As visitors make their way north from Anchorage, this 122-mile route is an ideal introduction to the vast landscape and remote beauty waiting in Denali National Park. It is especially enjoyable when traveled via the Wilderness Express. The rail service treats passengers to upper-deck seating under dome windows and trip narration by an onboard host. Route highlights include homesteaders' flag stops, the photogenic Kodak Corner, old mining communities, and the Continental Divide at Broad Pass.
Especially enjoyable when traveled via the Wilderness Express.
Wilderness Express train cars have two levels, with all passenger seating located on the upper level underneath large dome windows. Each reclining leather seat has its own power outlet and fold-down tray table. A car attendant provides bar service direct to passenger seats.
On the lower level, passengers find an outdoor viewing platform and private dining area. The Wilderness Express offers freshly prepared lunch on the ride to Denali. The lunch menu features sandwiches, wraps, and salads along with Alaskan Salmon Chowder and Reindeer Chili. Gluten free and vegetarian options are readily available. Passengers can expect to pay $12 to $16 for lunch. Wine, cocktails, and craft beer are available in the dining car or from the full bar in the second-level seating area.
Wilderness Express railcars are locally owned and operated by a leading Alaska-based tour company. The railcars are used by cruise lines and escorted tours, but they also welcome independent travelers. The Wilderness Express offers adult and child rates, making this a more affordable premier rail option for families traveling with kids age 2 to 11.
What to Bring
Bring a camera, medications, and government issued photo ID. Bring a credit card for additional on-board 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 Wilderness Express 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 Denali Park, guests are met at the depot by local hotel and lodge shuttles.