Experience True Nature Alaska Wilderness Adventure Tours beyond Imagination



 

Aurora Winter Train Tour Alaska | Fairbanks to Anchorage (NL#06A)

Your unique Alaska winter tour experience starts with the arrival in Fairbanks. Spend one night in your downtown hotel and visit the World Championship Ice Carving competition or the Open North America Sled Dog Championship. The following nights are spent at the Chena Hot Springs Resort where you enjoy Alaska’s most outstanding Northern Lights viewing site - in a remote setting just below the Arctic Circle. Other winter activities are including: sled dog toura, x-country skiing, snowmobiling and ice-skating. Return to Fairbanks and travel with the famous Alaska Railroad along the magnificent snow covered Alaska Range to Anchorage. Spend a day in Alaska's largest city before flying back home.

  • Tour Itinerary

  • Dates | Rates

  • Options | Extensions

  • Aurora Borealis FAQ

  • Railroad Tours FAQ

Day
01

Fairbanks

Upon arrival transfer from the airport to your **** hotel near the banks of the beautiful Chena River. Depending on your arrival time you can visit the University of Alaska with its large collection of historical Alaska artifacts, gold nugget displays and Northern Lights background information. Check out the Geophysical Institute on the campus with the current aurora activity forecasts. If you travel during February or March - Fairbanks hosts the World Ice Art Championships, exciting professional Sled Dog Races and a large variety of other winter carnival activities. Optional Northern Lights Viewing Tour (10 PM - 2:30 AM): Fairbanks area provides some spectacular Northern Lights viewing! Evening transfer to a prime aurora viewing lodge in the hills about 20 miles north of Fairbanks. Here you can enjoy spectacular 270-degree Aurora displays through large picture windows from the comfort of a heated cabin or outside. Overnight: Fairbanks


Day
02

Fairbanks - Chena Hot Springs Resort

Morning at leisure or for additional individual sightseeing activities around Fairbanks. Enjoy the scenic van transfer (60 Miles) to Chena Hot Springs Resort, located in a prime Northern Lights viewing area – far away from any city lights. Tonight join the spectacular Snow Coach tour to see the aurora up close (included). From the resort you travel 30 minutes to the top of a ridge (2600 ft) where no city lights interfere the aurora. After arriving on top you can step inside the heated Mongolian Yurt to warm up and enjoy a hot beverage. For the next few hours you can always step outside and enjoy spectacular 360-degree Aurora displays. Return to the resort at around 2 AM. Overnight: Chena Hot Springs.


Day
03

Chena Hot Springs Resort
 

Relax in the large heated mineral indoor pool, the outdoor rock lake and in numerous hot tubs – which are providing a great opportunity to soak or swim until the Northern Lights are appearing in the evening again. In the afternoon you can take a guided tour around the Aurora Ice Museum, visit a dog kennel or run your own sled dog team. Join a guided snow machine tour around the areas of the resort and have your tour guide show you the remote backcountry. Get a work out by renting cross-country skis, snowshoes or ice skates and cruise around the resort's 440 beautiful acres and scenic trails. There is a ice skating pond right next to the outdoor pool. If you prefer relaxing, try a Swedish or Oil massage to rejuvenate your mind, body and spirit. Another evening/night with magnificent and exciting Aurora observation is just ahead of you. The best viewing starts after 10:00 pm and continuous until the early morning hours. Overnight: Chena Hot Springs.


Day
04

Chena Hot Springs Resort
 

Breakfast at the hotel. Remaining day at leisure. Spend this day with some exiting adventurous outdoor opportunities. Independent local operators are providing x-country skiing lessons and trips, a variety of guided sled dog tours from 30 minutes to 4 hours, wonderful sleigh rides, snowmobiling tours into the Chena Hills or flightseeing trips above the Arctic Circle with it's remote and authentic native villages (optional). In the evening enjoy a delicious dinner at the rustic log lodge restaurant and then join the Snow Coach Tour (optional) or take a short hike for another night of outstanding Northern Lights viewing opportunities. A prow-front heated log cabin with large plate-glass windows facing northeast is open 24 hours per day for guests staying at the resort. It sits high on a hill overlooking the Resort and outdoor rock lake. Overnight: Chena Hot Springs


