Road Scholar : Home
Discover Alaska by Rail: A Traveling Adventure

Program Number: 1014RJ
Start and End Dates:
6/4/2015 - 6/15/2015; 6/7/2015 - 6/18/2015; 7/2/2015 - 7/13/2015; 7/5/2015 - 7/16/2015;
Duration: 11 nights
Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
Price starting at: $4,345.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Train Treks; On the Road; National Parks Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 32; 11 Breakfasts, 10 Lunches, 11 Dinners    
Meal Options: Low Fat; Low Salt; Vegetarian; Gluten Free    

All Aboard! Journey the entire 470-mile length of the historic Alaska Railroad, from the "Golden Heart City" of Fairbanks to Seward on the shore of Resurrection Bay. Ride to Denali National Park, home of 20,320-foot Mount McKinley, and study the wildlife and natural history of this International Biosphere Reserve through field trips and educational programs. In Anchorage, experience the living cultures of Alaska's Native groups at the Anchorage Museum and the Alaska Native Heritage Center. At the final stop, the harbor town of Seward, take in the grandeur of Kenai Fjords National Park and the Alaska SeaLife Center.




Highlights

• Explore Kenai Fjords National Park on a small boat to spot glaciers, marine mammals, birds and the unparalleled beauty of this rugged coastline.
• Meet Mary Shields, the first woman to finish the Iditarod Sled Dog Race. Learn about her 40+ years of mushing and meet her dogs at her home near Fairbanks.
• View stunning scenery and wildlife on a day-long journey into the heart of Denali National Park.



Activity Particulars

Optional walks up to three miles over trails with elevation gain of up to 250 feet. Elevations of 3,900 feet.




Date Specific Information

6-7-2015, 7-5-2015

Small-group departure (max 24).



Itinerary Summary

Arrival Fairbanks, 3 nights; train to Denali, 3 nights; train to Anchorage, 2 nights; train to Seward, 3 nights; departure.



Coordinated by Denali Education Center




Fairbanks

The indigenous Athabaskan tribe had fished in the local area for centuries before it was settled in 1903 as a trading post for riverboats and gold prospectors. Fairbanks today is an important player in interior Alaska’s oil fields and pipelines.



Denali National Park

Established in 1917, this 6 million-acre wilderness is home to 20,320 foot Mount McKinley, and wildlife such as moose, caribou, Dall sheep and grizzly bear, and is considered one of the most intact sub-arctic ecosystems in the world.



Anchorage

Situated between boreal forest, tundra, temperate rainforest and a marine environment, Anchorage was established when the Alaska Railroad was constructed to connect the interior with the coast. The area is home to almost half the state’s population. 



Seward

Situated at the head of Resurrection Bay on the Kenai Peninsula, Seward is one of Alaska’s oldest and most picturesque communities. Founded in 1903, it is named for William H. Seward, the Secretary of State who negotiated the purchase of Alaska (originally derided as “Seward’s Folly”). Seward serves as a gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park.



Moose Pass

 Moose Pass is a beautiful Alaska town nestled on the shores of Trail Lake in the heart of the Kenai Peninsula, 100 miles south of Anchorage. Surrounded by towering mountains, Moose Pass offers easy access to the trails of the Chugach National Forest and its pristine mountain lakes and breathtaking alpine vistas.



Accommodations
Fairbanks: Hotel. Denali: Rustic cabins with private bath: Anchorage: Hotel. Seward: Hotel.
Meals and Lodgings
   Westmark Fairbanks
  Fairbanks 3 nights
   Denali Education Center
  Denali National Park 3 nights
   Inlet Tower Hotel and Suites
  Anchorage 2 nights
   Breeze Inn
  Seward 3 nights
 Westmark Fairbanks
Type: Hotel
  Description: Centrally located downtown Fairbanks; Restaurants and shopping within walking distance; Restaurant on site
  Contact info: 813 Noble Street
Fairbanks, AK 99701 USA
phone: 907-456-7722
web: www.westmarkhotels.com/fairbanks.php
  Room amenities: Free Newspapers, In-room coffee, Iron and Ironing Boards, Hairdryers, Data Ports, HBO/CNN/ESPN
  Facility amenities: Elevators, Interior Corridors, Guest Laundry, Exercise Room, Private Balconies in every guest room, smoking allowed only on balconies.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Ask for the Road Scholar rate. Contact the hotel directly, let them know you are with the Denali Education Center Road Scholar group. Additional room nights will be reserved for and paid for by participants independently.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM

