The Whittier Glacier Discovery Train offers a world-class scenic adventure and comfortable transportation to Whittier, Alaska and beyond to Spencer Glacier and Grand view. Alaska Cruise Ship passenger arriving or departing in Whittier, Alaska this is one of your better transportation options to and from Anchorage, Alaska
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Anchorage - Portage - Whittier, Alaska
Whittier Train, Glacier Discovery Train - Alaska Railroad

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The Glacier Discovery Train offers a world-class scenic adventure and comfortable transportation to Whittier, Alaska and beyond to Spencer Glacier and Grand view. For Alaska Cruise Ship passenger arriving or departing in Whittier, Alaska this is one of your better transportation options to and from Anchorage, Alaska.

Departing from Anchorage, the Glacier Discovery Train travels much of the same route as the Coastal Classic, with the addition of a turn off the main line to the tiny port town of Whittier and a turnaround point of Grandview. With many more stops than the Coastal – some in areas accessible only by train – the Glacier Discovery opens up a number of unique day trip options, suited for all ages and energy levels.

From Anchorage, the Glacier Discovery stops briefly at the resort town of Girdwood before continuing on to Portage; here, guests may disembark to visit the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, home to black and brown bears, moose, caribou, wood bison and more. The train then travels through a mountain tunnel to Whittier, providing a perfect connection for a glacier and wildlife cruise in Prince William Sound. The train returns to Portage to pick up Wildlife Center guests and other passengers before continuing south, away from the road system and into the wilds of the Chugach National Forest.

The next stop is the Spencer Glacier Whistle Stop, a backcountry paradise developed in partnership with the Chugach National Forest Service. A well-maintained, 1.3-mile gravel path leads from the tracks to the edge of Spencer Lake and a spectacular view of massive Spencer Glacier, and a U.S. Forest Service Ranger is on site to provide narration along the way. Rafting, hiking, and even ice climbing on the glacier are all available as day trips.

For the outdoorsy, overnighting is also an option: the Spencer Glacier Whistle Stop offers campsites as well a public use cabin.

Staying on the train has its appeal, however, as Bartlett Glacier and Trail Glacier come into view. Many consider this the most scenic stretch of track, as the train winds along the Placer River Valley and amid the alpine meadows of Grandview.

On the return journey, Grandview and Spencer passengers have the option to disembark at Portage for a motorcoach transfer to Girdwood or Anchorage, thus saving a return trip to Whittier (and about 2 1/2 hours of travel time).

Here is what you can expect once you step onboard the Glacier Discovery Train:

  • Large picture windows
  • Forward-facing reclining seats
  • Dining cars
  • Gift shop onboard
  • Non-smoking cars
Glacier Discovery - Whittier Train Schedule
Southbound From/To Depart Arrive
Anchorage – Girdwood 9:45 AM 10:55 AM
Girdwood – Portage 1st Stop 11:00 AM 11:30 AM
Portage 1st Stop – Whittier 11:35 AM 12:05 PM
Whittier — Portage 2nd Stop 12:45 PM 1:15 PM
Portage 2ns Stop – Spencer Whistle Stop 1:25 PM 1:45 PM
Spencer Whistle Stop – Grandview 1:55 PM 3:20 PM
Northbound From/To Depart Arrive
Grandview – Spencer Whistle Stop 3:30 PM 4:30 PM
Spencer Whistle Stop – Portage 1st Stop 4:40 PM 5:15 PM
Portage 1st – Whittier 5:25 PM 6:05 PM
Whittier — Portage 2nd Stop 6:45 PM 7:15 PM
Portage 2nd Stop — Girdwood 7:20 PM 7:40 PM
Girdwood — Anchorage 7:45 PM 9:15 PM

Tour Dates And Rates
Daily May 27 – September 18
Between Anchorage and Whittier on May 13, 17 and 20

Route Adventure Class Adult/Child (2-11) Round Trip, Adult/Child (2-11)
Anchorage – Girdwood $66/33 $103/52
Anchorage/Girdwood – Poratge/Whittier $83/42 $99/50
Anchorage/Girdwood - Spencer Glacier   $123/62
Anchorage/Girdwood – Grandview   $133/67
Portage - Spencer Glacier   $107/54
Portage – Grandview   $117/59

On payment of your deposit to Backcountry Safaris, you agree to be bound by Backcountry Safaris' tour terms and conditions. Complete Tour, Reservation and Payment Terms are located here.

Prices are subject to change without notice.

Tour Itineraries: Backcountry Safaris and other tour operators that we work with strive to give you a high quality Alaska experience. The tour itinerary shown on our web page is an example tour itinerary. The actual tour itinerary may vary some due to weather, safety, guest abilities and other conditions. Backcountry Safaris and other independent tour contractors reserve the right to change the tour itinerary and/or make substitutions at any time and without prior notice or to cancel all or part of any tour in its reasonable discretion, for the safety of its participants or due to insufficient number of participants signing up for a tour, because of weather, for the comfort and well being of our guests, for any other conditions that might affect the quality of tour, or as deemed necessary by the tour operator or trip leader.

Limitations of liability: Although every precaution is taken to safeguard you and your belongings, our adventure trips involve inherent risks and dangers which are beyond our control and Backcountry Safaris shall assume no responsibility for personal injuries or deaths and loss of personal property. Due to the nature of the activities, a condition of your participation is that you will read and sign the acknowledgment and Release of Liability before the tour begins. A copy of the text is available on request.

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