Day
05

Chena Hot Springs Resort - Fairbanks
 

Spend the morning at Chena and depart around lunch. Check into your hotel in Fairbanks for one additional night. If you are an active person, you can go ice fishing or visit a sled dog kennel and learn about dog mushing. Have fun riding in the sled bag or even drive your own dog team through Alaska's winter wonderland. Keep on the look out for moose and other wildlife as you soak up the winter sun. You can also join this afternoon our Fairbanks & area sightseeing tour - combining fun with Fairbanks history, Alaskan craftsmanship and Alaska winter activities. Your first stop is the Santa Claus House in North Pole where you can have a picture taken Mr. & Mrs. Claus. Continue to the Trans Alaska Pipeline viewpoint and the Yukon Quest Cabin where you can interact with a musher and their huskies. If you are looking for an authentic gift, then the Great Alaskan Bowl Company is the perfect place. Overnight: Chena Hot Springs


Day
06

Fairbanks - Anchorage (by train)
 

Transfer to the Fairbanks rail station and departure at 8:15 am for a very scenic full-day rail tour to Anchorage. All seats within the comfortable train compartments are pre-reserved and the staff takes care of your entire luggage. Enjoy the ride ! You'll get fantastic and breathtaking views of the snow covered Alaska Mountain Range with its towering 20.320 feet high Mt. McKinley. Stopovers are at Denali National Park and Talkeetna before arriving in Anchorage in the evening around 7:45 pm. Transfer to your downtown hotel. Overnight: Anchorage


Day
07

Anchorage
 

Remaining day in Anchorage on your own. Explore Alaska's largest city by yourself and visit the many points of interests. Take a walk on the Coastal Trail along Cook Inlet to Earthquake Park with a magnificent view of the snow capped Alaska Mountain Range in the distance. Don't miss a delicious lunch at one of Anchorage's top seafood restaurants. During February and March Anchorage hosts the annual Fur Rendezvous, Ice Carving Festivals, the Iditarod Sled Dog Race and other super natural winter events. Flight reservations to your home destination may be made anytime for today. The transfer to the airport is included. Individual tour extensions or sightseeing tours are available.



Tour NL#06A Winter Rail Tour from Fairbanks
Rates in US $ / per Person Hotel Category      Single      Double      Triple      Quad     
September 01 – September 15 Superior $ 1699.00 $ 1050.00 $ 885.00 $ 810.00
September 16 – April 15  Superior $ 1535.00 $ 945.00 $ 815.00 $ 750.00

September 01 – September 15 First Class $ 2065.00 $ 1215.00 $ 988.00 $ 876.00
September 16 – April 15  First Class $ 1820.00 $ 1095.00 $ 915.00 $ 845.00

 

NL#06A Tour Departures
From September 01 - September 14   |     Tour Start: Daily
From September 15 - April 15            |     Tour Start: Every Tuesday **

** Additional departures during winter 2017 / 2018:
   December 22 & 29, February 16 & 23, March 02, 04, 09, 11, 16 & 23

 

NL#06A Tour Includes
  • 6 Nights Superior or First Class Hotel & Lodge Accommodation
  • All Local Taxes
  • Airport - Hotel – Rail Station Transfers
  • Fairbanks – Chena Hot Springs – Fairbanks Transfers
  • Daily Pool Pass at Chena Hot Springs
  • Geo Thermal Energy Tour Chena Hot Springs
  • Alaska Railroad Snow Train from Fairbanks - Anchorage
  • Reserved Seats
  • Continental Breakfast in Fairbanks
  • 1 x Evening Aurora Snow Coach Tour (included end of Nov - March)
    or Alternative: 45 Min Guided ATV Tour
  • Reservation Fee
  • Detailed Tour & Travel Documentation




