Discover Alaska by Rail: A Traveling Adventure
Learn about the Alaska Railroad while journeying its entire length. Explore a cross-section of Alaska life (and wildlife) in Fairbanks, Denali, Anchorage, and Seward.
Rating (5)
Program No. 1014RJ
12 days
Starts at
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12 days
11 nights
31 meals
11 B 9 L 11 D
Check-in, Orientation, and Welcome Dinner
River's Edge Resort

Activity note: Getting on/off a bus. Travelling from the Airport to the River's Edge Resort. Approx. 3 miles

Dinner: Dinner- At the River's Edge Resort.

Evening: Introductions- Meet and mingle with your fellow Road Scholars and Group Leader.

Learn from Mary Shield and about life in the North!
River's Edge Resort

Activity note: Getting on/off a bus. Driving approx. 20 miles and up to 30 minutes at a time on the bus. Some walking on uneven terrain of less than a mile. Steps and stairs.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the River's Edge Resort

Morning: Stop and view the Alaskan Pipeline and learn about how it was built before traveling to the kennel of Mary Shields, the first women to finish the Iditarod. Get up close and personal with Mary's dog team and listen to stories about the mushing trail and life in interior Alaska.

Lunch: Lunch

Afternoon: 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.

Dinner: Dinner at the River's Edge Resort

Evening: Free time to relax and explore before the group travels south to Denali!

Train to Denali National Park
Denali National Park
Denali Education Center

Activity note: Getting on/off a bus. Getting on/off a train. Travel by rail of approx 120 miles, roughly 4 hrs. Travel by bus 8 miles. Walking over uneven terrain, less than 2 miles.

Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at River's Edge.

Morning: Enjoy the first leg of the 470 mile Alaska Railroad as it winds its way south to Denali National Park. From the depot, head to Denali Education Center's campus and your home for the next four nights!

Lunch: Lunch at Denali Education Center.

Afternoon: Get oriented to Denali National Park and your home away from home. Spend the afternoon hiking with a field educator or enjoy some free time to relax and explore. At 5:00 p.m. all participants will meet in Riverside Hall for introductions to Denali Education Center, your group leaders, and your program's support staff. We will review the program theme and the up-to-date daily schedule. Learn about DEC's rich history with Road Scholar and take a short walk on campus to get familiarized with the landscape. Wildlife safety and emergency procedures- including contact numbers for key staff will also be addressed at this time.

Dinner: Enjoy your first healthy, home-cooked dinner at Riverside Hall. All meals are served buffet-style. The menu varies greatly and is always healthy and balanced. Water, coffee, tea, and snacks are available at all times.

Evening: Life in Denali- Learn about the trials and joys of each season from one of our year-round staff.

Welcome to the Subarctic and Denali kennel Sled Dog Demo!
Denali National Park
Denali Education Center

Activity note: Getting on/off a bus. Some walking over uneven terrain. Walking on your own up to 1 mile.

Breakfast: Buffet breakfast in Denali Education Center's Riverside Hall.

Morning: Learn about the sometimes surprising, always extreme, conditions that shape life in Denali, and define a subarctic ecosystem in “Welcome to the Subarctic".

Lunch: Enjoy one of our home made lunches in Riverside Hall.

Afternoon: Attend a Sled Dog demonstration with the only National Park sled dog team. Learn how these amazing working dogs spend their winters patrolling this 6 million acre park.

Dinner: Dinner- Buffet style in Riverside Hall.

Evening: Evening presentation with a local Alaskan

Journey to the Heart of the Park
Denali National Park
Denali Education Center

Activity note: Getting on/off a bus. Traveling 92 miles one way, 8 hours round trip. Unpaved road. Stops every hour and a half to two hours.

Breakfast: Riverside Hall. After breakfast, pack your own to-go lunch- tailored to your own needs and tastes.

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: Buffet style in Riverside Hall

Evening: Spend the evening resting, relaxing, and enjoying your time in Alaska.

Learn about Denali's Wildlife and enjoy some Free Time.
Denali National Park
Denali Education Center

Activity note: Walking of up to one mile, potentially over uneven terrain. Getting on/off a bus if associated with free-time activity.

