Point A to Point B: Alaska Travel Times

It may not be quite as fun as picking out Alaska day tours or as entertaining as shopping for accommodations, but coordinating efficient transportation is still on one of the most important aspects of a well-planned itinerary. To help you decide between transportation options check out this list of transit times plus our tips for making the most of your time traveling in Alaska.

How does this work? We’ve included travel times for a train, Park Connection Motorcoach, and rental car broken into segments from north to south. Transit times are roughly the same if you’re traveling south to north. To compare options for your specific travel days, visit AlaskaTrain.com and click “Book Now for 2019.”

Fairbanks to Denali

  • Train Time: 3:55
  • Park Connection Time: N/A
  • Driving Time: 2:20

The Park Connection, a deluxe motorcoach service offering efficient transfers throughout southcentral Alaska, does not travel between Fairbanks and Denali. If you’re looking for quicker way to transfer we can book a convenient van shuttle headed southbound (departs Fairbanks 7 AM, arrives the Denali Park area 9:30 AM) or northbound (departs Denali Park 11 AM, arrives Fairbank 1:30 PM).

Denali to Talkeetna

  • Train Time: 4:10
  • Park Connection Time: 3:30
  • Driving Time: 2:45

If you’d like to depart the Denali area in the morning, the Park Connection’s Park to Park route is your best bet. It gets you into Talkeetna by 10:45 AM, giving you plenty of time for an afternoon flightseeing trip, river jetboat excursion, or even a guided fishing tour. This can also be a fun route for self-drivers. There are several scenic overlooks with views of Mt. Denali when the weather is clear and roadside cafes with good eats and lots of local characters. With your own vehicle you can also stop at Denali State Park, the quieter neighbor to Denali National Park.

Talkeetna to Anchorage

  • Train Time: 3:00
  • Park Connection Time: 2:30
  • Driving Time: 2:10

If you’re traveling north and have limited time, we often recommend utilizing the Park Connection to visit Talkeetna for the day. You’d catch the Talkeetna Express at 6:30 AM from Anchorage and arrive in town by 8:45 AM. After spending the day in Talkeetna, you could continue north to Denali on the Park Connection at 5:45 PM or return to Anchorage via the train at 5 PM. On the train route passengers in the GoldStar Dome, a premier rail service section with upper-level seating and 360-degree views through dome windows, enjoy a full-service dinner with their ticket. The meal consists of a soup or salad, entrée, and dessert along with two alcoholic beverages and unlimited nonalcoholic beverages.

Anchorage to Seward

  • Train Time: 4:20
  • Park Connection Time: 3:00
  • Driving Time: 2:30

This leg is considered one of the most scenic by both highway and railway. If you’re going to Seward for a few days and then heading back to Anchorage, we recommend taking the train one way and the Park Connection the other. You’ll get to see the most diverse landscapes this way, plus save some time in transit.

Special Segments: Seward to Denali Park

  • Train Time: 11:40 + overnight in Anchorage
  • Park Connection Time: 10:00 (includes 1.5-hour break in Anchorage)
  • Driving Time: 6:45*

The Park Connection offers the only scheduled same-day service between Seward to the Denali Park area. The Park to Park coach leaves Seward at 10:30 AM and arrives in Denali Park at 8:30 PM. The route includes a 1.5-hour break in Anchorage. Transferring by motorcoach saves a full day of travel.

When traveling by train you’ll leave Seward at 6 PM and arrive in Anchorage at 10:15 PM. All passengers then get off the train, gather their luggage, and transfer to their accommodations for the night. The northbound Denali Start train departs the next morning at 8:15 AM. Passengers arrive at the Denali Depot at 4 PM.

To see schedules from Denali Park to Seward, visit AlaskaTrain.com.

*Rental cars can be very expensive from Seward, particularly if dropping in Anchorage.

Special Segments: Whittier to Denali Park

  • Train Time: 11:40 + overnight in Anchorage
  • Park Connection Time: 11:00 (includes 3-hour break in Anchorage)
  • Driving Time: N/A*

The same goes for transfer between Whittier and Denali Park. If you’re disembarking from cruise and continuing on your own independent land package, the Park Connection gets you to Denali Park by late evening. The train leaves much later in the day (6:45 PM) and requires an overnight in Anchorage.

*Whittier car rentals are limited and can be quite expensive. If you’d like to travel by car after you cruise, check out our Whittier web special: If you book your rental car through Alaska Tour & Travel, you can ride the Park Connection Motorcoach to or from your cruise ship in Whittier for free (with a mail in rebate). Click here for more details and note that a minimum three-day rental is required for the special offer.

Need help planning an efficient path through Alaska that’ll save time without taking away from the experience of traveling in this big, wild place? That’s what we do. Send us a web request or reach us by phone at 800-208-0200.

 

At Alaska Tour & Travel, we specialize in building custom trips for every timeline, personality, and budget. If you’d like to have an Alaskan plan your Alaska trip, give us a call at (800) 208-0200.

 

Comments

  1. Renee Bodkin
    August 6th, 2019 | 4:39 am

    I highly recommend traveling in the dome car. You can see all the wildlife and sites. You also get meal service. It is the best way to travel. Bring your camera and be ready to take amazing pictures.

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