On a clear day, passengers can see the country's tallest mountain within 30 minutes of leaving Anchorage aboard the McKinley Explorer. There are many more viewpoints of big Alaska mountains on this quick three-hour train ride. Along the way, the route passes through the picturesque Matanuska Susitna Valley, a wildlife refuge popular among moose, and dense boreal forests. Passengers arrive in the eclectic town of Talkeetna just after noon.
Many more viewpoints of big Alaska mountains.
McKinley Explorer train cars features two levels. All passenger seating is on the second level. All seats have footrests, fold-down tray tables, and sweeping views out curved dome windows.
The lower level houses an outdoor viewing platform and dining area. Breakfast is served on this morning route. The menu includes local favorites like the Reindeer Sausage Breakfast Burrito and Alaska King Crab Benedict. Passengers can expect to pay $9 to $17 per dish.
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 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 Talkeetna, guests are met at the depot by local hotel shuttles.
Anchorage Train Depot 411 West 1st Avenue Anchorage, AK 99501