“How can I get to Anchorage from Fairbanks?”
This is a question we often hear from tourists. It’s easy to understand why when you take a look at a world atlas. Fairbanks and Anchorage appear to be two little cities separated by a short little stretch of interstate highway. Looks can be deceiving! The Parks Highway between Fairbanks and Anchorage stretches 360 miles as it weaves and winds through the Tanana Valley, past Denali National Park and Preserve and into the “Anchorage Bowl.” The road is paved and well-maintained but still takes no less than 6-8 hours to travel.
By Parks Highway Shuttle Service
The best option for groups of all sizes who would to relax, enjoy the ride and take some pictures is to book directly with Alaska/Yukon Trails. AYT has a daily Northbound Parks Highway Shuttle as well as a daily Southbound Parks Highway Shuttle service. Depending on the number of reservations they use a 15-passenger van, a 24-passenger mini-coach or a 47-60 passenger luxury motor coach.
AYT’s talented and experienced coach drivers can give you the historical background to the different regions of Alaska or just quietly pilot you down to Anchorage in their quiet, air conditioned coaches.
There are approximately ten daily flights from Fairbanks to Anchorage. The flight is just over an hour and most tickets cost around $125 (one-way). Alaska Airlines operates the lion’s share on the flights with Ravn Alaska operating 2-3 daily at a slightly cheaper fare.
Flights are an excellent option for solo travelers who just want to get down to Anchorage or down and back without much hassle or complication. The opportunity to photograph anything from the cabin, including Denali, is limited and weather dependent. Flights are not economical for groups over three persons and can easily add up to hundreds or even thousands of dollars for larger groups. Most flights are also fully booked so groups will have a hard time booking the same flight without planning months in advance.
One of the most scenic ways to see Alaska is by train. The Alaska Railroad is the only passenger railcar service in the state and runs daily Fairbanks to Anchorage service in the summer. In the winter the Aurora Winter Train travels southbound to Anchorage once weekly. Check the Alaska Railroad website for details.
The main reason for people opt-out of taking the Alaska Railroad is the steep price. At $239 per adult (one-way), the train is not an economical option for most visitors. This is because the railroad is mainly concerned with transporting freight and has a limited number passenger cars.
The freight nature of the Alaska Railroad also means that its not exactly the Tokyo bullet train. The trip between Fairbanks and Anchorage takes no less than 12 hours! That’s a long ride for visitors on a tight schedule or who just want to get there already!
“I have a car! Why should I consider taking your bus?”
Have you considered the drop fee charged by most rental companies for returning a rental in a different city? The drop fee for rental cars rented in Fairbanks but returned in Anchorage can easily exceed $500.
If a Fairbanks car is driven to Anchorage, the rental companies will have to hire a freight company to “deadhead” that vehicle back to Fairbanks. The rental companies simply multiply and pass that fee on to the customer to discourage dropping rentals at different locations.
A car is a reasonable option for groups under five people who rented in Anchorage or intend to drive back to Fairbanks. For larger groups, consider one of our mini-coaches. Have a school or work group? Contact us for a quote on our full-sized motorcoaches. We can pick you up in Anchorage or Fairbanks or anywhere in between.