates from the highway and enters a truly remote and rugged section of track. You will head through the Placer River Valley, right past the impressive ice wall of Spencer Glacier and over the 1,063 foot pass of the Kenai Mountains… appropriately named Grandview. Another great bonus to the Coastal Classic route is just the fact that you are going to Seward. A day cruise from Seward to Kenai Fjords National Park is an absolute must see Alaska experience.
So which route is the best? You will have to decide which is right for you, and by all means, give us a call and we can offer some additional guidance. Don’t be surprised when we try to talk you into going to both Denali Park and Seward… it can be done in less time than you think… here is a 5 night itinerary.
Fly into Anchorage and spend the night. Head south to Seward on the train and take a Kenai Fjords National Park cruise. The next morning take the Park Connection Motorcoach from Seward to Talkeetna for one night. The next day enjoy a scenic flight to Mt. Denali with a glacier landing before catching the bus to Denali Park. Two nights in Denali will give you time for the full day park tour plus an optional tour like rafting or a dinner theater. Finally, take the train from Denali back to Anchorage… if you book the McKinley Explorer you may even have time to fly home that night. Of course this trip can be reversed, as well as modified to meet up with a Seward or Whittier cruise ship… and would be much more relaxed if you took a full week.
Remember, we can also help with lodging, tour or the whole vacation package… just give us a call at 800.266.8625.
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