 Denali Education Center
Type: Cabin
  Description: The Denali Education Center campus was built in 1990 along the eastern boundary of Denali National Park, on the banks of the Nenana River. This quiet wooded campus, consisting of 12 cabins and Riverside Hall (the dining and classroom facility), was the first in the U.S. built exclusively for Road Scholar programs. All facilities are on the ground floor with four steps leading into each cabin. The longest walk from your cabin to Riverside Hall is about 200 yards on a gravel walkway, and the shortest is about 15 yards.
  Contact info: Milepost 231 George Parks Highway
Denali Park, AK  99755 USA
phone: 907-683-2597
web: www.denali.org
  Room amenities: Our location is idyllic, rooms and services are simple. Each newly-renovated cabin at the Denali Education Center has two rooms with private bath. There is no housekeeping during the week, though fresh towels are available mid-week. Rooms do not have clocks, radios, TV’s, microwaves, or hair dryers. All rooms are non-smoking. We do not supply shampoo or conditioner, but do provide soap. There are no phones in the rooms, though cell phone reception is good. Emergency calls may be received in the office, as needed. An answering machine will receive calls after hours or when staff is in the field.
  Facility amenities: Laundry facilities are available for $2 per wash and $2 per dry (coins not required); laundry detergent included. Internet access is available.
  Smoking allowed: No

 Inlet Tower Hotel and Suites
Type: Hotel
  Description: Just south of downtown Anchorage near: The Alaska Center for the Performing Arts The Egan Convention Center The Anchorage Museum The Dena'ina Convention and Civic Center Tony Knowles Coastal Trail
  Contact info: 1200 L Street Anchorage
Anchorage, AK 99501 USA
phone: 907-276-0110
web: www.inlettower.com/
  Room amenities: Complimentary high-speed Internet access Free local calls Speaker phone with voice mail 25-inch color television with premium channels HBO Refrigerator, microwave & wet bar Coffeemaker with Alaskan gourmet coffee Hairdryer Iron/Ironing board Rollaway beds and cribs (upon request) Safe deposit box available at front desk Air conditioning
  Facility amenities: Free High-Speed Wireless Internet, all guest rooms & public space Free 24-Hour Shuttle Service, to airport, railroad station and downtown Fitness center, open from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Mixx Grill Food & Spirits
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Breeze Inn
Type: Hotel
  Description: A relaxing getaway in Seward, Alaska, the Breeze Inn offers a fulfilling lodging experience in a breathtaking setting. Where nesting eagles and patrolling sea lions are your neighbors, the Breeze Inn is also in the heart of Seward's busy small boat harbor on Resurrection Bay, within walking distance of most of the activities of our beautiful coastal town. The Alaska SeaLife Center is 2.1 km from the motel. The Seward Waterfront Park is a 3-minute drive away.
  Contact info: 303 North Harbor
Seward, AK 99664 USA
phone: 907-224-5237
web: http://www.breezeinn.com/guestrooms.php
  Room amenities: ‘Classic' Breeze Inn rooms offer exterior entrances and the greatest value for accommodations. Featuring recently upgraded furnishings, and flat panel TVs, these rooms allow easy access to your vehicle and offer an economical alternative to other accommodations. Room also includes refrigerators and coffee makers. WiFi Available in All Areas.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Check out time: 11:00 AM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Independent arrival and check-in between noon and 5 pm. You will be staying at Westmark Fairbanks that night.
  End of Program:
Program ends after breakfast. 10 am check-out time. You will be staying at Breeze Inn the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. Participants must sign and return both the Participant Information & Supplemental forms.
  Parking availability:
Free parking is available at all locations.
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Fairbanks
  Nearest city or town:  Fairbanks
  Nearest highway: Airport Way
  Nearest airport:  Fairbanks International Airport
  From End of Program
  Location:  Seward
  Nearest city or town:  Seward
  Nearest highway: Seward Highway
  Nearest airport:  Anchorage International Airport
Travel Details
 

Seward

 

To Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
Charter

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

included
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

3 hours 

   

Departs Seward at 9:00 am. Scheduled to arrive at Anchorage airport at 11:30 am. PLEASE allow time for road delays which are common on Alaskan highways. Book a flight departing after 1:30pm.

