Leave Anchorage by train and head down along the shoreline of Turnagain Arm, where beluga whales feed on small fish and salmon heading to spawning grounds. This area is part of the Chugach National Forest—at six million acres it is the second-largest National Forest in the United States. Dall sheep come down from the peaks of the Chugach Mountains and eagles cruise the shoreline looking for an easy meal. After traveling past Girdwood, 40 miles from Anchorage, the train leaves the main line for the 12-mile trip into the port of Whittier. Watch for salmon in the streams along the way before you enter the first of two tunnels. Whittier is the gateway to Prince William Sound. The train returns to the main line to continue the trip south down the Placer Valley leaving the highway behind and into countryside only accessible by train. You’ll stop at Spencer Glacier among wildlife habitat populated by bear, moose, coyotes and wolves. Swans pause here on their migration; yellowlegs and arctic terns also make their home here. It's hard to believe this is only a few hours out of Anchorage and completely off the road system. If you like you can leave the train at the Spencer whistle stop for a narrated two-mile hike, round-trip, with a US Forest Service ranger. The trail leads to Spencer Lake for spectacular glacier viewing. Upon completion of the hike, the Alaska Railroad will pick you up for the short trip back to Portage. You will then board a deluxe motor coach for the transfer back to Anchorage. Notes:A box lunch is included on board the train turkey or ham sandwich, whole fruit, chips, cookie, fountain soda. You will receive a boxed lunch voucher with your boarding pass. Wildlife sightings are likely but are not guaranteed.
Average Customer Rating:
(3 Reviews) 3
Rating Snapshot(3 reviews)
1 out of 3(33%)reviewers would recommend this product to a friend.
The train ride itself is not bad if you expected something equivalent to a commuter train. You do not see a whole lot of wildlife or scenery. The Turnagain Arm was on the opposite side of the train so we did not see much of it from our seats. The Whitter stop was a chance to get out and stretch on a nice day. We got off the train at Spencer for a two mile walk to Spencer Lake for a nice view of the Spencer glacier. This was a total disaster. The guide from the NPS noted that our group was very large (45 people) and that he has the bear spray if needed. He bragged about being a fast walker. He then took off with the younger physically fit people at a rapid pace. He left more than half of us behind for an "unguided" tour. He obviously stopped and explained things to the people that were with him and as we caught up he took off again. We were told to walk back to the train stop on our own obseving bear scat as we walked. It was a waste of our time and money. We then took the train to Portage to board a 'deluxe' motor coach to go back to the ship. It was said to be the hottest day in years and the bus had no airconditioning. The driver said it was broke. You could not open the windows and the temperature on board reached 92 degrees. All of us could not wait to get off the bus. We then rushed to get dinner before they closed. It was a total waste of a day and money.
This is a train ride. Not a sightseeing tour. It is more a passenger train than an excursion. If we had not gotten off to hike to the glacier I would have gone crazy. 10 hours wasted. The hike is a good walk but with 50 or so other people its not a moving event. Especially given ages. This is way over priced. Try something else.
This excursion is good for somebody who enjoys trains. The train ride was long and went back and forth on the same piece of track several times. It's a beautiful ride and the train is nice but if you want something fast paced this isn't the excursion for you. We did enjoy the hike to Spencer Glacier. It's an easy hike on a gravel trail. The Forest Service Ranger pointed out things of interest along the way. The view of Spencer Glacier and the icebergs are incredible. You're standing feet away from the icebergs and they're beautiful.