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When planning a trip to Alaska, many people may think of visiting the Last Frontier in the summer on a cruise. But there are many advantages to booking a trip to Alaska in winter. From dogsledding, aurora viewing and taking in the crisp air of Alaska - all with fewer crowds - a winter trip is worth the planning.
Even better? Get to your destination with a trip on the Alaska Railroad's Aurora Winter Train. The train travels north from Anchorage to Fairbanks on Saturdays and then makes the southbound return trip from Fairbanks to Anchorage on Sundays. There will also be select midweek service dates in March 2021.
Starting from Anchorage, the train leaves from the historic depot in downtown. Passengers take off through the city and then head north through the Matanuska-Susitna Valley, the state's agricultural center. Along the way, the large picture windows of the railcar show the dramatic views of snow-covered lands. Opportunities to view wildlife like moose and bald eagles are around every bend in the track.
One of the first stops on the train where passengers may disembark is in the mountain town of Talkeetna. Here, passengers can add on to their train trip by spending the day baking a pie at the famous Talkeetna Roadhouse or zoom out on trails to ride on the back of a sled pulled by Alaskan huskies. Spend a night in the mountains and then take the Aurora Winter Train back to Anchorage on Sunday.
Other passengers stay on the Aurora Winter Train for the entire journey to Fairbanks and a chance to chase the northern lights. Anticipation of chasing the lights builds on the journey north with another stunning stretch of winter landscapes. The Aurora Winter Train travels the same route as the summer Denali Star Train, passing by Denali National Park and crossing the longest bridge on the Railroad: Hurricane Gulch. This impressive bridge calls to photographers as they race to windows to see the expansive landscapes from 296-feet-above Hurricane Creek.
At the end of the relaxing 12-hour journey, the train pulls into Fairbanks. This Interior Alaska community is known as one of the best places to view the northern lights because of its location under the auroral oval, a ring above the Earth's geomagnetic North Pole where some of the highest concentration of northern lights takes place. Train passengers intent on the best opportunities to see the aurora may choose to book add-ons such as staying overnight at Chena Hot Springs Resort or an Aurora Lodge Tour.
Passengers can extend their time in Fairbanks by selecting an Alaska Railroad package tour that could include time spent above the Arctic Circle or at Borealis Basecamp, a boutique campsite of geodesic igloos located deep in Alaska boreal forest. Book The Borealis to make this once-in-a-lifetime experience a reality.
No matter if passengers spend just one day on the rails or book a package tour, a winter train ride with the Alaska Railroad will make memories that last a lifetime.
Find the latest schedules and package options visit www.AlaskaRailroad.com.
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