 

Fairbanks

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Taxi

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$25
Prices are subject to change.

 

Distance:

 

5 miles

   

Take a cab or shuttle from the airport to the Westmark Hotel Fairbanks, 813 Noble Street, Fairbanks.

 
Driving Directions
  Fairbanks International Airport The Westmark Hotel is located 5 miles from Fairbanks International Airport. A cab to the hotel costs approximately $20. Participant rooms will not be available for occupancy until after 3pm. Dinner will begin at 6pm and will be followed by orientation at 7pm. Please let us know if you will be arriving at the hotel after 6pm.
Elevation Note: Participants will travel to 3900 feet during the field trip into Denali National Park.

Equipment Requirements: Waterproof footwear with ankle support and proper rain gear are both highly recommended.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Independent arrivals 3-5pm.
(Thursday, July 2)
   
 Arrive To: Independent arrival to Fairbanks.
 Dinner: Dinner at the Westmark Hotel
 Evening: Introductions
 Evening: Orientation
   
Accommodations: Westmark Fairbanks
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Riverboat Discovery
(Friday, July 3)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast
 Morning: Morning class at the University followed by a field trip out on the town.
 Lunch: Lunch
 Afternoon: Afternoon field trip aboard the Riverboat Discovery. This three hour cruise will take you into the heart of Alaska and the heart of a family who has made the rivers of Alaska a way of life for four generations. You will see a bush float plane taking off alongside a "bush" style runway, visit the home and kennels of the late four-time Iditarod winner Susan Butcher, and gain insight into the ancient Athabascan Indian culture. Alaskan Native guides who have worked and lived in Alaska will take you on a personalized tour of the Chena Indian Village.
 Dinner: Dinner
 Evening: Experience the Fairbanks summer art scene at one of the season's diverse cultural events.
   
Accommodations: Westmark Fairbanks
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Museum of the North
(Saturday, July 4)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast
 Morning: Discover the pioneer history of Fairbanks, Alaska's WWII history, and the spectacle of the northern lights at the newly renovated University of Alaska Museum of the North.
 Lunch: Lunch
 Afternoon: Learn why Fairbanks is known as the "Golden Heart of the North." Mingle with the locals on an afternoon field trip to catch the best of seasonal celebrations in this famously friendly little city.
 Dinner: Dinner
 Evening: Evening program TBA.
   
Accommodations: Westmark Fairbanks
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Train to Denali
(Sunday, July 5)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast
 Morning: Board the Alaska Railroad for a journey through the wide open spaces of Interior Alaska towards the heart of the Alaska Range and Denali National Park.
 Lunch: Lunch
 Afternoon: Orientation to Denali Education Center campus.
 Dinner: Riverside Hall
 Evening: Learn about the sometimes surprising, always extreme, conditions that shape life in Denali and define a subarctic ecosystem in “Welcome to the Subarctic.”
   
Accommodations: Denali Education Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Journey to the Heart of the Park
(Monday, July 6)
   
 Breakfast: Riverside Hall
 Morning: Enjoy stunning scenery and wildlife watching opportunities on a day-long journey into Denali National Park by shuttle bus to Eielson Visitor Center.
 Lunch: In the field
 Afternoon: Want to hike independently in this pristine wilderness? We invite you to leave the bus behind and travel cross-country... at any time throughout the day.
 Dinner: Riverside Hall
 Evening: Free time.
   
Accommodations: Denali Education Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Wildlife of Denali
(Tuesday, July 7)
   
 Breakfast: Riverside Hall
 Morning: Discover the extraordinary animals that call Denali home and learn about their marvelous adaptations to life at high latitudes in “Wildlife of Denali.”
 Lunch: Riverside Hall
 Afternoon: Explore the rich habitat of Horseshoe Lake. Join an expert naturalist for a 1.5 mile round-trip walk with 250 feet elevation change. Or, take off on your own for free time or optional activities including rafting, flightseeing, flyfishing, or visiting sled dog kennels.
 Dinner: Riverside Hall
 Evening: Guest speaker TBA. Schedule for expert local evening presenters in Denali will be announced on first day of program.
   