Breakfast: Buffet style in 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: Buffet style in 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: Buffet style in Riverside Hall

Evening: Guest speaker TBA. Schedule for expert local evening presenters in Denali will be announced on first day of program.

Ride the rails to the charming town of Talkeetna.
Talkeetna, AK
Swiss-Alaska Inn

Activity note: Getting on/off a bus. Getting on/off a train. Travel by rail approx. 120 miles, roughly 4 hrs. Walking over uneven terrain up to 2 miles possible.

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. Or, spend some additional time taking in the Visitor Center displays at your own pace.

Lunch: Enjoy lunch on the train in their dining car.

Afternoon: Enjoy a scenic journey on the Alaska Railroad through Broad Pass and over the Alaska Range to Talkeetna. Keep your eyes peeled for a glimpses of Mt. Denali and wildlife as you pass through Denali State Park.

Dinner: Dine at Twister Creek Brew Pub.

Evening: Check-in to the Swiss-Alaska Inn. Just minutes from scenic Downtown Talkeetna.

After breakfast head south on the train to Anchorage.
The Historic Anchorage Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a bus. Getting on/off a train. Travel by rail approx. 120 miles, roughly 4 hrs. Choice to walk up to 2 miles, including pavement and uneven terrain.

Breakfast: Sit down breakfast at the Swiss-Alaska Inn

Morning: Tour the town of Talkeetna, a quaint little community that is nestled into the foot hills of the Alaska Range and steeped in mountaineering history.

Lunch: Enjoy lunch on your own at one of Talkeetna's cafes or restaurants.

Afternoon: After lunch you'll board the train and take in the sights as the train winds its way toward Alaska's coast.

Dinner: Enjoy dinner on the train's dinning car.

Evening: After arriving into town we'll check into the Historic Anchorage Hotel and spend the rest of the evening relaxing.

Alaska Native Heritage Center and Alaska History Museum
The Historic Anchorage Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a bus. Walking up to 2 miles, including pavement and uneven terrain. Steps possible, elevator available.

Breakfast: Continental breakfast at the Historic Anchorage Hotel.

Morning: Join a docent for a tour of the Anchorage Museum and Rasmuson Center. After learning some Alaskan history, continue on to explore their awe inspiring collection of Alaskan art.

Lunch: At the museum

Afternoon: 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

Dinner: Dinner as a group in downtown Anchorage

Evening: Take some time to explore downtown Anchorage on your own.

Train to Seward, Behind the Scenes at Alaska Sealife Center
Breeze Inn

Activity note: Getting on/off a bus. Getting on/off a train. Travel by rail approx. 120 miles, roughly 4 hrs. Walking up to 1.5 miles possible over pavement and some uneven terrain.

Breakfast: Enjoy Breakfast in the dinning car on the train to Seward.

Morning: Early morning departure to travel the final stretch of the Alaska Railroad... one of the most spectacular railroad journeys on the continent.

Lunch: At the SeaLife Center

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 their 154 species of fish.

Dinner: Buffet dinner at Seward Hotel

Evening: Check into your accommodations and relax for the evening.

Kenai Fjords National Park Marine Wildlife Cruise
Breeze Inn

Activity note: Getting on/off a boat. Walking less than a mile. Steps and stairs on-board the boat. Some uneven surfaces. Travel by boat roughly 7 hrs.

Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at your hotel.

Morning: Enjoy a bit of free time at Seward's small boat harbor to walk around and enjoy the sights of Alaska's coast.

Lunch: Buffet style salmon and prime rib dinner on-board your boat cruise.

Afternoon: Continue glacier-spotting and wildlife watching on Kenai Fjords cruise as the boat explores Alaska's coastal water.

Dinner: Buffet dinner at your hotel accommodations.

Evening: Gather this evening to share stories and moments from your program with your fellow participants.

Breakfast, Charter to Anchorage, and Program Conclusion

Activity note: Getting on/off a bus. Travel approx. 120 miles, roughly 3 hours north to Anchorage. Limited walking.

Breakfast: At the Breeze Inn.

Morning: Board a chartered motor coach bound for the Anchorage Airport. The coach is expected to arrive at the airport at approximately 11:30 a.m. Please do not make departure flight reservations before 3:00 p.m. The coach will make drop offs at major hotels in Anchorage.

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