The Alaska Railroad is taking summer train adventures to the next level by offering passengers a wide-ranging lineup of new and returning add-on experiences. From thrilling helicopter glacier adventures to educational historical tours, there’s something for everyone to enjoy; and all are available and customizable through the railroad’s reservations team. 

Exciting add-ons for the Glacier Discovery or Coastal Classic routes:

  • Helicopter Glacier Landing (Girdwood): Embark on a thrilling adventure into the Chugach backcountry to witness stunning glaciers like Lake George, Whiteout and Colony. Land on a glacier for 15-20 minutes of exploration amidst breathtaking scenery and keep an eye out for wildlife like moose, bear and Dall sheep. 
  • Prince William Sound Glacier Landing (Girdwood): Soar over scenic landscapes and spot wildlife while venturing into the heart of glacier country in Prince William Sound. Experience a glacier landing and marvel at tidewater glaciers and marine wildlife.
  • Summer Glacier Dog Sledding (Girdwood): Take a helicopter ride to Punchbowl Glacier for a unique dog sledding experience amidst the majestic Chugach Mountains. Learn about sled dogs and enjoy breathtaking views of scenic peaks and valleys.

New and returning add-ons for the Coastal Classic Train:

  • History City Tour (Seward): Dive into Seward’s vibrant past with a fun and informative one-hour guided tour, starting from the Train Depot. Seward is the southern terminus of the Alaska Railroad’s main line and sits at the head of Resurrection Bay. It is one of Alaska’s oldest and most picturesque communities.
  • Historical Glacier Combo (Seward): Explore Seward’s history on a city tour before journeying to Exit Glacier, the gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park. Visit the nature center, hike trails and admire the area’s natural beauty.
  • Seward Deluxe Tour: Embark on an afternoon of fun with a historical city tour, lunch at a local restaurant, a visit to the Exit Glacier Visitors Center, and a trip to the Alaska SeaLife Center – Alaska’s only public aquarium as well as a marine mammal rehabilitation facility.

Alaska Railroad passengers arriving or departing in Anchorage can also take to the skies with Alaska Helicopter Tours. Options include the Grand Knik Tour, the Knik Glacier Landing Tour and the Helicopter and Glacier Dog Sled Tour. Learn more about other day trips and excursions on the Alaska Railroad website.

Back by popular demand, the railroad will once again offer the Centennial Special package, celebrating 100 years since the completion of the main line back in 1923. In this 12-day package, passengers will ride the Coastal Classic, Glacier Discovery and Denali Star Trains — the full length of the Alaska Railroad’s historic main line. Passengers who book this special also get to embark on a glacier and wildlife cruise in Kenai Fjords National Park, a Spencer Glacier float trip and a Denali wildlife tour. There are also 10 other multi-day package options available for guests to book that include accommodations, tours and, of course, travel via the Alaska Railroad.

“From Seward to Fairbanks and anywhere our trains stop, an exciting adventure waits for every passenger,” said Dale Wade, vice president of marketing and customer service at the Alaska Railroad. “We’re looking forward to welcoming travelers onboard our four summer routes and transporting them to cities, national parks, backcountry glaciers and so many more destinations.”

The flagship Denali Star Train offers passengers a scenic journey between Anchorage and Fairbanks with stops in Wasilla, Talkeetna and Denali National Park and Preserve. On this route, travelers will have the opportunity to see Cook Inlet, North America’s tallest peak and explore the national park. A returning add-on to a rail trip to Denali for the 2024 season is a Horse Drawn Covered Wagon TourPassengers can experience the charm of old-time Alaska on a 45-minute horse-drawn covered wagon tour that includes scenic views of the Alaska Range complete with a family-style meal. 

The last flagstop train in the U.S., the Hurricane Turn Train summer service offers a unique experience where passengers can flag down the conductor to board or disembark at their convenience. This is one of Alaska’s best kept secrets as it allows passengers to access Alaska’s backcountry to hike and camp in places that are otherwise inaccessible. The route not only offers access to stunning landscapes, it also travels across the longest and tallest bridge on the Alaska Railroad. Stretching 918 feet long and rising 296 feet above Hurricane Creek, the Hurricane Gulch Bridge gives passengers a thrill. This route is a six-hour round-trip journey between Talkeetna and Hurricane Gulch with options to disembark for a jetboat tour that also visits the ghost town of Curry.

Beginning May 15 the Coastal Classic Train will provide daily round-trip service between Anchorage and Seward. Passengers can admire both mountain and coastal views while keeping an eye out for wildlife like moose, bears, eagles and even beluga whales along Turnagain Arm. The train stops in Girdwood before veering away from the Seward Highway and into Alaska’s backcountry, offering sights of beautiful glaciers and lakes in the Chugach National Forest. After arriving in Seward, travelers have ample time to explore the town or explore Kenai Fjords National Park before the evening departure back to Anchorage. 

The Glacier Discovery Train begins its summer season with partial service to Girdwood and Whittier. After traveling through a one-way tunnel into Whittier, passengers can embark on a glacier cruise in Prince William Sound. The full route of the Glacier Discovery Train, including the Spencer Glacier Whistle Stop and a stop at Grandview Glacier, begins on June 1. With the railroad’s exclusive access to Spencer Glacier, travelers can engage in activities for all experience levels like rafting, hiking and kayaking before returning to Anchorage that evening.

For passengers traveling on the Denali Star and Coastal Classic routes, the Alaska Railroad provides two distinct service classes: GoldStar Service and Adventure Class. With the railroad’s GoldStar Service – an elevated experience on the railroad – travelers are treated to exclusive access to second-level outdoor viewing platforms and glass domed railcars, which offer unparalleled views of Alaska’s stunning landscapes. It’s not only the sights that make GoldStar Service special — passengers can indulge in a sit-down dining featuring local ingredients in every meal. The service also includes two adult beverages from local crafter brewers and distillers. 

Adventure Class service is available on all Alaska Railroad routes. Passengers can sit back and enjoy expansive views of the landscapes and wildlife through large picture windows. Adventure Class features the Wilderness Café, serving convenient grab-and-go meals, snacks and beverages passengers can enjoy throughout their trip or once they disembark. The café has spacious seating for eating or a change of scenery during the journey. With Adventure Class, passengers can enjoy all the essential comforts of train travel while immersing themselves in the joy of Alaska at an affordable price.

Travelers can contact the Alaska Railroad reservations team at [email protected] to book a trip and create a customized experience. The last day to ride the Coastal Classic and Glacier Discovery Trains is Sept. 15. The Hurricane Turn Train’s last summer departure is Sept. 16, and the Denali Star Train’s is Sept. 19. For more information about the Alaska Railroad, summer packages, schedules and more, visit www.alaskarailroad.com

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