Experience the Alaska Railroad from Anchorage to Fairbanks

Taking a ride with the Alaska Railroad from Anchorage to Fairbanks is a truly unique and unforgettable experience. From the awe-inspiring scenic views of snow-capped mountains and pristine rivers to frequent animal sightings, it’s an adventure that adds a whole new dimension to sightseeing. In addition to the amazing views and wildlife, this journey is also comfortable and offers a variety of amenities like food and drinks, making the trip even more enjoyable. With the help of this blog post I will review the Alaska Railroad from Anchorage to Fairbanks, covering all aspects such as the scenery and wildlife, the comfort level, onboard experience, food options, accessibility, price point and the booking process. You’ll also get tips and advice on how to make the most of your journey. So, if you’re ready to plan your train ride and learn more about this amazing adventure, let’s get started.

The Scenery – What to Expect During the Journey

The Alaska Railroad is one of the best train rides in the world. From Anchorage to Fairbanks, you will experience some of the most breathtaking views. Snow-capped mountains, vast boreal forests, sprawling tundra, wide-open pastures all make it a truly awe-inspiring journey.

As you travel along the ground, you will witness some of the most beautiful, natural wonders Alaska has to offer. Denali National Park offers magnificent views of Mount Denali, the highest mountain in North America. The Nenana Gorge offers spectacular views of a canyon formed by the Susitna River. While traveling through the park, you will likely spot various wildlife including bears, moose, and bald eagles.

As you reach your destination in Fairbanks, you will be greeted with the view of the majestic Umnak Mountain Range. As the sun takes its place on the horizon, the warm colors of the mountains will bring the landscape to life. Furthermore, the rolling hills of the mountains give way to prime opportunities for you to take in its beauty—ideal for capturing photos for memories that will last a lifetime.

Travelers who have experienced the journey through the Alaska Railroad first-hand have plenty of stories to share. For instance, one traveler recalls the sense of awe upon parting thick forest vegetation to find the beautiful Nenana River. Another example is a group of tourists that encountered a female grizzly along their journey.

The railroad journey offers an incredibly beautiful experience that is not to be missed. With the stunning sights of nature at your doorstep, the Alaska Railroad is the perfect way to explore the wilderness of the Fairbanks region. If you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind adventure, exploring Fairbanks by rail should be at the top of your list.

Brown Wooden Cabin

Wildlife Sightings – Common Animals Seen Along the Way

Traveling onboard the Alaska Railroad makes it possible to access and explore some of Alaska’s most pristine, untamed wilderness. Passengers are often amazed by the sights along the route, especially the wildlife sightings—from moose, bear, caribou, mountain goats, and eagles, to birds of all sizes and colors. Here’s your guide to the animals you can expect to see during your journey!

Types of Wildlife Sighted

Moose, bear, caribou, mountain goats, and eagles are regularly spotted while on the Alaska Railroad. Smaller birds such as warblers, grosbeaks, and loons can also be seen, as well as arctic terns, hawks and owls common to the region.

What To Expect and When

During the spring and summer, travelers on the Alaska Railroad can expect to see a variety of wildlife, particularly moose, bear, and other animals. Winter sightings are less common, but caribou, eagles and other majestic birds will occasionally appear on the tracks.

Examples of Sightings

Passengers may be fortunate to spot one of the moose families that frequent the region, with mother and baby moose commonly seen alongside the track. Mountain goats can often be seen perched atop the cliffs near high points of the route, and caribou may occasionally be spotted grazing in the pastures. Eagles, hawks and owls can be seen soaring overhead, while small songbirds are typically heard singing throughout the journey.

Tips for Spotting Wildlife

Passengers are asked to keep a close watch as there may be opportunities to spot wildlife along the route. Try to be patient, keep a watch out at the edges of the track, and use binoculars if available. Consider exploring different points of view, adjusting your viewing perspective, or time-protecting when appropriate.

Popular Wildlife Sighting Hotspots

Talkeetna, Gold Creek and Nenana River Bridge are popular hotspots for wildlife sightings on the Alaska Railroad. These destinations offer breathtaking vistas, and passengers will often find great opportunities to get a glimpse of some of the local wildlife.

Where to Take Photos and Record Sightings

Many passengers take photos and make recordings to remember the experience, so passengers are encouraged to take the time to take these photos and recordings for the satisfaction of having seen the wildlife close-up, or a far away glimpse of majestic landscape. It’s worth remembering that even the most experienced photographers may go several trips before seeing the perfect opportunity for the perfect shot.

Mountain Covered With Snow Under Blue Sky

Comfort Level – How Comfortable Is Riding the Train?

