Anchorage to Fairbanks on the Denali Star
The state of Alaska is often described as ‘the final frontier’ and travelling across this vast landscape can seem a little daunting – especially with national parks the size of small countries and hundreds of miles between towns. That’s where the Denali Star train steps in, linking Alaska’s largest city Anchorage to the rural city of Fairbanks – home to the Northern Lights and the Midnight Sun. The entire journey takes just under 12 hours, hosting passengers in comfortable modern carriages with dome windows and plenty of drinking and dining options. Grab your backpack, binoculars (for spotting brown bears, moose and bald eagles) and prepare for a truly epic journey.
Prices from: US $201
Departing from: Anchorage, Fairbanks
Journey length: 11 hours, 45 minutes
Anchorage to Fairbanks route
The entire journey from Anchorage to Fairbanks takes just under 12 hours, covering 356 miles from the southern coast of the state, inland. Departing from Anchorage at 8:15am, passengers embark on a journey across the stunning wilds of Alaska, crossing the Eklutna River and passing by sites like the native village of Eklutna, Palmer Hay Flats State Game Refuge, Wasilla, Talkeetna, the Denali National Park and the Nenana River canyon gorge.
The journey is split into three sections, Anchorage to Talkeetna, Talkeetna to Denali and Denali to Faribanks – and passengers can disembark accordingly. However, it’s worth staying on until Fairbanks, where passengers can experience the midnight sun. The train runs from May to September.
The Denali Star train
The Denali Star train offers three services of travel for passengers; Adventure Class, GoldStar and Wilderness Express – all which share one or two dome cars. Adventure Class is the most economical – basic but comfortable seating with picture windows. GoldStar service includes meals and two drinks per drip, while Wilderness class are seated in dedicated carriages with the Wilderness Café restaurant – offering both hot and cold meals and snacks. There are also guides in each Wilderness Express car providing tour commentary. GoldStar and Adventure Class passengers can also access a sit-down dining room in the lower level of the shared dome cars, with priority given to GoldStar.
What we love
The Denali Express is an incredibly comfortable and accessible way to see the wilds of Alaska, showing off scenery that most travellers will have never seen before – or had the opportunity to see.