Tour Rates - Additional Day in Anchorage
Rates in US $ / per Person Single      Double      Triple      Quad      Child     
Superior: September 15 - April 20 $ 95.00 $ 48.00 $ 42.00 $ 38.00 $ 10.00

First Class: September 15 - April 20 $ 160.00 $ 80.00 $ 60.00 $ 55.00 $ 10.00

 

Tour Rates - Additional Day in Fairbanks
Rates in US $ / per Person (tax included) Single      Double      Triple      Quad      Child     
Superior: September 15 - April 20 $ 99.00 $ 50.00 $ 38.00 $ 34.00 $ 0.00

First Class: September 15 - April 20 $ 105.00 $ 55.00 $ 42.00 $ 38.00 $ 0.00

 

Flexible Tour Options – Activities & Sightseeing Tours
Type Rate     
Chena Hot Springs: Evening Aurora Snow Coach Tour - 4 hrs. $ 75.00
Chena Hot Springs: Sled Dog Ride - Ride in the sled bag $ 60.00
Chena Hot Springs: Sled Dog Ride - Drive your own sled dog team (2 hrs) $ 225.00
Chena Hot Springs: Guided Snow Machine Tour (45 min) $ 65.00
Fairbanks City & Area Sightseeing Tour (5 1/2 hrs) $ 115.00
World Ice Art Championships VIP Tour (available March 05 - March 27) $ 85.00
Fairbanks Evening Northern Lights Viewing Tour (10:00 pm-2:30 am) $ 80.00
Fairbanks: Sled Dog Ride - Ride in the sled bag (1 hr) + $35 transfer $ 125.00
Flight Anchorage - Fairbanks (+ taxes, fees) $ 145.00

 

Alaska Sightseeing Destinations

Anchorage

Fairbanks

Juneau

McCarthy

Homer

Seward

Cooper Landing

Talkeetna





▶ Northern Lights Viewing in Alaska | Canada – New Moon Dates Overview

Ideal viewing time is approximately from 7 days prior to New Moon and until 7 days after New Moon. While some people may be concerned that a full moon is a problem,  only weak aurora may be obstructed by the light of the moon, but in Alaska the aurora is frequently strong enough that aurora viewing is still possible on a moonlit night.  As far as aurora photography goes, the aurora above a moonlit landscape actually tends to have a pleasing effect.  On the whole, when participating in an aurora tour, one doesn’t need to be worried about the moon.The moon does not influence the aurora activity, the sky is just darker. You can therefore travel any time of the month. 

New Moon Dates:
2017 - January 28, February 26, March 28, April 26, August 22, September 20, October 20, November 18, December 18
2018 - January 17, February 16, March 17, April 16, September 09, October 09, November 07, December 07
2019 - January 06, February 05, March 06, April 05, August 30, September 28, October 28, November 26, December 26


Aurora Photography:
When you do your research for shooting the aurora, you’ll find pluses and minuses for going when a full moon is present.  On the minus side is if the lights that night are somewhat faint, the brightness of the moon’s reflection of the sun can fade them out.  On the other hand, a full moon can be used to illuminate objects in the foreground.  Many aurora shots include buildings with lights on inside to provide an interesting foreground subject.  Depending on your shooting location, this feature might not be available.  However, a full moon will help light up anything you have in front of you, no matter where you are.  Because shots are done for at least six to eight seconds and up to fifteen seconds or more (depending on your shutter and ISO settings), the full moon will do a great job of making what would otherwise be a silhouette into a well-lit subject.  Conversely, if you choose to go when there isn’t a full moon, a strong flash can be helpful in popping light onto a foreground subject.


▶ Aurora Viewing | Prime Viewing Dates

Q: When is the best time of the year to see the Aurora
A: In northern regions such as Alaska, the Yukon Territory, Northern British Columbia and the Northwest Territories - the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) are seen from late August to mid April. Furthermore, during the autumn and spring, the weather is rather unstable and has a lower percentage of clear skies. Therefore, we have determined the best viewing seasons to be from mid-August to the end of September and from mid-November to mid-April. In This time of the year offers the best trade off between mild weather and dark skies. During the summer months, night skies are not dark enough to view the Aurora Borealis and in midwinter temperatures in the – 40 degree range make outdoor aurora viewing somewhat unpleasant. In other locations farther from the average aurora oval, the main consideration is the level of geomagnetic activity, which varies rather unpredictably through the year.