Accommodations: Denali Education Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Ride the rails to Anchorage
(Wednesday, July 8)
   
 Breakfast: Riverside Hall
 Morning: Learn about the pioneer community of McKinley Station, the beginnings of what is now the gateway to Denali National Park. This is an optional walk that travels 1.6 miles with 100 feet of elevation gain.
 Lunch: Bag lunch for the train.
 Afternoon: Enjoy a scenic journey on the Alaska Railroad through Broad Pass, over the Alaska Range to Anchorage. Hope for a glimpses of Mt. McKinley and wildlife as you pass through Denali State Park.
 Dinner: Dine onboard the Alaska Railroad.
 Evening: Check-in to the Inlet Towers
   
Accommodations: Inlet Tower Hotel and Suites
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Alaska Native Heritage Center and The Anchorage Museum
(Thursday, July 9)
   
 Breakfast: Continental buffet at Inlet Towers
 Morning: The Alaska Native Heritage Center is a gathering place that celebrates, perpetuates and shares Alaska Native culture, language, heritage and tradition. Explore the exhibits and take in one-of-a-kind demonstrations by Alaska Native artists, dancers, musicians, and story tellers of all ages.
 Lunch: Lunch at the Alaska Native Heritage Center.
 Afternoon: Join a docent for a tour of the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center. After learning some Alaskan history, continue on to explore the awe inspiring collection of Alaskan art.
 Dinner: In downtown Anchorage
   
Accommodations: Inlet Tower Hotel and Suites
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Behind-the-Scenes tour at Alaska SeaLife Center
(Friday, July 10)
   
 Breakfast: Continental breakfast at the Inlet Towers
 Morning: Early morning departure to travel the final stretch of the Alaska Railroad... one of the most spectacular railroad journeys on the continent.
 Lunch: On train
 Afternoon: Enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour at the Alaska SeaLife Center. Learn about the Center’s marine wildlife research, rehabilitation projects, and life support systems. Discover what is takes to care for seals, sea lions, octopus, seabirds, and 154 species of fish.
 Dinner: Dinner in downtown Seward
 Evening: Glaciers & Glaciology
   
Accommodations: Breeze Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Exit Glacier
(Saturday, July 11)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in downtown Seward
 Morning: Choose your own adventure. Recommended exhibits and presentations include: Qutekcak Native Tribe Culture Center; Native Alaskan Presentations & Stories from the Elders, Seward Museum for “The History of Seward,” and Two Lakes Trail nature hike with Carol Griswold.
 Lunch: At the SeaLife Center
 Afternoon: Enjoy a Ranger-led interpretive walk to the toe of Exit Glacier. Up to 1 mile and 50 ft of elevation gain.
 Dinner: Dinner in downtown Seward
 Evening: Evening presentation with local expert
   
Accommodations: Breeze Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Kenai Fjords National Park Marine Wildlife Cruise
(Sunday, July 12)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in downtown Seward
 Morning: A bit of free time at Seward's small boat harbor.
 Morning: Small boat tour to Resurrection Bay in Kenai Fjords National Park. Enjoy extraordinary sightings of glaciers, marine mammals, shorebirds, and pelagic birds. Soak in the unparalleled beauty of Kenai Fjord's wild and rugged coastline.
 Lunch: Onboard boat
 Afternoon: Continue glacier-spotting and wildlife watching on Kenai Fjords cruise.
 Dinner: Dinner in downtown Seward
 Evening: Program wrap-up.
   
Accommodations: Breeze Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Independent departures.
(Monday, July 13)

Note: Please book a flight departing after 1:30pm AKST



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in downtown Seward
 Morning: Independent departures. 10 am check-out time.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


Alaska: History of the 49th State


Author: Claus M. Naske


Arctic Dreams


Author: Barry Lopez


Arctic Village


Author: Robert Marshall


Coming Into the Country


Author: John McPhee


Last New Land


Author: Wayne Mergler


Make Prayers to the Raven


Author: Richard Nelson


Minus 148 Degrees: The First Winter Ascent of Mount McKinley


Author: Art Davidson


Naturalist’s Guide to the Arctic


Author: E.C. Pielou


Roadside Geology of Alaska


Author: Cathy Connor


Ten Thousand Miles With a Dog Sled


Author: Hudson Stuck


Two Old Women: An Alaskan Legend of Betrayal, Courage and Survival


Author: Velma Wallis


Two in the Far North


Author: Margaret Murie




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