Programs such as the Alaska Railroad offers an unparalleled experience for travelers, one that prioritizes comfort throughout the journey. This can be seen in the variety of seating options available while traveling on the Alaska Railroad.

Steeple Seating

The steeple seating offers traditional passenger seating and combines a wall or a railing to separate each row of seats. It ensures privacy and a comfortable distance between passengers even if the train is full. This can be ideal for passengers on overnight journeys, who may have booked entire sections of the upper level for added peace and quiet.

Platinum Class

Platinum Class seats offer a cushioned seat with an adjustable headrest, footrest, armrests, and ample legroom for a comfortable and relaxing train ride in true style. This seating option includes snacks and drinks, as well as access to lounges, which are ideal for passengers looking to enjoy the journey in more comfort.

Domed Cars

Riding in a domed car promises unparalleled views of the natural beauty of Alaska. The car offers spacious seating with a clear glass dome located near the top to provide passengers with some of the best aerial views of the area. It’s also great for passengers who want to get close to the wildlife and experience a different part of the trip.

Coach Seating

Finally, the coach seating offers roomy and pleasant seating with a variety of outlets and charging stations. Passengers can save space by reserving the steerable seats, which can be adjusted in various positions for maximum comfort. The car also includes an opening dome roof for an even better view of the landscapes.

Amenities On Board

Aboard the Alaska Railroad, comfort is bolstered by onboard amenities that help make the journey even more enjoyable. From free Wi-Fi to a wide selection of meals and snacks available, the Alaska Railroad offers riders the opportunity to make the most of the ride.

What’s more, the Railroad offers on-board tours with one of the railroad’s expert staff members. The staff can provide riders with great insight about the areas passed through, as well as information about the many sights and attractions along the way.

The Panoramic Car

For an even greater level of comfort, passengers can book a place in the panoramic car. Here, travelers can enjoy the 360-degree view of the surrounding landscapes from the floor-to-ceiling windows. This car combines the pleasure of panoramic views with the comfort of the stepper seats.

Expert Train Staff

Finally, the Alaska Railroad’s expert train staff make sure passengers have the best possible experience. From helping passengers find the perfect seat to offering guided tours and answering questions about the route, the train staff go out of their way to ensure everyone has a pleasant journey.

Traveling with the Alaska Railroad is an experience unlike any other. From the comfy seating options to the friendly staff, no journey is complete without a bit of comfort. With its panoramic views, onboard amenities and tours, and accommodating staff, the Alaska Railroad ensures an unforgettable journey like no other.

Aerial View of White Sand Beach

Onboard Experience – Special Amenities Available Onboard

Exploring Alaska by rail is a fantastic way to see all the iconic locations in the state without worrying about flights, hotels, and other arrangements. The Alaska Railroad offers some of the most comfortable and accommodating amenities in the country and a journey of a lifetime full of breathtaking sights and memorable experiences.

Atmosphere and Accommodations

The Alaska Railroad offers travelers a truly unique journey, complete with adjustable reclining seats and footrests, as well as spacious legroom, all with huge windows to take in all the amazing views. Those looking for a bit of extra comfort can upgrade to the premium first-class with enhanced luxury features such as extra legroom, reclining chairs, and even an onboard yoga area.

Passengers can enjoy free complimentary snacks, drinks, and meals featuring traditional Alaskan cuisine. Plus, the onboard entertainment includes films, music, magazines, and books to keep passengers entertained as they make their way through the scenic landscapes.

Special Events

The Alaska Railroad also offers passengers a chance to join them at special events featuring a wide range of local Alaskan music and art, workshops, and more. There are a variety of all-inclusive packages passengers can book to get the full Alaska Railroad experience, complete with onboard activities, meals, and exclusive amenities.

Tour Programs

The Alaska Railroad provides guided tour programs perfect for adventurers and road-trippers that let passengers experience up to 500-miles of stunning coastline, forests, and wilderness. Passengers can also disembark and explore Alaska’s backcountry locations with expert tour guides.

Cabins/Dining Cars

If you’re looking for a truly luxurious experience, the Alaska Railroad offers private cabins and dining cars for exclusive seating and private dining. The lounge car features traditional Alaskan cuisine and offers a great opportunity to relax and take a break in a truly scenic environment.


The Alaska Railroad also offers outdoor activities like guided hikes and fishing trips to explore the beautiful wilderness of Alaska. Passengers can experience diverse wildlife in its natural habitat, as well as awe-inspiring landscapes such as glaciers, waterfalls, and serene lakes.

Whether you’re traveling from Anchorage to Fairbanks, or anywhere in-between, the Alaska Railroad makes for an incredibly enjoyable and immersive experience. With the incredible amenities, breathtaking scenery, and diverse activities onboard, travelers of all types can find something suitable for their preferences on the Alaska Railroad.

