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“Love this train!”
Review of McKinley Explorer

Ranked #15 of 95 things to do in Fairbanks
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: A scenic railroad spanning 356 miles, from Fairbanks to Anchorage.
Wichita, Kansas
Level Contributor
55 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Love this train!”
Reviewed June 1, 2014

We rode the McKinley Explorer to Denali from Anchorage. It's about an eight hour trip and although it's a bit tiring towards the end, it's a great ride. The equipment is clean and very well maintained from what we experienced. The young people serving us were very knowledgeable and ready for any questions. We ate in the dining section of the car and the food was very good. They cook it right there in the little galley.The smell of the food cooking below will drive you crazy till you get some. The passenger seating is all in the top of the car under a totally glassed in dome and there isn't a bad seat there. The scenery is pretty spectacular. It was part of a Holland America cruise tour so all we had to do was get on and enjoy.

Visited May 2014
1 Thank spot1956
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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183 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
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  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
133 reviews
28 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 64 helpful votes
“Anchorage to Denali - Awesome!”
Reviewed May 30, 2014

My friends and I traveled from Anchorage to Denali on this 7.5-hour trip. Best train trip EVER! The cars are Glass-Domed. The tour guide was very nice and provided lots of historical information as we traveled. Luggage: You may stow two bags and have one carry-on per person as long as it fits under your assigned seat. Our luggage was delievered directly to our rooms once we arrived, it was waiting on us in our room.

For lunch, they seat you at an assigned table. If you are traveling with a group they seat you all in the same area. I would recommend going as soon as they offer, as we waited and had a long wait before they came and got us. Lunch was DELICIOUS! I had the Cubano sandwich. Wish I had one now. There's also a bar on the car if you are interested in snacks/drinks.

The views from the glass-domed train were breathtaking. We were very lucky, as we were in the last car and had quick access to the open air car for taking photos. They would always announce when wildlife was spotted so you had an opportunity to take pics. Upon entering Talkeetna, we got some SUPER shots of Denali. It was completely visible that day with no cloud cover.

I would DEFINITELY do this trip again. Highly recommend. We booked our adventure via Grayline Tours. I would say they were not the most organized folks, but that's another review.

Visited May 2014
Thank Lookinthrualens
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
284 reviews
124 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 131 helpful votes
“The only way to travel!”
Reviewed May 26, 2014

We took the McKinley Explorer from Denali to Anchorage as part of our Holland America land tour. It was a fantastic way to travel. The HAL cars have passenger seating upstairs, with a glass dome roof, allowing for fabulous views. The seating is spacious and comfortable and there is bar/drink service right to your seat. A guide in each car provides commentary and keeps an eye out for wildlife. Downstairs in the train car is the restaurant. Although it is a limited menu the food is very good.

Keep an eye out for the telegraph poles - the story is that the Railway commissioned a group of people to remove the copper wires - they started in the South and when they got to Denali they ran off with the copper wire. Many poles still boast the glass insulators that have become a collector's item.

Visited May 2014
Thank LetsGetGone
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
74 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
“Great way to see Alaska”
Reviewed March 6, 2014

We took the McKinley Explorer from Anchorage to Denali and it was superb. Even though we had rain most of the way we still could view the beautiful area. The seats were very comfortable and roomy. We enjoyed a bloody mary from the bar and later had an enjoyable lunch which was very good. A few days later we took the train from Denali to Fairbanks and enjoyed it also. Had a prime rib dinner that was as good as a lot of restaurants.If you don't take the McKinley Explorer you are missing a wonderful experience

Visited September 2013
2 Thank islandduo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Salt Lake City, Utah
Level Contributor
42 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
“Fantastic way to get to Denali from Fairbanks”
Reviewed January 26, 2014

We took the McKinley Explorer from Fairbanks to Denali. The fall colors were just coming on so the trip was absolutely beautiful and amazing. I'm a amateur photo nut so I loved the fact that the staff would keep us posted where we were and to be ready for great photo opportunities. If you want to catch some zzzzz's that's possible too because the seats are very comfortable. Don't pass this opportunity up if you get the chance to add it to a Holland America tour.

Visited September 2013
1 Thank dorenel2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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