RSFA04 Alaska by Land and Sea | Rail & Drive Tour from Fairbanks

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Fairbanks, Alaska, is a pretty special place. Not only is it one of the state’s largest cities and just down the road from Denali National Park and Preserve, it’s a bouncing-off point for trips into Alaska’s remote villages, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and Gates of the Arctic National Park.

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Fairbanks ( Overnight: Fairbanks )

Welcome to Fairbanks, the "Golden Heart City" - tucked into miles of unexplored wilderness only 120 miles from the Arctic Circle and enjoying almost 24 hours of daylight during summer. You are invited to explore the local gold rush history, its vibrant traditional native cultures as well as fantastic scenery. You may visit the renown Alaska University Museum featuring Alaska's natural history best collection or take an authentic sternwheeler on a scenic cruise down the Chena and Tanana Rivers. Guided van tour along the Dalton Highway or flightseeing tour to the Arctic Circle is super popular choice for experiencing the Arctic Circle and Yukon River. Enjoy a flightseeing trip to Fort Yukon to understand as well as experience how the Gwich'in Athabascan Natives live in "Bush" Alaska.

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

Enjoy the scenic ride onboard the Alaska Railroad 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. The train passes through the small community of Nenana, known for the Nenana Ice Classic Lottery. Just north of the Denali park, the train winds along Healy Canyon, following the curves of the Nenana River below. Arrive at Denali Village at noon. 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 – Anchorage | Rail Tour ( Overnight: Anchorage )

Board the Alaska Railroad and relax in your comfortable reclining seats, have a delicious lunch onboard or listen to the commentaries from an onboard interpreter. Just south of Denali you'll enter Broad Pass, offering majestic views of the Alaska Range in all directions. Your rail tour continues via Wasilla and crosses the Knik River with the Chugach Mountains as a backdrop before arriving in Anchorage, Alaska's largest city. Nestled along the Chugach Mountains, the coastal city is brimming with activities for the outdoorsy and adventurous, as well as the more relaxed. Visit the Log Cabin Visitor Center and its Crossroad, Ship Creek Viewpoint overlooking Cook Inlet and the Resolution Park with its Captain Cook Monument. Try out one of the popular seafood restaurants this evening.

Anchorage – Seward | Start Self Drive Tour ( Driving Distance: 130 miles | Overnight: Seward )

Arrive in Anchorage during the day and pick up your rental car. The drive on the scenic Seward Highway offers incomparable vistas of fjords, glaciers and mountains as you follow the Cook Inlet and Turnagain Arm. Arrive in Seward, a small fishing town at the gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park. Kenai Fjords is named for the numerous fjords carved by glaciers moving down the mountains from the ice field. The field is the source of at least 38 glaciers, the largest of which is Bear Glacier. This afternoon you have time to visit Exit Glacier. Short trails lead to the edge of the glacier where you can get a good photo in front of glacier ice. 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.

Seward ( Overnight: Seward )

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. Kittiwakes, puffins and other seabirds nest along cliff faces just above the swells. Sea otters float belly-up eating mussels while Harbor seals haul out on icebergs off Aialik and Northwestern 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.Included: Kenai Fjords Glacier & Wildlife Cruise

Seward – Alaska Ferry Whittier to Valdez ( Driving Distance: 90 miles | Overnight: Valdez )

Depart Seward and drive to Whittier via Portage Glacier. Enjoy the scenic cruise to Valdez onboard the Alaska Marine Highway Ferry. Prince William Sound encompasses 3,800 miles of coastline, bounded to the east and north by the Chugach Mountains and to the west by the Kenai Peninsula. Commercially important for the fishing and oil industries, the sound is also prized for its abundance of marine and coastal life, its rain forest of Sitka spruce and western hemlock, and its glacier-studded landscape. The sound contains 150 glaciers including 17 tidewater glaciers, known for dramatically calving huge ice chunks into the sea. The main attraction of Prince William Sound is Columbia Glacier, one of the largest and most magnificent of the tidewater glaciers along the Alaska coast.

