This is as close to the real Polar Express as it gets. Alaska Railroad is offering guests the chance to take an epic train journey through the Alaskan wilderness this winter. Fittingly called the Aurora Train because the aurora borealis — or northern lights — will illuminate your trip, the train will take you through the ideal, snow-covered winter landscape. The eight-day journey begins in Anchorage, where passengers are encouraged to explore the city, then continues north through Talkeetna, finally ending in Fairbanks — one of the best places in the world from which to view the northern lights.
It’s not just a train ride, either. Passengers will be able to partake in a number of excursions, like exploring Denali, taking a dip in hot springs, and dog sledding through the snow with a team of Iditarod champions.
The Anchorage-Fairbanks route is called the Aurora Package and starts at $1,459 per person. The Borealis Package, the reverse journey from Fairbanks to Anchorage, starts at $1,639 per person. The routes are the same except the Borealis route also allows passengers to stay overnight in a clear geodesic dome in the boreal forest (probably explaining the price difference).
The Aurora Train’s first departure is on Christmas Day while the Borealis Train’s first journey is on December 22. Regardless of which direction you’re heading, the trip is available for booking through March 2019.
For train travel without the frills, you can simply book the Aurora Winter Train. Passing through Wasilla, Talkeetna, and plenty of snow-covered wilderness, you’ll still get an epic Alaskan winter experience at a more affordable $200 per person. This train leaves only on weekends from mid-September to mid-May and weekdays from December to March.