Q: When is the best time of the day
A: Within the most active regions of Alaska and prime viewing areas the Aurora oval typically becomes visible around local midnight. Note: this is an astronomical midnight - which may be an hour or two different from the civil or the “ wall clock “ midnight due to daylight savings time and/or peculiarities in your time zone. Spectacular Aurora displays due to geomagnetic disturbance may be seen at any time when the sky is dark, but they are relatively unpredictable. Under average conditions, observations around local midnight are most likely to yield results.

Q: What are the Temperatures in the Northern Regions
A: The average daily temperatures in February/March are approximately +20/-30 - equivalent to –8/-33 degrees Celsius.

Q: How to observe the Aurora
A: If you follow our recommendations you should be able to enjoy some pleasant Aurora viewing.

  • A: Ensure - that you be there when the action begins. Because more often than not, the show picks up very quickly and also fades out as quickly as it started! Most of the auroras are out only about 2 to max 10 minutes at ones.
  • A: Be Patient - this is maybe the most important thing in aurora viewing. If the show starts, it's always worth. Seeing a full-blown aurora show is just an indescribable experience.
  • A: Experience - this is maybe the second most important (human) factor in aurora viewing. If you are first patient and then successful in seeing auroras, the direct consequence is that you will gain of course - experience. After a while you will begin to recognize what the aurora is doing, in which phase it is and so on. And the most important thing - You will learn how a weak aurora looks like!!! Because, even that we are hoping to see a bright "eruption phase " aurora, the aurora isn't all the time bright. So the experience will help you to see and determine if there is a weak aurora, which could get brighter in the future! I
  • A: Light Conditions - the primary reason for not seeing an aurora are any city light obstruction or a bright twilight. Our destinations are far away from a city or other light obstruction and therefore should guarantee the best viewing conditions possible.
  • A: Weather - don't think overcast weather prevent you from Aurora viewing. Although often clouds do ruin everything, but at times...you can also get lucky breaks! Another example, during a major aurora storm in 2001 the forecasts and satellite pictures showed that it should be overcast, but it was not. We could see the stars and the aurora through the thin clouds! So, give it a try anyway...it could be worth it!

Q: What causes the Aurora
A: Energetic charged particles from the magnetosphere. These particles are electrons and protons that are energized in the near geo-space environment. This energization process draws its energy from the interaction of the Earth's magnetosphere with the solar wind. The magnetosphere is a volume of space that surrounds the Earth. We have this magnetosphere because of Earth's internal magnetic field. This field extends to space until it is balanced by the solar wind.

Q: What is the altitude of the Aurora Borealis
A: The bottom edge is typically at 100 km (about 60 miles) altitude. The aurora extends over a very large altitude range. The altitude where the emission comes from depends on the energy of the energetic electrons that make the aurora. The more energy the bigger the punch, and the deeper the electron get into the atmosphere. Very intense aurora from high-energy electrons can be as low as 80 km (50 miles). The top of the visible aurora peters out at about 2-300 km (120-200 miles), sometimes high altitude aurora can be seen as high as 600 km (350 miles). This is about the altitude at which the space shuttle usually flies.


