Most Scenic Train Rides in Alaska

Alaska is known for its beauty and grandness. From the dramatic landscapes to majestic glaciers and mountains, there are countless outdoor activities to explore the state’s beauty. One of the best ways to take it all in is from a scenic train ride. Here are some of the most memorable rail rides to take in Alaska.

Chesapeake & Ohio (C&O) Railroad

One of the most historic railroads in Alaska is the Chesapeake & Ohio (C&O) Railroad. The C&O has been serving the citizens of Alaska for over 100 years, and its track passes through some of the most beautiful and remote countryside in the state. Its route winds through picturesque rolling hills, breathtaking canyons, and beautiful valleys. The train ride gives passengers the opportunity to take in various wildlife, including bald eagles and caribou, as well as the towering mountain peaks of Denali National Park. It’s also a great opportunity to explore the local fishing towns, such as Fairbanks and Seward, where you can sample some of the state’s renowned king crab.

White Pass & Yukon Route

The White Pass & Yukon Route, commonly referred to as the WPYR, is possibly the most iconic of Alaska’s railroad rides. This narrow gauge railway, which has been around since the late 1800s, travels through the beautiful White Pass Pass and over the 2,865 ft-long historic White Pass Summit. Along the way, passengers can take in the breathtaking scenery, including snow-capped mountains and steep canyons.

The train departs from Skagway and travels for nearly three hours to the summit, where passengers are privy to stunning views of Canada’s Kluane National Park and Reserve, as well as Mount Logan. From there, it continues to the town of Carcross, where you can explore a locale steeped in gold rush history.

Anchorage to Whittier

Anchorage to Whittier is one of the most popular and picturesque Alaska train journeys. On this two-hour trek, riders will get to experience an array of scenery, from rugged mountains to wide-open vistas.

The train leaves from the bustling city of Anchorage and travels through the Chugach National Forest, passing by Summit and Portage Lakes. Mountains accessible from the side of the train at these points offer another layer to the spectacular vistas. Finally, passengers will arrive at the charming town of Whittier, where they can take in beautiful views of Prince William Sound and explore the town’s array of galleries and shops.

Tundra Wilderness

An excursion on the Tundra Wilderness tour train is one of the best ways to experience the stunning beauty of Alaska. This 1.5-hour trek takes passengers into the heart of Denali National Park, passing by ponds, meadows, rivers, and glacial valleys.

The journey begins in Denali Station, where passengers board the train and head off on their adventure. Along the way, riders keep their eyes peeled for wildlife such as bald eagles, bears, moose, and caribou. The train then travels on to the Savage River, where you can hop off and explore the area’s lush nature trails. Finally, the trip ends with a dramatic view of Mount McKinley, the highest peak in North America.

Copper Valley Railroad

The Copper Valley Railroad is one of the most unique train rides in Alaska. This historic railway meanders through vast stretches of land and pristine valleys, including vast stretches of land and abundant wildlife. It’s a great journey for nature and photography enthusiasts, with chances to spot wildlife like trumpeter swans, moose, caribou, and bald eagles.

The Copper Valley Railroad embarks from Copper Center and snakes its way through the Chitina Valley, passes through small towns, and ends in the remote village of Chitina. With stops along the way, passengers can explore the area’s incredible glaciers, cascading waterfalls, hot springs, and awe-inspiring mountains.

There are many scenic trains rides to explore in Alaska. From the historical Chesapeake & Ohio (C&O) Railroad to the postcard-perfect White Pass & Yukon Route, each ride offers something unique for passengers. Whether it’s for absorbing the beauty of Glacier Bay National Park or viewing the majestic Denali National Park from the window of a train, these train rides offer unforgettable experiences. So, no matter which ride you take, be sure to take in the grandeur of the Last Frontier.

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