Welcome to ‘Inside Alaska’ – the land between the mountains. Fairbanks sits within the middle of the state and is the jumping-off level for visiting the excessive Arctic. One of many few massive landlocked cities in Alaska, Fairbanks is usually missed because it’s not a cruise port. However that doesn’t imply that there will not be loads of issues to do in Fairbanks year-round!
Fairbanks has been a important hub in Alaska ever since its inception. It began as a gold rush outpost for the area after which developed right into a important pipeline outpost throughout its building. Now it acts because the outpost of Alaska’s Inside.
I’ve been to Fairbanks 5 totally different occasions in summer season and winter. In truth, I really like Fairbanks a lot that I even run Ottsworld Excursions there! Palms down Fairbanks is the very best place to essentially get to know the hearty folks of the inside of Alaska. It’s additionally the very best place to have an opportunity to see the aurora from September via April.
Residing on the sting of the Arctic Circle
With a inhabitants of 32,000, I used to be excited to go to Fairbanks and meet the individuals who reside on this excessive surroundings on the sting of the Arctic. You need to embrace change in case you reside in Alaska; daylight modifications drastically from each day shedding 6 minutes of daylight (almost an hour each week!) because it heads in the direction of December twenty first and good points 6 minutes after that.
With the darkness comes the chilly and parking heaps with electrical retailers at each spot. Because of the excessive chilly temperatures in Fairbanks in the course of the winter, most autos are geared up with a number of electrical “heating” units that facilitate beginning in the course of the coldest time and needs to be plugged in to maintain heat.
“When it will get chilly, we simply get shut,” a neighborhood Fairbanks man informed me once I requested how he survived the winters.
However with the summer season comes the lengthy days and a inhabitants with an abundance of ‘cabin fever’. As I drove across the metropolis middle in the summertime I used to be impressed by all the out of doors trails and actions. Individuals in Fairbanks like to get outdoors in the summertime and winter, and so do I.
What To Count on From This Fairbanks Listing
There are a selection of operators to select from which are nicely established; nevertheless, in my travels, I wish to give attention to the brand new, distinctive operators. They are typically the smaller, youthful firms which are serving the unbiased traveler and offering a extra private contact than the bigger tour choices. In case you simply dig somewhat bit, you will discover these smaller, particular person experiences that is likely to be more durable to get to or much more costly.
Fortunately although you don’t must dig – I’ve compiled all of those superior Fairbanks issues to do into this record. I’ve organized the issues to do in Fairbanks by summer season, winter, and each seasons. My purpose is that will help you expertise a novel Alaska winter journey that takes you a bit off the vacationer observe and is extra built-in regionally.
Issues to do in Fairbanks within the Summer time
Fairbanks typically goes unnoticed by vacationers in the summertime, however after all, I used to be not going to miss this outdated gold-mining city. Because of being introduced up within the Midwest, I’m all the time intrigued with cities and communities which are landlocked and within the center, which are overshadowed by their extra fashionable neighbors (ahem…Anchorage).
1. Fountainhead Wedgewood Wildlife Sanctuary & Trails
Simply outdoors my lodge was the Fountainhead Wedgewood Wildlife Sanctuary – a sequence of trails winding via the boreal forest, excellent for working and strolling. After spending per week within the treeless tundra round Nome I used to be excited to see bushes once more once I bought again to Fairbanks!
I bumped into many individuals taking their canine out for walks and birdwatching as I did somewhat 3-mile run over wood bridges and across the lakes. The paths connect with the Creamer’s Area Migratory Waterfowl Refuge. That is one run the place I used to be joyful I took my cellphone with me to take some photos alongside the way in which!
Extra Data: Fountainhead Wedgewood Wildlife Sanctuary
2. Tanana Valley Farmer’s Market
That is the oldest established farmers market in Alaska and the one one situated in its personal everlasting constructing. The Tanana Valley Farmers Market showcases all kinds of Alaska-grown produce, native Alaskan crops, and regionally made, Alaskan artwork and crafts.
Not solely can you purchase produce there, however you may as well plan on having lunch…and it is best to go hungry! There was a stunning number of ethnic meals and I stuffed my face with Asian pork buns in addition to Mexican tacos.
I spent the remainder of my time wanting round on the large produce and unusual veggies that I had by no means seen earlier than. Everybody was so pleasant and it was a good way to spend a day studying extra in regards to the group.
Extra Data: Tanana Valley Farrmers Market Web site
The market is open from Could to September on Wednesdays and Saturdays
3. Georgeson Botanical Backyard
Be an novice botanist for the day as you wander round Georgeson Botanical Backyard seeking uncommon, far-north crops. You’ll uncover uncommon species of flowers and bushes which are endemic to Alaska and learn the way they reside and thrive within the wild local weather of Alaska’s sub-Arctic inside.
This five-acre backyard is a part of the College of Alaska Fairbanks campus and was formally opened in 1989 as a analysis facility. It’s now a vibrant inexperienced house that’s stunning, particularly in spring and summer season.