▶ Sun | Solar Wind | Magnetosphere

The solar wind is the outermost atmosphere of our sun. The sun is so hot that it boils off its outer layers, and the result is a constant outward expanding very thin gas. This solar wind consists not of atoms and molecules but of protons and electrons (this is called a plasma). Embedded in this solar wind is the magnetic field of the sun. The density is so low that we may well call it a vacuum. However tenuous it is, when this solar wind encounters a planet, it has to flow around it. When this planet has a magnetic field, the solar wind sees this magnetic field as an obstacle, as protons and electrons cannot move freely across a magnetic field. These charged particles are constrained to move almost always only along the magnetic field. Likewise, when they are forced to move in a specific direction, a magnetic field will move with them or will be bent into the direction of the flow. Whether the magnetic field forces the plasma motion or whether the plasma motion bends the magnetic field depends on the strength of the field and the force of the motion. When the solar wind encounters Earth's magnetic field, it will thus bend the field unless the field gets too strong. The strength of the magnetic field falls off with distance from Earth. The distance at which the solar wind and the magnetic field of the Earth balance each other is about 60,000 km away, or 1/10 of the distance to the moon. The inside of this volume that is bounded by the solar wind is called the magnetosphere. At the interface of the solar wind and the magnetosphere, energy can be transferred into the magnetosphere by a number of processes. Most effective is a process called reconnection. When the magnetic field in the solar wind and the magnetic field of the magnetosphere are anti-parallel, the fields can melt together, and the solar wind can drag the magnetospheres field and plasma along. This is very efficient in energizing magnetospheres plasma. Eventually, the magnetosphere responds by dumping electrons and protons into the high latitude upper atmosphere where the energy of the plasma can be dissipated. This then results in aurora. Here is an animation (1.6Mb) that illustrates this process.


▶ Alaska and Canada Northern Lights Viewing | Photo Support

Q: How do I take the best pictures
A: For the first -time or for seasoned aurora photographer, a 35 mm camera on a tripod equipped with a cable release is a must. Use a wide-angle 24 mm to 50 mm lens and set it to an f-stop which is the fastest – or one slower to avoid distortion of bright star images – usually f/1.4 – f/2.8.

  • Exposures of 5 to 15 seconds work well unless the aurora is faint or mostly stationary, in which case the exposure time should be doubled. People tend to overexpose their photos, causing the aurora to look washed out. If the aurora is bright, moonlight and city lights should not interfere and can offer an interesting foreground. Never use filters because they could cause internal reflections. If it is very dark, a silhouette of a tree of lit cabin will certainly add to the scene. Video cameras are normally not sensitive enough to successfully record the aurora.
  • Because aurora occurs under clear skies, photographers will often be shooting in temperatures well below zero. Since cold saps camera batteries, it is advisable to use an older camera with mechanical shutter instead of one that is fully automatic. Cold makes plastic brittle, so the cable release should be wired mesh vice plastic. At minus 40 Fahrenheit, all cameras will freeze in less than 10 minutes; before taking it inside to warm, place it in a zip-lock plastic bag to reduce condensation.
  • Tape the lens to infinity so that it doesn’t slip and cause your images to be out of focus. Don’t try for a 37th exposure; it might break the film, and it is best to overexpose your first frame on the roll so that the film processor knows where to start cutting your negatives. Wind your finished roll of film slowly so that it doesn’t shatter or cause static buildup – this may appear as scratch. While Kodak film processing mailers are generally reliable, it may be worth the extra cost to have the film processed through a custom photo lab. Going the custom lab route will save the film from being lost in the mail or scratched in an automated process.
  • Slower speed film (print or slide) has better gain resolution; making for a sharper image when enlarged. Thus it may be too slow to record the fine detail structure of the aurora.
  • Medium-speed color film (200 /400 ASA) works as well. Purists insist on slide film. You can try a faster film, but keep in mind that graininess and color quality tend to decrease with increasing film speed. We recommend using 400-speed film is a good compromise between detail and quality of the image.
  • Different films will emphasize different colors of the aurora, so experimentation is advisable. Bracketing your exposures (05 seconds, 10 seconds and 15 seconds) will give you the characteristics of the film. Even in a roll of 36 exposures, there are only a few shots that are acceptable to me.


