RSSE02 - Classic Alaska Road & Rail Trip from Seward

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The Alaska Railroad is best known for its glass-coupled dome cars and excellent service. In addition to magnificent scenery, wildlife can also be seen along the routes from the coast to the interior of Alaska. Immerse yourself in the culture and beauty of Alaska’s luscious coastal region of the Kenai Peninsula along with the interior landscape. The port town Seward is a great location to start your train and drive vacation after arriving by the Alaska Ferry or cruise ship. Seward is the gateway for cruises into Kenai Fjords National Park. Board the catamaran for a full day wildlife and glacier cruise, arguably one of the most scenic places in Alaska to see spectacular coastal scenery, marine wildlife and calving tidewater glaciers. Now it is time to explore Alaska’s backcountry on board the Alaska Railroad. Choose between the “Adventure Class” seating in the single-storey railway car or the “Deluxe Dome Railcar” on board the Alaska Railroad or with one of the privately operated trains. All train cars feature large panorama windows ensuring unobstructed views around every bend of the majestic beauty of the glaciers, mountains and Alaskan wildlife. Your next destination is Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city and filled with lot of adventures along with metropolitan amenities. Enjoy the comfortable ride as the train takes you via the Matanuska Valley towards the Alaska Range and Mt. Denali. Denali National Park is one of Alaska’s most popular attraction and natural habitat for many types of wildlife including caribou, moose, wolves, Dall sheep, bald eagles, and the mighty grizzly bears. It is most likely you will spot some of them while taking the full day Denali Transit Bus to Eielson Center, Wonder Lake or Kantishna Roadhouse. The rail part of your vacation comes to an end in Fairbanks, where you are invited to explore Fairbanks gold rush history, its vibrant traditional native cultures and the fantastic scenery of the northern arctic region.  Pick up your rental car and enjoy the scenery along the Richardson Highway. Highlight will be the visit to the remote communities Kennicott and McCarthy, located in the heart of Wrangell - St. Elias National Park. Explore the Root Glacier during a guided glacier hike. On your return trip to Anchorage you'll overnight at Sheep Mountain Lodge (or similar) overlooking Matanuska Glacier - one of Alaska's most popular glacier. Please read our itinerary to have more detailed day-to-day experience. On request, this trip can be customized and can be organized in reverse order.

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Itinerary

Seward ( Overnight: Seward )

Arrive in Seward, a small fishing town at the gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park. Check into your hotel. You will be greeted by the tour guide for your Seward area Sightseeing Tour. Heading out to Exit Glacier, take a short walk to the face of the glacial ice. Watch for mountain goats, moose or bear on the mountainside. During the salmon runs, see salmon swimming upstream to spawn. A hearty lunch will be served at nearby Resurrection Roadhouse before you travel to the Seavey homestead and experience "IditaRide" 1.5 hour Wilderness Dog Sled Ride and Tour. You may spend some time at the Alaska SeaLife Center – the world’s first cold water marine search institute. Enjoy a delicious seafood dinner at the harbor. Included: Seward Area Sightseeing Tour

Seward - Anchorage | Rail Tour ( Overnight: Anchorage )

This morning board the stable catamaran for a spectacular cruise deep into Kenai Fjords National Park with actively "calving" glaciers and magnificent scenery. Covering 110-miles, the trip is narrated by a National Park Ranger, who is highly adept at spotting wildlife and pointing out the many sights. Kenai Fjords showcase the best of Alaska’s marine world in a compact package. Sea otters float belly-up eating mussels while Harbor seals haul out on icebergs off Aialik Glacier. Look out for Steller sea lions on Chiswell Island as well as Humpback and killer whales. After reaching the tidewater glacier, guests witness "glacier calving" a process by which glaciers shed giant slabs of ancient ice. Board the Alaska Railroad this evening for a scenic train ride north to Anchorage. Included: Kenai Fjords Glacie Cruise

Anchorage – Denali National Park | Rail Tour ( Overnight: Denali Village )

Morning transfer to the railroad station where you'll board the train to Denali National Park. Choose between the standard rail car or the glass-dome compartments with large panorama windows ensuring unobstructed views of snowcapped mountain ranges, pristine scenery and abundant wildlife. Enjoy the comfortable ride as the train takes you via the Matanuska Valley towards the Alaska Range and Mt. Denali. Onboard services feature a restaurant, gift shop and snack bar. Arrive at Denali Village late afternoon. Transfer to your hotel and check into your room. Once you settled take a stroll through Denali Village, join a flightseeing tour, wildwater rafting trip or visit Jeff King’s Husky Homestead Kennel for a personal tour with four-time Iditarod champion Jeff King and his sled dogs.

