Drop Anchorage for a rail trek

My partner and I will spend five days in Alaska next year, in summer. We will be based in Anchorage and plan to see the Kenai Fiords, Seward and then do as much as we can in Anchorage. Would you recommend trying to fit in another side trip, or will there be plenty in Anchorage to keep us occupied? Our main interests, besides the glaciers, are seeing animals but we are not hikers.

- M. Fridman, North Caulfield, Vic.

Anchorage might keep you occupied for half a day if you walk slowly; happily, the Alaska Railroad (alaskarailroad.com) offers several tantalising prospects. The pick is the Denali Star, a rail journey that takes you into the heart of Denali National Park (nps.gov/dena/), which has more wildlife than a Richard Attenborough documentary. The way to see it all is on one of the narrated bus tours that take you along the Denali Park Road and the longer the better. You will need to spend at least one night in the area - depending on which tour you take - and the park's website has links to local accommodation.

If that's too long for your own itinerary, the Alaska Railroad also offers a couple of shorter alternatives in the Coastal Classic and Glacier Discovery trips, two one-day journeys that plumb more of the state's icy wonders. One attraction in Anchorage that you should not miss, however, is the Alaska Native Heritage Centre (alaskanative.net), a window on the world of its peoples.

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