Alaska Train Scenery Winter

Food Options – What Food Can You Get Onboard?

Riding the Alaska Railroad is an unforgettable experience. From Anchorage to Fairbanks, visitors can enjoy the breathtaking mountain vistas, vast landscape and wildlife over the 320 mile route. Yet to keep visitors refreshed and energized, the Alaska Railroad offers a variety of food options to purchase onboard. Visitors can expect to find sandwiches, snacks, hot meals, beer, and wine on the route.

Sample Meal Options

The Alaska Railroad offers a variety of meal choices for passengers to pick from. Hot meals include zesty BBQ beef sliders, succulent cracked pepper turkey sandwiches, smoked salmon wraps and a warm spinach and cheese dip platter. For those looking for something lighter, there are nutritious salads, savory snack boxes, and energy bars. To accompany the meals, passengers can purchase beer, wine, and freshly brewed Kaladi Brothers Coffee. Each meal also comes with paper plates, utensils, and paper towels.

Local Vendors

On certain coach cars, the Alaska Railroad offers Kaladi Brothers Coffee, a local vendor with multiple locations throughout Alaska. Kaladi Brothers Coffee offers a variety of hot beverage choices with an enticing aroma, such as espresso, cappuccino, and hot cocoa. In addition, passengers can purchase snacks such as peanut butter pretzels, sea salted mixed nuts, and chips.

Speciality Meals

For passengers with dietary restrictions or allergies, they can contact the Alaska Railroad in advance to pre-order a specialty meal. The options may vary depending on the season, but generally include choices such as vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, and nut-free. Additionally, those with special meal requests should note that the Alaska Railroad does not offer meals for children under five.

Menu Discounts

Passengers have a few different options when it comes to meals onboard. The Alaska Railroad offers discounts on multiple item purchases, such as two breakfast items plus two entrées. Offers such as these make it easy for visitors to sample multiple dishes that the Railroad has to offer.

Overall, traveling onboard the Alaska Railroad is an amazing experience, and their variety of food options makes it even better. Passengers can pick from some of the most delicious entrees, with the ability to pre-order speciality meals upon request. With the option to purchase items on discount, passengers can make sure that they can get the best deal while taking in this incredible ride.


Accessibility – Are There Any Accessibility Considerations?

When it comes to accessibility on the Alaska Railroad, the top priority is to ensure that everyone is able to board and ride the train in a safe and enjoyable manner. To do this, the Alaska Railroad has taken several steps to ensure the safety and comfort of all passengers.

Wheelchair Accommodations

First and foremost, the operators of the Alaska Railroad provide a variety of hand controls and collapsible wheelchairs to assist passengers who are limited by mobility. Furthermore, an ADA-compliant lift is available on all trains, allowing passengers with limited mobility to board with ease. It’s also important to note that personnel aboard the Alaska Railroad is well-trained to provide assistance to those who need it.

Seating Priority

In addition to providing accessibly-equipped vehicles and personnel to assist those with special needs, the Alaska Railroad is also committed to ensuring an equitable boarding experience. To do this, a seating priority system ensures that those passengers who need additional assistance are given priority boarding. This system is designed to ensure that those with special needs are able to get on and off the train as quickly and safely as possible.


We had positive feedback from several of our readers who have ridden the Alaska Railroad and had special needs. Many of them found that the personnel aboard the train were incredibly helpful and accommodating. They also noted that the system of seating priority was carefully enforced to ensure that those with special needs receive a boarding ahead of others.

Additional Help and Information

The Alaska Railroad strives to provide a safe and comfortable journey for all of its passengers. If you have any questions or require additional assistance, there are several options available for you to explore. The Alaska Railroad website has an extensive FAQ section, which answers the most common questions about the operation and services of the railroad. You can also contact the customer service team directly by calling 1-800-566-5493 or sending an email to help@alaskarailroad.com.

Saint Basil's Cathedral

Price Point – How Much Does It Cost To Take The Train?

Travelling with Alaska Railroad from Anchorage to Fairbanks offers passengers plenty of options for getting the best fares for their journey. Prices can vary depending on whether you’re an adult, senior, student, or a child, so it’s best to check out their website or call in advance to get the most up-to-date prices.

In general, an adult fare begins at $79 one-way and $138 round-trip. Kids 2-11 pay half the adult fare, and seniors and students receive discounted prices. One-way tickets for seniors and students may start as low as $56, while the round-trip could be as low as $100.