Q: Can I videotape the Aurora
A: Videotaping the aurora generally takes highly specialized video equipment. Generally – camcorders are not sensitive enough to see the aurora, though a few will record a faint, smoky image given a sufficiently bright aurora. Your best bet for video showing the color and motion of the aurora is to purchase a professionally – recorded tape such as one distributed form the Geophysical Institute in Fairbanks. Thus, some home video cameras are capable of picking up bright auroras. In particular, a camera rated at for example: less than one-lux sensitivity has captured – faintly and colorlessly a bright auroral arc. Many cameras which have special features such as digital zoom and / or vibration compensation are much less sensitive and will not show the aurora. The most annoying problem with home video cameras in low-light situations is their inability to focus. If your camera has a focus-lock button, you may be able to focus on a distant, brightly-lit object, and lock the focus then see if you can pick up the moon or perhaps catch a hint of an extremely bright aurora. Just don’t expect much, because home video cameras aren’t designed to do low-light recording.

Q: Do you have any Aurora Photography Tips
A: When you do your research for shooting the aurora, you’ll find pluses and minuses for going when a full moon is present.  On the minus side is if the lights that night are somewhat faint, the brightness of the moon’s reflection of the sun can fade them out.  On the other hand, a full moon can be used to illuminate objects in the foreground.  Many aurora shots include buildings with lights on inside to provide an interesting foreground subject.  Depending on your shooting location, this feature might not be available.  However, a full moon will help light up anything you have in front of you, no matter where you are.  Because shots are done for at least six to eight seconds and up to fifteen seconds or more (depending on your shutter and ISO settings), the full moon will do a great job of making what would otherwise be a silhouette into a well-lit subject.  Conversely, if you choose to go when there isn’t a full moon, a strong flash can be helpful in popping light onto a foreground subject.


▶ More about Northern Lights Tour Packages

Q: Flights to Alaska
A: Alaska -, Continental -, United -, Delta Airlines and US Airways are providing multiple flight connections daily to Anchorage and Fairbanks from the lower 48's. For current rates please refer to: >> Alaska Airlines or other airlines and any ticket reservation systems of your choice. Sorry, but we do not provide a reservation service for airlines tickets. Accordingly our advertised tour rates do not include any flights to/from Alaska.

Q: Recommended Clothing
A: We recommend fleece or heavy wool sweaters, down jackets or similar cold weather gear with attached hood, gloves, sun glasses, swimsuit, wool shirts, cotton or thermal underwear, mittens, sturdy winter boots, lip balsam, moisturizing cream. Winter gear and clothing may be rented at your local outdoor stores or at REI - Recreational Equipment INC - in Anchorage (please contact the stores directly) >> More Information

Q: Meals
A: Meals are not included in our tours (except as otherwise stated within each "Tour Included" section) The cities of Fairbanks and Anchorage are providing a large number of restaurants in all categories. Our lodges and resorts are providing a dining room or a full service restaurant with a extended food and drink selection.

Q: Sightseeing Tours
A: Sightseeing tours are not included in our tour packages (except as otherwise stated within each "Tour Included" section) Thus, we do offer a variety of optional tours. Please contact us or simply check our websites.

Q: How far in advance should I make a Reservation
A: This is hard to predict but if you travel during: (1) New Moon Dates (2) Public Holidays (3) Long Weekends (4) Alaska Events etc. tours are most likely sold out and it will be virtually impossible to materialize a last minute request. Accordingly it is highly advisable to book as early as possible.

▶ Chena Hot Springs Resort | Accommodation Description

Moose Lodge Room / First Class Category
The Moose Lodge features 40 spacious rooms with two queen beds that have comfortable 14 inch mattresses.
Each room includes a full bath, 8 channel TV, hair dryer, coffee maker, telephone and unlimited swim/soak passes during your stay.


Fox Room / Superior Category
The Resort features 32 Fox Rooms, each with a unique Alaskan Decor and close proximity to the hot springs.  
A comfortable option, smaller and more intimate than the Moose Lodge yet cozier, each room has two double beds,
a 3/4 bath with shower, 8 channel TV, hair dryer, coffee maker and unlimited swim/soak passes during your stay. No room-in telephone.