Denali National Park ( Overnight: Denali Village )

Denali National Park offers excellent wildlife viewing and spectacular sceneries. Pick up your tickets, board the bus and watch out for grizzly bears, moose, caribou, wolf and fox moving along the ridges and river beds. Your driver informs about the history of Denali National Park, its diverse wildlife and flora. Once an animal has been spotted the bus will stop that everyone can watch and take pictures. The bus turns around at Eielson Visitor Center - 66 miles one way/8 hours round trip. You can get off the bus anytime to go for a hike. Return to the Denali Park entrance anytime during the day. Optional: We can extend the transit bus tour to Wonder Lake or exchange to the Tundra Wilderness Tour, Kantishna Wilderness Trails or Backcountry Lodge Tour. Included: Denali Transit Bus to Eielson Center

Denali National Park – Fairbanks | Rail Tour ( Overnight: Fairbanks )

Join this morning the sled dog demonstration hosted by Denali Park Rangers or hike around the Denali Visitor Center. Board the Alaska Railroad this afternoon for a scenic ride to Fairbanks. Just north of the Denali park, the train winds along Healy Canyon, following the curves of the Nenana River below. The train passes through the small community of Nenana, known for the Nenana Ice Classic Lottery. It is a fundraising event in which individuals attempt to guess the exact time the Tanana River ice will break up. Arrive in Fairbanks, the largest city in the interior and gateway to Alaska's Arctic northern region. The city enjoys almost 24 hr of daylight during summer. In the evening enjoy a dinner at the Pump House on the banks of the Chena River.Included: Denali Transit Bus to Eielson Center

Fairbanks – Copper Center | Start Self Drive Tour ( Driving Distance: 250 miles| Overnight: Copper Center or Glennallen )

Pick up your rental car. Travel on the Richardson Highway to Delta Junction - a telegraph station established in 1904. The intersection, marked by an oversized white milepost for Mile 1422 is known as the Triangle. Delta Junction is also home to the 90,000-acre Delta Bison Sanctuary. The area features spectacular views of the Alaska Range and the Delta River. On clear days the panoramas of Mount Hayes, Mount Moffit and other peaks are stunning. Continue to Paxson with it's many sled dog kennels and further on to Copper River area - known as a paradise for anglers and rafters searching for big fish and whitewater adventure. Copper Center is a great jump-off points to fish for the famed Copper River Sockeye. For trout and grayling as well as salmon, try the Gulkana River nearby.

Copper Center – Flight to McCarthy / Kennicott ( Driving Distance: 70 miles | Overnight: Kennicott )

Short drive to Chitina and park your car at the airport. From here take a scenic bushplane flight to Kennicott / McCarthy. You will see the Kennicott Glacier as it winds its way 25 miles to the North where it tumbles off the South East face of Mt. Blackburn. The Root and Gates Glaciers flow from ridges of Mt. Regal to join the Kennicott forming one of the most spectacular vistas in the park. Check into your hotel. Join a guided glacier hike on the Root Glacier. After meeting your guide, you'll start out on the 1.8 mile hike to the "white ice" of the Root. Once on the ice you will explore other-worldly formations unlike anything else you have ever seen: blue pools, crevasses and moulin holes drilled hundreds of feet deep into the ice by the flowing meltwater. Included: Half Day Root Glacier Hike

Kennicott, Flight to Chitina – Matanuska Glacier ( Driving Distance: 140 miles | Overnight: Sheep Mtn Lodge (or similar) )

This morning you may join the guided tour of the Kennecott mill. Explore the Kennecott Mine with it's white-trimmed red buildings that stand out against the dramatic mountain-and-glacier backdrop at the actual mine site. In recent years, the National Park Service has restored many of the mine buildings and a guided tour of the huge mill building, bunkhouses and train depot is available. From 1908 until its closure in 1938, $200 million in ore was extracted from Kennecott, making it the richest concentration of copper ore known in the world. The entire area is for sure a photographer’s dream. Mid afternoon scenic flight back to Chitina and drive on the scenic Glenn Highway towards Palmer. Overnight at a lodge with scenic views of the Matanuska Glacier.

Matanuska Glacier – Anchorage | End of Self Drive Tour ( Driving Distance: 110 miles )

The Matanuska Glacier is one of Alaska's most accessible glaciers, a 27-mile long river of ice poking out of the Chugach Mountains that is visible for miles along the highway. A self-guided hike leads to the gravel-laced ice. Travel towards the Matanuska Valley - a fertile farmland that was settled by families as part of a New Deal relief program in 1935. Because of the fertile farmland and the immense amount of summer sunlight, vegetables grow to incredible sizes. The Alaska record cabbage is 106 pounds! This is just one of the attractions at the State Fair held in Palmer. Arrive in Anchorage during the day and drop off your rental car at the airport. Optional tour extensions are available on request.