Aerial view of Wilderness Express dome car.

Best Alaska Train for Me

No matter how you ride the train in Alaska, you’re in for a treat.

Guests enjoying view from the McKinley Explorer Dome.

Best Alaska Train for Me

No matter how you ride the train in Alaska, you’re in for a treat.

Alaska Railroad train goes through a tunnel on its way to Seward.

Best Alaska Train for Me

No matter how you ride the train in Alaska, you’re in for a treat.

What is the best train option for me?

There are four options for train travel in Alaska: Alaska Railroad Adventure Class, Alaska Railroad GoldStar Dome, Wilderness Express, and McKinley Explorer. Both Adventure Class and GoldStar Dome services are run by the Alaska Railroad. The Wilderness Express and McKinley Explorer are privately owned and operated.

The most economical train service is Adventure Class. The seats in the Adventure Class are on single-level train cars with large picture windows. Grab-and-go food and beverages are available for purchase in the bistro car. Adventure Class passengers have the freedom to walk between the other Adventure Class cars and have access to a shared dome car on a rotating basis.

The GoldStar Dome is the most inclusive train option and is the best choice for passengers wanting premium service. The Gold Star Dome is an upper-level car with a glass dome roof and an outdoor viewing deck. Meals, two alcoholic beverages, and unlimited non-alcoholic beverages are included in the ticket price. The dining service is restaurant style, with meals prepared on board and served in the dining area on the car's first level. The glass dome roof allows for panoramic views from the passenger seating area and the car's outdoor deck provides excellent opportunities for photographs. The seats in the GoldStar service face forward.

For guests looking for the dome experience at a lower cost, the Wilderness Express has the best value for the dome services provided. Wilderness Express cars have upper-level seating under a glass dome roof and a private lower level dining car that also serves restaurant style meals. Food and beverage services are not included in the ticket price. All seats in the Wilderness Express cars face forward and recline. Each seat is equipped with a fold-down tray table and power outlet. Wilderness Express cars are usually at the end of the train, so the outdoor space extends off the caboose, allowing for unique photo opportunities. The Wilderness Express only offers service between Anchorage, Talkeetna, Denali Park, and Fairbanks. It has the same schedule as the Alaska Railroad.

The primary benefit to the McKinley Explorer is that it runs on a separate schedule from the Alaska Railroad. It offers the option to depart Anchorage slightly later in the day for the journey up to Denali Park, and leave earlier from the park for the trip back to Anchorage, providing an earlier return. Like the Wilderness Express, the McKinley Explorer is an upper-level car with a glass dome roof. Meals are available for purchase in the lower level dining car. The McKinley Explorer only provides service between Anchorage, Talkeetna, and Denali Park.

Best Alaska Train for Me