Designed for rail enthusiasts, this program includes Anchorage to Seward, Talkeetna, Denali and Fairbanks. From the majestic waters of Kenai Fjords National Park to Alaska’s... Read more.
Fall comes to Alaska in mid to late August with berries ripening on low tundra bushes in blankets of crimson and purple. Grizzly bears and caribou roam mountainsides fattening up for the long winter ahead. Alaska’s Midnight Sun trades in its long hours of daylight for darker evenings that are perfect for Northern Lights viewing.
This classic Alaska autumn journey begins in Anchorage for a day cruise through the calm waters of Prince William Sound to view glaciers and playful sea otters. After two nights in Anchorage, it’s “all aboard” the Alaska Railroad for a bus tour of Denali National Park, home to Alaska’s “big five” animals: moose, caribou, Dall sheep, wolves and grizzly bears. Two nights in Denali provide time to hike, sightsee, and possibly take in an optional tour, like rafting or flightseeing.
From Denali you will continue north on the Alaska Railroad to Fairbanks, passing through miles of birch forests that pop to life in the bright yellow hues of autumn. You will have time to sightsee the next morning before your guided van transfer to Chena Hot Springs Resort. Nestled in a wooded area about 1.5 hours away from Fairbanks, the resort attracts visitors from around the world to see the Aurora Borealis. You’ll have a guided Aurora viewing expedition and two full days to enjoy the nature trails and relaxing spa pools. Your Alaska vacation ends with a transfer back to the Fairbanks Airport.
Arrival in Anchorage
Arrive in Anchorage and transfer to your hotel on your own or by courtesy shuttle. Anchorage is Alaska’s largest city, nestled between the Chugach Mountains and Cook Inlet. Offering an abundance of shopping, cultural attractions, and gourmet restaurants, Anchorage provides an excellent start to your Alaska vacation. Depending on your arrival, you may have time to take part in an optional tour such as local photo tour. Overnight in Anchorage.
Anchorage to Whittier - Prince William Sound Glacier Cruise
Start your day with a scenic 1.5 hour coach transfer along Turnagain Arm to the coastal town of Whittier. On arrival in Whittier, board a high-speed catamaran for your 5-hour cruise to see spectacular glaciers of Prince William Sound. On this cruise you will travel through glacier-filled College and Harrimann Fjords viewing Alpine (hanging), Piedmont and Tidewater glaciers. Watch for glacier calving – when ice falls off the face of the glacier. As you cruise through the sound, keep watch for sea otters and birds. If you are lucky you may spot a whale or even a black bear on the shoreline. Lunch and live narration by a Chugach National Forest Service Ranger are included on board. Return to Anchorage by coach. Upon arrival in Anchorage transfer back to your hotel on your own. Overnight in Anchorage.
Anchorage to Denali by Rail
In the morning transfer to the Anchorage train station on your own or by courtesy shuttle. Board the famous Alaska Railroad to Denali National Park. Stunning views from the train include the Alaska Range, Summit Lake, Hurricane Gulch, and – if the weather is clear – Denali’s 20,310’ peak. Upon arrival in Denali at 3:45pm, a transfer to your accommodations is provided. With a size of over 6 million acres, Denali National Park is one of the world’s greatest wild animal preserves. Here, protected from hunting, the animals roam freely in a region dominated by the continent’s tallest mountain. Most visitor facilities are grouped near the park entrance. Your evening is free for optional activities, or you can just relax and enjoy some leisure time. Overnight near the Denali park entrance.
Denali National Park
Today, depart on a narrated bus tour into Denali National Park. As you travel through the pristine wilderness, look for wildlife, such as bears, caribou, and moose, as well as views of the Mountain. Your experienced driver/guide will provide commentary. The tour is approx. 3-6 hours long and takes you approx. 30 - 43 miles into the park, depending on weather and road conditions. The rest of the day is free for optional tours, such as river rafting and flightseeing tours (see Tour Add-Ons). Overnight near the Denali park entrance.
Denali National Park to Fairbanks by Rail
The morning is free to explore Denali or relax at your hotel. In the late afternoon you will depart on the train to Fairbanks. Watch for eagles soaring through the Nenana River Gorge and moose in the rolling hills outside of Fairbanks. Upon arrival in the evening, transfer to your hotel by courtesy shuttle or on your own. Overnight in Fairbanks.
Fairbanks to Chena Hot Springs - Aurora Viewing Expedition
At approximately 12 noon, you will be picked up from your hotel and transferred to Chena Hot Springs Resort, 90 minutes east of Fairbanks. This comfortable resort offers large, well appointed rooms with private bath. In the mineral spring area, hot tubs and a warm indoor swimming pool provide a relaxing environment. Combined with numerous outdoor activities, Chena Hot Springs offers a first rate Alaskan winter experience. This evening, enjoy a 4 to 5 hour Aurora Expedition tour. Overnight Chena Hot Springs Resort.
Chena Hot Springs
The day is at your leisure to enjoy all the resort has to offer. Relax in the indoor and outdoor spa pools, take a hike on one of the nature trails, or sign up for an optional massage service. You can also add an optional Ice Museum Tour. Free geothermal tours are offered twice per day to learn about generating electricity from the hot springs water. The northern lights are usually most visible between the hours of 10pm and 2:30am (weather depending). Aurora wake-up calls can be arranged with the front desk staff. Overnight at Chena Hot Springs Resort.
Chena Hot Springs to Fairbanks
This morning you will be transferred 90-minutes back to Fairbanks to meet your departing flight. We recommend departing between 10am and 7pm.
The program will include a combination of hotels or motels that are considered moderate to standard tourist class. Please be aware not all hotels have shuttle services.
If you would like to book the standard program but with upgraded rail seating, the option and surcharge will be listed when you save to your cart.
The program will include standard rooms at this category of hotel where possible. Alaska has very limited hotel choices in remote areas and small towns. The properties will typically offer a wider range of services such as a full-service restaurant, room service and perhaps a pool or spa facilities. Please be aware the upgraded accommodations in downtown Anchorage do not have hotel shuttle services. Many of the upgraded hotels also offer guaranteed view rooms for additional cost. If you would like a specific room type, in addition to the upgraded program, please ask us about availability and cost difference.
All journeys between Anchorage and Whittier are in standard seating as deluxe dome cars are not available on that route.