 



Alaska Rail Tour Services

Regular Seating and Private Dome Car Choices
Our Alaska Rail Tours are available with the following classes of service: Denali Star & Coastal Classic Regular Service | Many people prefer the standard class for its single level stability, generous seating and the ability to easily walk between different cars on the train. Gold Star Dome Cars | Are the newest first-class rail cars in Alaska with large picture windows and fine dining options. Upper level dome car 360-degree viewing seating, priority check in, outdoor viewing deck. The lower level provides a restaurant, bar and gift shop. Midnight Sun Express Dome Cars | These 2-story dome cars with large multiple outside viewing platforms are operated by a private company. Enjoy the full-time 360-degree view dome seating with plenty of leg – and storage room. Additional features are: GPS assisted monitors, restaurant, bar and gift shop. The 1950’s Vintage Cars | The 1950's-era vintage railcars built by the well known Budd Company were some of the last reminders of the Golden Age of rail. A private company began acquiring Budd dome cars for passenger service on the McKinley Explorer train in Alaska. The seven cars the: Matanuska 508, Chena 509, Chulitna 510, Tanana 512, Talkeetna 513, Kashwitna 553 and Eklutna 554 were purchased and completely refurbished. These railcars were to become the most historic and elegant way to travel through America's Last Frontier. Mc.Kinley Explorer Dome Cars | Are the largest domed cars ever build with plenty of legroom, wide isles and additional luggage storage space. The seats are on the upper level – with restaurant, gift shop and bar downstairs - providing a 360-degree view through the glass windows around and the glass dome above you. All seats are wired so you may listen to music and recorded narration. GPS assisted monitors in each car are tracking the exact location. The covered outside viewing platform is a great feature for a breath of fresh air. All Alaska Rail Tours are including a pre-confirmed and assigned seat as well as on-board narration services. MAP – Modified American Plan (Breakfast & Dinner) is available upon request.

Children Rate
We provide a reduced tour rate for children up to 11 years. Please refer to each individual tour for more information. Children will be accommodated in parents room.

Dining
The Midnight Sun Express, the McKinley Explorer and the Alaska Railroad Gold Star Dome Cars are offering full service breakfast, lunch and dinner options (all custom made to order) at the on-board restaurants. You will have the opportunity to visit the dining room and order freshly prepared food from the menu. Since all of our dishes are prepared to order we will do our best to accommodate all dietary concerns. Please notify us of any special dietary requirements at the time of reservation.

Gratuities
Recommended gratuities to the on-board train staff and host guides are $3.00 to $5.00 per person and day. Gratuities for meal and bar service are entirely discretionary, but 15% is customary in most Alaskan restaurants. All tipping is a matter of your individual preference and is of course - always voluntary.

Hotel Accommodation
For additional information and addresses on hotels, lodges and resorts included in your railroad tour package, please check our „Info Center“ area.

Luggage Transfer & Access
Passengers are limited to two pieces of checked baggage, not to exceed 50 pounds, that must be checked with the Alaska Railroad without charge. Each passenger may also take one carry on, not to exceed 2 ” by 14” by 17 ”, which will stored under your seat on the viewing level. Please pack any medications, cameras, binoculars or valuables in your carry-on.

Pets
Are not allowed onboard (except assistance dogs)

Smoking
Is not permitted on-board the trains. Smoking is allowed outside on the platforms. Ashtrays are available on the outside viewing platform.

Sightseeing Tours
Most of our tours are including scheduled sightseeing trips. For more information please refer to each individual tour package. In addition to these scheduled tours we also provide a variety of exciting optional sightseeing trips with a great value. Please Note: Optional sightseeing tours are only available in connection with a confirmed rail tour package reservation.

Tickets & Travel Documents
You’ll receive your boarding passes, travel documents and additional tour information on the departure day at the rail station. Ticketless travel options are available upon request.

Transfers
Most scheduled transfers indicated within the itinerary are included in our rail tour packages. Optional pre/post hotel tour accommodation are including transfers from/to the airport. Private limousine and/or group coach transfers are available for an additional charge.

