Luxury Train Ride to Wilderness Lodge at Denali National Park
Mount McKinley—known throughout Alaska as Denali—stands at more than 20,000 feet above sea level, making it the tallest peak in North America. McKinley is the centerpiece of Denali National Park, which accounts for about 4.7 million acres of Alaska’s rugged interior and is home to grizzly bears, herds of caribou, and horned Dall sheep. Getting to this remote territory can be a challenge, but travel by rail makes the trip a breeze. Princess Rail Tours has put together a three-day trip to the park, which includes roundtrip rail travel from Anchorage and two nights in the cozy Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge, located just outside the park.
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The 7.5-hour luxury train journey begins at Anchorage Railroad Station. You can take in scenery from the Alaska Range and the forests of the Matanuska Valley from the train’s observation platforms and wraparound domed windows. Each car has a dining room that serves prize-winning reindeer chili and other assorted breakfast, lunch, and dinner fare.
Upon arrival, you’ll be transferred to Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge, built along the banks of the Nenana River, about a mile from the park entrance. The hotel’s six dining options include the signature King Salmon Restaurant, which serves fresh king crab and halibut before a wilderness backdrop. Twice a night, the Denali Dinner Theater puts on a tongue-in-cheek frontier show with family-style barbecue and salmon served by the actors.
The extended daylight hours of this northern region of the world allow for multiple excursions, but limit your playing time for flashlight tag. On the first and next day, you can explore the park at your own pace. A wealth of excursions and amenities are on the table, including a fast-paced jet-boat safari, backcountry hiking, or a plane tour and glacier landing at Mount McKinley (activity fees not included). After a leisurely morning on day 3, the southbound train awaits for the countryside return trip to Anchorage.
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