Alaska winters are something most Americans will never get to appreciate in full, but might be much more inclined to look upon if they could do so from a warm and comfortable train. March is usually the last full month to catch the northern lights in Alaska, and that -- coupled with the warming weather and lengthening days -- means a train ride through the frontier makes doing so considerably easier.
The Aurora Winter Train runs mid-September to mid-May, so the term “winter” is being applied generously here. (There’s also a summer counterpart, the Denali Star Train, which runs mid-May to mid-September.) You have the chance to catch views of bald eagles, moose, and Denali, all without risk of exhaustion or frostbite. This is train travel the way we want train travel to be: big windows, comfy seats, and a dining car that does not suck. You’re also free to move about the cabin, so you can explore the entire train rather than remaining confined to your car. So while you’re working from home and practicing good #socialdistancing, let us help spark your imagination for next year’s trips.
The railroad offers packages that allow you to fly one direction and take the train back. Prices vary depending on where you’re getting on and off, but adult one-way tickets start at $65 (for travel between Healy and Fairbanks) and go up to $216 (for travel between Anchorage/Wasilla and Fairbanks). Prices for children and seniors are about half the price for adults. Tickets drop a couple of bucks during the train’s relative shoulder seasons (September-November and April-May). It’s a 12-hour journey between the route’s endpoints, Anchorage and Fairbanks, with five other stops in between, should you care to jump off. Let’s see what’s out there.
MORE: This Aurora Train package is a week-long adventure under the northern lights