Runaway Photo: Alaska Railroad Aurora Winter Train

Alaska Railroad Aurora Winter Train

Alaska Railroad Aurora Winter Train

 

Aurora Winter Train was one of the most intense train rides I’ve ever been. Here is the reason why…

 

Train is one of my favorite ways to travel.  There’s just something romantic about it. The Aurora Winter Train runs from Anchorage to Fairbanks on Saturdays, and the other way around on Sundays. The twelve-hour journey presents some of the best of Alaskan winter, especially if you are lucky to ride on a clear day (like me!). The train makes several stops during 470 mile ride, and give people photo opportunities. Some of the main stops are: Talkeetna (milepost 225), Mount McKinley (milepost 279), Hurricane Gulch (milepost 284.2), and Denali National Park (Milepost 347.7)

I headed to the train station early in the morning (it was only 8:30am departure but felt really early due to the lack of sun). The sun was slowly coming up as we started moving. The Chugach Mountains revealed themselves under the rising sun. When sky was still dark, and the frozen rivers were barely seen, two moose casually walked across the train track, and disappeared into the forest. The train slowed down to let them leave safely.

The Aurora Winter Train is all about snowy wilderness, stunning scenery, and serendipity. Not too long after we left Anchorage, the train entered the peaceful winter wonderland. We made stops to observe a herd of caribous on the frozen river, Dall sheep on the rocky cliff, frozen rivers, a bold eagle on the tree, and majestic Mount McKinley. We were blessed with the clear sky that day. People said, only a third of visitors of Alaska (in summer) get to see Mount McKinley, and the chances are lower in the winter. Mount McKinley, also known as Denali, is the highest mountain in North America. This day, we were one of those lucky ones. She was certainly, the Great One.

The train got into Fairbanks at 8pm. For some reason, it didn’t feel like 12-hour journey. Maybe because I was too busy taking photos and oo-ing and wow-ing at all those amazing sceneries. I like trains because it’s relaxing most of the times, but Aurora Winter Train was certainly one of the most intense trains I’ve ever been on. But it is definitely must thing to do if you visit Alaska in winter.

 

Snowy mountains, frozen creeks, and scenic train!

Snowy mountains, frozen creeks, and scenic train!

Birch tree forest and frozen rivers

Birch tree forest and frozen rivers

The Aurora Winter Train is traveling through snowy mountains

The Aurora Winter Train is traveling through snowy mountains

Looks deserted, but there are some houses in the remote areas.

Looks deserted, but there are some houses in the remote areas.

Alaska Railroad Aurora Winter Train goes through beautiful mountains

Alaska Railroad Aurora Winter Train goes through beautiful mountains

Alaska Railroad Aurora Winter Train goes through beautiful mountains

Alaska Railroad Aurora Winter Train goes through beautiful mountains

Mt.McKinley - nice and clean!

Mt.McKinley – nice and clean!

Mt. McKinley, the tallest mountain in the North America, and Alaska Range.

Mt. McKinley, more famously known as Denali (Koyukon Athabaskan for “The High One”), the tallest mountain in the North America, and Alaska Range.

Rugged peaks of the Alaska Range near Mount McKinley

Rugged peaks of the Alaska Range near Mount McKinley

Snow-covered field near the Alaska Range

Snow-covered field near the Alaska Range

Hurricane train station

Hurricane train station

The train goes across the Hurricane Gulch, mile 284.2 of the Alaska Railroad. The bridge spans a canyon 296 feet above, and the bridge is the longest one in Alaska.

The train goes across the Hurricane Gulch, mile 284.2 of the Alaska Railroad. The bridge spans a canyon 296 feet above, and the bridge is the longest one in Alaska.

The Aurora Winter Train is the definition of the 'train with the view' - looking out the Alaska Range

The Aurora Winter Train is the definition of the ‘train with the view’ – looking out the Alaska Range

Solar panel is an important energy source in the remote areas

Solar panel is an important energy source in the remote areas

Alaska Range afar

Alaska Range afar

Alaska Range and snow field

Alaska Range and snow field

Frozen creek crossing the snow covered field

Frozen creek crossing the snow covered field

Aurora Winter Train goes through the mountains!

Aurora Winter Train goes through the mountains!

Mountains during the early sunset

Mountains during the early sunset

Panorama shot of Alaska Range

Panorama shot of Alaska Range

 

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About Juno Kim

6 Responses to “Runaway Photo: Alaska Railroad Aurora Winter Train”

Read below or add a comment...

  1. Joe Todd says:

    Really enjoyed the post and photos.. Wife and I were someplace a little warmer recently ( Florida )

  2. Jen says:

    Oh wow oh wow Juno! What an incredible journey. I love trains too and really want to do this trip some day myself. Your photos are beautiful.

  3. Alaska looks so amazing in the winter. This train journey looks right up my alley. I love travelling by train.

  4. Kadri says:

    Crazy how beautiful one place can be.

  5. Beth Hardy says:

    Wow that was unusual. I just wrote a very long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t show up. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Regardless, just wanted to say fantastic blog!

Trackbacks

  1. […] Arctic expedition didn’t end at the Arctic Circle. I rode the Aurora Winter Train from Anchorage to Fairbanks, and drove to Coldfood Camp, 10 miles north of the Arctic Circle. We […]



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