Departing Talkeetna in the early afternoon, this McKinley Explorer leg south to Anchorage treats passengers to a scenic, amenity-rich rail experience. The track cuts a path through dense boreal forest, across salmon streams and braided glacial rivers, and along the Chugach Mountain Range. The leg is a quick one, ending at the historic Anchorage Depot in just under three hours.
A scenic, amenity-rich rail experience.
All passenger seating is located on the second level of this private rail service. Seats are comfortably equipped with footrests and fold-down tray tables. Large dome windows run the entire length of the car, giving passengers clear views of the passing landscape.
On the car's lower level, there is an outdoor viewing platform and dining area. On this route, onboard chefs dish up a selection of sandwiches, soups, and fresh salads, as well as an irresistible list of desserts. Passengers can expect to pay $12 to $16 for lunch. An upper-level bar also offers light snacks and signature drinks for purchase.
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 5:10 PM arrival into Anchorage is a convenient option for travelers connecting to outbound evening flights, or who'd simply enjoy getting into town earlier.
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.
Many Talkeetna area hotels and tour operators provide transportation to the Talkeetna Depot. Upon arrival into Anchorage, passengers can transfer to their next destination by taxi, rideshare, or hotel shuttle (where available).
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