Wheelchair Access
Each train has at least one rail car that this fully accessible to wheelchairs. A specially designed lift makes getting on and off the train easy and safe. There are also accessible restrooms on each of the accessible rail cars.

Alaska Rail Tour Travel Destinations
Anchorage to Talkeetna | Anchorage is headquarters to the Alaska Railroad and the journey to Fairbanks begins here. Several miles into the trip, the heavy birch forests of Eagle River and Chugiak lead to the Knik and Matanuska Rivers.The expansive watershed harbors wildlife like moose, bear, the occasional wolf and abundant waterfowl. About 40 miles from Anchorage comes the Matanuska Valley, Alaska's agricultural center and home to the towns of Palmer and Wasilla. Just south of Talkeetna, 70 miles further, the first view emerges of Mt. McKinley, North America's highest peak. The train takes its first stop in Talkeetna, a small town with a mining history and now, a popular takeoff point for climbers to Mt. McKinley. Talkeetna to Denali | From Talkeetna, the track follows the serpentine banks of the Susitna River. On clear days, more views of Mt. McKinley emerge across the river presenting many chances for photos. Black and brown bear frequent the sandbars and scuttle into the brush as the train approaches. Next, the Indian River Canyon is home to many beavers and beaver lodges can be seen in the ponds along the way. The track climbs toward tree line, first crossing Hurricane Gulch, the longest bridge on the railroad just over 914 feet and 296 feet above Hurricane Creek. The train moves into Broad Pass, at 2,363 feet it's the highest point on the railroad, and where caribou migrate through during the fall. Thousands of travelers visit Denali National Park and Preserve to see wildlife like wolves, caribou, Dall sheep, moose and bear, and, of course, Mt. McKinley. Denali to Fairbanks | The coal-mining town of Healy follows after a 10-mile jaunt through Healy canyon, where the surging waters of the Nenana River cuts through the steep-sided cliffs. As the track levels out, Nenana comes into view. It is home to one of the remaining original Alaska Railroad Depots, now a museum and gift shop. The track cuts through the northern boreal forests of interior Alaska. Birch, aspen and willow fill this landscape where gold miners first came to seek their fortunes. Fifty-eight miles from Nenana, Fairbanks, the "Golden Heart City" signals the end of the line - but just the beginning for more adventure, culture and history in the Last Frontier.


Seward to Anchorage | Your journey starts in Seward, the southern terminus of the railroad. It quickly begins its climb through primeval forests of Sitka spruce. After crossing Snowy River, Kenai Lake comes into view, set off with its stunning aqua color and surrounded by soaring mountains. Moose Pass - Thirty miles into the trip, the track winds through Moose Pass, a former railroad construction camp on the shores of Trail Lake. As the rail ascends into the Kenai Mountains, it leaves behind the forests and reveals mountain meadows and streams of gin-clear glacial waters. Trail Glacier appears on the right and soon after, the summit of Grandview at 1,063 feet and the historic Loop District - named for a complex series of trestles built to handle the steep grade in the age of steam engines. In the same stretch, Bartlett Glacier crowds the track just 800 feet away. Placer River Valley - After passing through a series of short tunnels, the track descends to the Placer River Valley near Spencer Glacier. Moose, bear and wolves populate the valley among the willow and alder trees. Trumpeter swans migrate through in spring and fall and arctic terns hover above the ponds and river looking for small fish and insects. Twelve miles later Turnagain Arm appears, where 40-foot tides rush into the narrow confines of the Chugach Mountains. Beluga whales pursue salmon and other schooling fish. Next comes Girdwood, home to Alaska's premier ski resort, a 40-mile commute from Anchorage. Chugach National Forest - The Chugach National Forest borders Turnagain Arm, some six million acres, the second largest in the U.S. Bald eagles cruise the thermals above and Dall Sheep come to feed on the low plants growing on the cliffs bordering the track. Next comes Potter Marsh in the Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge. Anchorage is the final stop, 114 miles out of Seward.



 

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