RSAN04 Alaska Pioneer - Rail & Driving Tour from Anchorage

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This top-rated one way railroad and driving combo tour from Anchorage to Skagway takes you further than most itineraries and includes the cultural and scenic attractions of Alaska and the Yukon Territory. This vacation is ideal to be combined with an Inside Passage cruise by the Alaska Ferry or cruise ship. Board in Anchorage the last full-service railroad in North America and choose between the “Adventure Class” seating in the one-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. Spend two days at Denali National Park which is the natural habitat for many types of wildlife including caribou, moose, wolves, Dall sheep, bald eagles, and the mighty grizzly bears. The next train route leads to Fairbanks, the largest city in the Interior region of Alaska, which enjoys 24 hours of daylight during summer. Pick up your rental car and admire the vast untamed wilderness and majestic mountain scenery as you travel on the Top of the World Highway to the gold-rush town Dawson City. Explore Whitehorse, the capital of northwest Canada’s Yukon Territory, including the basalt cliffs of Miles Canyon, site of a former gold rush town. Your holiday comes to an end in Skagway. With a population of just over 1100, Skagway is located at the northernmost point of the Inside Passage in Southeast Alaska. The streets are lined with wooden boardwalks and restored buildings, looking much as they did 100 years ago. Take a ride on the wild-side with the historic White Pass & Yukon Railroad steam train along the famous Chilkoot & White Pass trail. 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

Anchorage ( Overnight: Anchorage )

Arrive in Anchorage during the day. Transfer to your hotel in downtown Anchorage. Nestled along the Chugach Mountains, the coastal city of Anchorage is not the frozen tundra of Alaska you might imagine. You will find it’s brimming with activities for the outdoorsy and adventurous. Being the largest city in Alaska, it is rich in indigenous culture; spend your day enjoying the Alaska Native Heritage Center, visiting the Anchorage Museum, or browsing through the Saturday Market. Visit the Lake Hood Floatplane base, go for a walk along the Coastal Train and try out one of Anchorage popular seafood restaurants. With so much of variety of things, for a first time visitor to Alaska or a seasoned traveller, Anchorage has more to offer and is the perfect starting point for your journey into Alaska.

Anchorage – Denali National Park | Rail Tour ( Driving Distance: 240 miles | 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.

Fairbanks | Start Self Drive Tour ( Overnight: Fairbanks )

Pick up your rental this morning. You are invited to explore Fairbanks gold rush history, its vibrant traditional native cultures as well as abundant wildlife and fantastic scenery. This morning you may visit the renown Alaska University Museum featuring Alaska's natural history best collection, Alaskaland or join the authentic sternwheeler "Riverboat Discovery" on a scenic 20-mile roundtrip cruise down the Chena and Tanana Rivers. A guided van tour along the Dalton Highway or a flightseeing tour to the Arctic Circle is a super popular choice for experiencing the Arctic Circle and Yukon River. Enjoy a bush mail plane flight or a flightseeing trip to Fort Yukon to understand as well as experience how the Gwich'in Athabascan Natives live in "Bush" Alaska.

Fairbanks - Dawson City ( Driving Distance: 390 miles | Overnight: Dawson City )

Take the Richardson Highway south 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. Travel past Tok and continue your journey on the Top of the World Highway with endless views into spectacular alpine valleys. If you travel after the first hard frost - usually in mid August, the hills turn colors so brilliant that it seems almost unreal. Stopover in the quirky town of "Chicken" for lunch and photos. You'll cross the mighty Yukon River and arrive in Dawson City. The legendary capital of the 1898 Gold rush is a living relic. After 100 years, miners are still digging for gold. Please Note: We can add an overnight in Tok if you wish to drive the distance in two days.

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 during the day. You may extend your tour by taking the Alaska Ferry to Juneau or along the Inside Passage to Bellingham/Seattle.