Riding the Alaska Railroad

Denali National Park Depot

The Alaska Railroad has been around since  the 1900s . Traveling between Seward, Anchorage and Fairbanks with a few smaller branch lines, the railroad provides a great way to travel between the premier National Parks in Alaska.  My daughter, Emily and I, took the first leg between Anchorage and Seward and later in our trip,  Denali National Park to Anchorage.  The train leaves and arrives from convenient train stations in central, downtown locations and at the entrance to Denali National Park.

View from the Gold Car


Everything we read recommended the Gold Star Service.  Gold Star includes a reserved seats on the two-story observation cars, one or two meals, a couple of alcoholic drinks and otherwise free coffee and the like.  The views from the cars are priceless and each car has an outdoor observation decks.


Viewing Deck on the Gold Car


We don’t cruise, but as best as I can tell riding the Gold Star is somewhat akin to a cruise.  Meals and drinks are included and all seats are reserved.  Seats, a bar and an observation deck are on the second level.

Alaska Railroad Gold Star

Views are 180 degrees. The dining room on the first level is accessed via a spiral staircase! Alaska high school students may or may not be on the train to narrate the tour.  (Reviews on narration are mixed.  Most love this,

Train Station

but a lot of folks complain that they just want to nap.  This seems odd to spend all this money and then sleep through the trip…but hey it takes all kinds. ).  Some folks complain that they just want to nap.   The trip between Seward and Anchorage seems to be the most scenic. It is even possible to take the train from Anchorage in the morning and then return in the evening.  We didn’t go to Fairbanks…that will be another trip.




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