On a clear day, Denali appears on the horizon within 30 minutes of leaving Anchorage aboard the northbound McKinley Explorer. It's just the first of several unobstructed viewpoints along this seven-hour train ride north. The route is also marked by passage through towns like Willow and Talkeetna, over rivers like the Knik and Susitna, and past natural wonders like Hurricane Gulch and Broad Pass. The train pulls into the Denali Depot at about 4:40 in the afternoon.
Wide-open views of the passing landscape from every seat.
McKinley Explorer train cars have two levels, with all passenger seating on the upper. Those seats are equipped with footrests and fold-down tray tables. It is the visibility that makes these seats so special. Large curved dome windows run the entire length of the car, providing beautiful views of the passing landscape from every seat.
On the car's lower level, guests have access to a private outdoor viewing platform and dining area. Breakfast and lunch are served on this route. The breakfast menu includes local favorites like the Reindeer Sausage Breakfast Burrito and Alaska King Crab Benedict. The lunch menu includes a selection of sandwiches, soups, and fresh salads along with several desserts. Passengers can expect to pay $9 to $17 for breakfast and $12 to $16 for lunch. An upper-level snack bar selling light snacks and signature drinks opens at 1:00 PM.
McKinley Explorer cars are operated by Holland America Line and Princess Cruises. Many passengers on these railcars are part of cruise line group tours, but reservations are offered to independent Alaska travelers as well. The route's 9:15 AM departure from Anchorage is a convenient option for travelers who'd like a little extra time in the morning.
What to Bring
Bring a camera, medications, and government issued photo ID. Bring a credit card for additional onboard purchases (cash not accepted). It is a good idea to dress in layers as it is often chilly on the outside viewing platform.
Check in at the depot with a valid government issued photo ID one hour prior to departure. Boarding passes with seat assignments will be issued then. The McKinley Explorer offers checked baggage service. Passengers are allowed two checked bags plus one carry on, with dimension and weight restrictions like those of airlines. The railroad charges $20 per item for oversized or excess baggage.
Passengers can transfer to the Anchorage Depot by taxi, rideshare, or hotel shuttle (where available). Upon arrival into Denali Park, guests are met at the depot by local hotel and lodge shuttles.
Anchorage Train Depot 411 West 1st Avenue Anchorage, AK 99501
Denali Train Depot Mile 1.5 Denali National Park Road Denali Park, AK 99755
Rates & Dates
Here are the rates and operating dates for this product. Remember, we have a lowest price guarantee for nearly everything we sell.
There is no child rate for this service. Infants under the age of 2 may travel for free but must sit on an adult's lap.
Rates & Dates
5/15/23 (M) to 9/15/23 (F)5/15/23 (M) to 9/15/23 (F)
The rates above are subject to change without notice.
Departure times and locations are listed below. Click on a link for an interactive map.