Glaciery Discover train pulling into Whittier, Alaska.

Alaska Railroad Glacier Discovery Train

Ride the railroad to Whittier and beyond.

Glacier Discovery train heading towards Whittier.

Alaska Railroad Glacier Discovery Train

Ride the railroad to Whittier and beyond.

Train travelling through Portage Pass.

Alaska Railroad Glacier Discovery Train

Ride the railroad to Whittier and beyond.

Rafting among icebergs on Spencer Lake.

Alaska Railroad Glacier Discovery Train

Ride the railroad to Whittier and beyond.

Alaska Railroad Glacier Discovery Train

Compared to the Coastal Classic and Denali Star, the Alaska Railroad's Glacier Discovery route is a bit more complex. This part is simple, though: It's a beautifully scenic route with glaciers galore.

The Alaska Railroad runs one Glacier Discovery train daily during the summer. It travels out and back from Anchorage to Grandview with stops in Girdwood, Portage, Whittier, and the Spencer Glacier Whistle Stop. Most passengers ride just from Anchorage to Whittier, leaving at 9:45 AM and arriving at 12:05 PM. Because of this, the Glacier Discovery works well as a cruise transfer for passengers embarking on a cruise from Whittier to Vancouver. You can also make it a day trip by riding Anchorage to Whittier roundtrip. The return train departs Whittier at 6:45 PM, leaving plenty of time for a day cruise into Prince William Sound. For those adventurous travelers going beyond Whittier, add-on iceberg kayaking, guided hikes, and raft trips start out from the Spencer Glacier Whistle Stop.

The first glaciers on the Glacier Discovery route come into view above Girdwood, the train's first stop after departing the historic Anchorage Depot. From here, the train continues to Portage, then takes the spur track into Portage Valley where several hanging glaciers cling high up on the steep mountainsides. The train passes through a 2.5 mile tunnel to emerge on the other side of the mountains in Whittier and, after a 40-minute stop, retraces the scenic spur back to Portage. The two most prominent glaciers on the railway are soon reached, first Spencer Glacier and then Bartlett Glacier. Grandview marks the Glacier Discovery train's turnaround point. The complete circuit takes just under 12 hours, with the segment between Anchorage and Whittier running 2.5 hours.

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The Alaska Railroad offers only the Adventure Class service on the Glacier Discovery train. All passengers enjoy reserved seating in spacious cars with picture windows and a bistro car selling snacks and drinks. To learn more about onboard amenities, please visit our Adventure Class page.

You can use our Train & Bus Express Checkout to see availability and rates for one-way Glacier Discovery trips from Anchorage to Whittier and Whittier to Anchorage. Visit our Anchorage to Whittier roundtrip page to book the full day trip. If you'd like to travel beyond Whittier to Spencer Glacier or Grandview, please contact us for details.

Interested in seeing more of Alaska by rail? Check out the Denali Star and Coastal Classic routes.

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Alaska Railroad Glacier Discovery Train