Valdez - Tok ( Driving Distance: 250 miles | Overnight: Tok )

Valdez - also known as “the Switzerland of Alaska” - is the gateway for salmon fishing trips and narrated cruises to magnificent Columbia Glacier. Leave Valdez and drive through Keystone Canyon, taking pictures at the "Bridal Veil Falls". Stopover at Worthington Glacier and take a short walk along the interpretive boardwalk to the face of the glacier. Your journey continues on the Glen Highway, offering an impressive view of the Wrangell Mountains - Mt. Deborah, Mt. Sanford and Mt. Drum. Arrive in Tok, often referred to as the "Dog Mushing Capital of Alaska". Tok was born as a construction station on the highway. With its location at the intersection of the Alaska - and Glenn Highway, the town has built an economy of gas stations, gift stores, cafes, and hotels to serve highway travelers.

Tok – Dawson City ( Driving Distance: 190 miles | Overnight: Dawson City )

The Yukoners call it the 60 mile. To Alaskans it is the Taylor Highway, but to everyone who has driven this beautiful road, it is known as the "Top of the World Highway". The name fits as much of its route meanders along the tops of mountains and ridges with endless views of alpine valleys. During the summer months the sun sets forever and you'll have hours of light to set-up that special sunset photograph. Arrive in Dawson City: It all began with Robert Henderson, who, in 1894, found gold in Rabbit Creek (later renamed Bonanza) not far from where the Klondike River empties into the Yukon. By 1904, an estimated $100 million in gold had been shipped from the Klondike. At its height, Dawson City had a population of 35,000, but the "stampede" of `98 died out almost as quickly as it began.

Dawson City ( Overnight: Dawson City )

A full day to explore the goldrush town Dawson City and the gold fields: Visit the historical buildings, Jack London and Robert Service cabins and old stores that were the pulse of the gold rush capital in its hey-days. As you walk through the heart of Dawson City, your imagination will run to the likes of Klondike Kate, Arizona Charlie Meadows and Diamond Tooth Gertie strolling down Dawson's boardwalks. Their spirit is as alive today as it was in 1898. From the one-time capital of the Yukon you'll follow history up Bonanza Creek (pan for gold) to Discovery Claim and Grand Forks once boasted a population of 10,000 where the Eldorado Creek and Upper Bonanza come together. Take a guided tour of the Gold Dredge #4 and visit the Diamond Tooth Gertie's Gambling Hall for evening entertainment.

Dawson City - Whitehorse ( Driving Distance: 330 miles | Overnight: Whitehorse )

The Klondike Highway often parallels the Yukon River as it winds its way to Whitehorse. Water in the Yukon River travels more than 3,000 km from headwaters near the Chilkoot Pass to the mouth at the Bering Sea. Stop at the Five Finger Rapids and hike down to the shore of the Yukon River. Continue to Carmacks, home of the Little Salmon/ Carmacks First Nation at the junction of the Yukon and Nordenskiold rivers. The Tagé Cho Hudän Cultural Centre has many exhibits depicting the lifestyle of the Northern Tutchone-speaking people of this region. Stop at Montague Roadhouse, a monument to the trials of travelling in an open stage during the cold Yukon winters. There were roadhouses every 20 miles to rest the horse and refresh the passengers. Arrive in Whitehorse, Yukon's capital city.

Whitehorse - Skagway ( Driving Distance: 110 miles | Overnight: Skagway )

Time to explore the sights of Whitehorse: The McBride Museum, SS Klondike and the Yukon Beringia Center. During the last ice age, a land bridge joined Asia to Alaska and the Yukon, forming a subcontinent known as Beringia. Bordered on all sides by glaciers, Beringia was once home to woolly mammoths and other fascinating Pleistocene-era animals. This museum presents the archaeological and paleontological past of Beringia, with life-size exhibits of ice-age animals, multimedia displays and dioramas on its prehistoric ecosystems. The South Klondike Highway winds through the subalpine landscape of Tormented Valley to Tutshi Lake, Tagish Lake and the much photographed Emerald Lake. It offers some spectacular scenery as it descents by 11 percent grade from the White Pass to Skagway.

Skagway | End of Self Drive Tour

Today you have the chance to board the historic narrow-gauge White Pass and Yukon Railway and ride along the White Pass Trail to the White Pass Summit. The entire distance between the gold-rush community of Skagway to the summit was completed in only two years in 1900's. The steamer pulls the train a couple of miles, then diesels take the cars - some of them originals more than 100 years old - up steep tracks that were chipped out of the side of the mountains. In the afternoon walk around the historic townsite and check out the old buildings. You may even visit the grave of "Soapy Smith" and walk part of the famous Chilkoot Trail. Drop off your rental car in Skagway. You have the option to take the Alaska Marine Highway Ferry System to Juneau, Bellingham or Seattle.