Special Pricing Packages

If you’re looking to add a bit more to your experience, Alaska Railroad provides many special packages to make the most of your Alaskan adventure. Packages may include discounts on your rail fare as well as lodging, meals and guided tours–perfect for those looking for a hassle-free vacation.

One of their most popular packages is the Denali Explorer package. This package includes round-trip rail transportation from Anchorage to Fairbanks, one night’s lodging at Denali Park with complimentary shuttle service, a Denali National Park bus tour, and a western-style dinner with live entertainment. The cost for an adult reservation is $468 and it includes pre-booked accommodation and tours; expect to pay extra for any additional amenities.

Additional Amenities

In addition to the included packages, there are some additional amenities available, although most of them come at an extra cost. For example, you can upgrade your ride with a private car or parlor car, rent a bike rack, or purchase a dining card to enjoy the café car’s gourmet treats.

Benefits Of Traveling With the Alaska Railroad

Taking the train between Anchorage and Fairbanks is a great way to see the stunning Alaska scenery, get to your destination on time, and experience a one-of-a-kind adventure. Many passengers visiting Alaska for the first time are amazed by how much the train has to offer.

Not only do passengers receive reliable transportation from Anchorage to Fairbanks, but they also can enjoy views of stunning glaciers, expansive boreal forests, and roaring rivers. There’s also plenty of wildlife to keep the ride interesting, such as moose, caribou, bears, and more.

The historic railroad, which has been in operation for over 90 years, has become part of the Alaska state identity and a symbol of Alaskan life. Whether you’re looking to save on your travel costs or experience the incredible sights and sounds of Alaska on a classic railcar, the Alaska Railroad definitely provides an unforgettable journey.

Bridge Near Waterfall

Booking Process – How Easy Is It To Book a Ticket?

Booking tickets has never been easier. You can check times, availability and pricing on the Alaska Railroad’s website, or you can opt to order by phone. When making reservations, you’ll need to provide the following information: departure and arrival cities and dates, the number of passengers and their age ranges, type of ticket and the type of fare you want.

Senior Citizens (65+) and young travelers (under 14) receive special discounts on their tickets, so be sure to specify your age to take advantage of any discounts available. Group discounts are also available and are based on the size of the group and their ticket types.

Types of Tickets and Fares

The Alaska Railroad offers a variety of tickets, ranging from standalone tickets to multi-route packages. It also offers different fare classes to choose from, including Economy Class, Sleeper Car, and premium-level packages that come with unique perks.

The fuel-saving EcoSaver Fares are perfect for budget-minded travelers or those planning on going by rail/ ferry combination trips. Sleeper Car tickets offer the highest comfort and conveniences, featuring cozy sleeping compartments and lounges with concierge-level services. Rail & Sail packages combine rail and ferry services to create unique Alaskan experiences with the added convenience of one-stop booking.

Payment Methods

The Alaska Railroad accepts payments from a range of methods, including debit/credit cards, cash, and check. For young travelers under 14, cash is the only payment method accepted for their tickets.

Example – Experience the Alaskan Landscape

Booking a ticket on Alaska Railroad is the perfect way to explore Alaska’s amazing scenery. With its specially planned activities, cuisine, and great customer service, Alaska Railroad offers a unique traveling experience.

On my last trip from Anchorage to Fairbanks, I had stunning views of the Alaskan landscape. We enjoyed a hearty breakfast before reaching the Denali National Park. After that, we had the chance to do some sightseeing in the park, returning with amazing memories!

Essential Tips

Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your experience while booking on the Alaska Railroad:

  • Research your route ahead of time in order to be aware of any potential delays or detours and to make sure that you are making the right connections.
  • Arrive early to ensure you have a smooth boarding experience.
  • Make sure to keep your documents at hand and be familiar with their rules and regulations.
  • Check any discounts or additional services offered and make use of them if possible.
  • If you’re making any changes or cancellations, contact customer service beforehand to avoid any issues.

Relevant Links

  • Alaska Railroad website: https://www.alaskarailroad.com/
  • Ticket booking page: https://traintickets.alaskarailroad.com/
  • Travel rules and regulations: https://www.alaskarailroad.com/travel-info/travel-policies-rules-regs

review the alaska railroad from anchorage to fairbanks


It’s been a pleasure to review and share the experiences we’ve had while taking the Alaska Railroad from Anchorage to Fairbanks and back. From the breathtaking scenery to look out for, to the onboard amenities and accessibilities you can take advantage of, the Alaska Railroad was a stellar experience from start to finish. I can confidently recommend the Alaska Railroad for a leisurely and unforgettable journey, whether it’s to explore the spectacular scenery or to just sit back and relax for a few hours. So if you’d like an unforgettable experience with no compromises, book that ticket and prepare for the ride of your life!

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