Youngsters will love the Babula Kids’s Backyard the place Alaska’s largest hedge maze beckons. Its well-designed pathways meander via lush greenery. Youngsters can discover totally different sections named after beloved storybook characters like Peter Rabbit or Cinderella. Every space options plant species rigorously chosen to mirror components from these timeless tales – really bringing tales to life!
Extra data: Georgeson Botanical Backyard
4. Tanana Valley Railroad Museum
All aboard! Prepare for a captivating journey via railroad historical past with a go to to this pleasant museum located inside Pioneer Park. Marvel at classic locomotives and discover mannequin practice layouts depicting varied Alaskan landscapes.
Learn the way steam locomotives performed a necessary function in shaping Northern Alaska as you discover classic railcars crammed with intriguing artifacts from yesteryear. You even take a trip on one of many park’s miniature trains!
Extra data: The Tanana Valley Railroad Museum is briefly closed
5. Gold Dredge 8
Fairbanks owes its existence to the gold fever that descended on the Tanana Valley. Gold Dredge 8 takes you again to the late nineteenth century when prospectors flocked to Alaska seeking fortune. This large gold dredge, towering over the panorama, as soon as extracted tens of millions of ounces of gold from the icy floor.
Now retired however meticulously preserved, it’s a nationwide monument the place you possibly can find out about Alaska’s mining heritage. It stands as a testomony to the unimaginable engineering and willpower of those that sought their desires throughout this historic interval.
Once you step onto Gold Dredge 8’s property, prepare for an immersive expertise. The educated guides right here will take you on a journey via time as they share charming tales and insights. You’ll study in regards to the dredging course of that revolutionized gold mining and witness firsthand how these behemoth machines operated. Plus – you possibly can even pan for gold as a part of your go to.
Extra data: Gold Dredge 8
Issues to do in Fairbanks Yr-Spherical
6. College of Alaska Museum of the North
As I pulled as much as the glossy white constructing I used to be stunned to seek out trendy structure in a small group. And the shock didn’t cease there. The displays contained in the Alaska Museum of the North had been equally spectacular. There was a big Alaska pure historical past part that can totally educate you in regards to the grand state.
And upstairs was a formidable array of up to date and trendy artwork achieved by Alaskan artists. I beloved the upstairs displays as I’m a contemporary artwork buff. Most of the works had an Alaska theme to them indirectly – however some had been additionally simply nice items that had nothing to do with the state.
And naturally, I couldn’t miss out on Otto the Bear, probably the most recognizable specimen on the College of Alaska Fairbanks Campus of the North. Otto is an 8′ 9” brown bear that has greeted company for greater than 40 years. And sure – Ottsworld met Otto.
The museum has been engaged on restoring Bus 142 from the story Into the Wild for the previous couple of years. Hopefully, in 2024 it will likely be on exhibit for the general public to see and expertise. Take a look at the museum web site for updates on its standing.
Extra Data: College of Alaska Museum of the North
7. HooDoo Brewing Firm
I had been listening to good issues in regards to the Fairbanks craft brew scene, so I made a decision to test it out myself. After getting misplaced across the railroad tracks, I lastly got here throughout the massive industrial constructing that was HooDoo Brewing Firm. In true Alaska kind – it was primary and rugged, not just like the craft breweries and bars in hipster neighborhoods that I’m used to. It was purposeful.
Go inside and order a HooDoo beer after which head again outdoors to the picnic tables to take pleasure in your frosty brew. It didn’t take me lengthy to make associates with some locals I shared the picnic desk with. HooDoo Brewing doesn’t have meals, as an alternative, they’ve varied meals vehicles that come every night time and park on the premises serving up meals to the hungry beer drinkers. I beloved the out of doors vibe; everybody absorbing the daylight and having fun with the outside and laid-back really feel.
8. Operating Reindeer Ranch
As I pulled into the driveway two massive balls of brown fur ran out in entrance of my automobile I hit the brakes in a panic. I set free a sigh of reduction, it could have been fairly unhealthy if I had hit a reindeer as I entered the Operating Reindeer Ranch!
As reindeer roamed freely within the Operating Reindeer Ranch yard and across the automobiles the proprietor, Jane, greeted us and began filling our heads with fascinating reindeer info. I used to be there to not solely find out about reindeer however to additionally stroll with them via the forest – a novel Fairbanks exercise provided year-round. Examine my complete reindeer expertise and the way I almost bought myself run over.
My first go to to the ranch was in the summertime. There are few locations I am going again to a 2nd time as a result of there are simply so many locations to see on the planet that I’m not keen on do-overs. Nonetheless, as quickly as I knew I used to be going again to Fairbanks within the winter, I put Operating Reindeer Ranch on my must-see record…once more. I visited Jane’s distinctive reindeer expertise once I traveled via Fairbanks in the summertime just a few years again, however I used to be actually excited to see and stroll with the reindeer within the winter panorama.
My winter go to had some new surprises in retailer for me in comparison with my summer season go to. Along with the snow that was dolloped on the bushes, there was one factor that was vastly totally different on this go to to the reindeer – the folks! Jane was nonetheless there giving the fascinating historical past of reindeer and the way she ended up being what I name the ‘reindeer whisperer’, however the sheer quantity of people that had been additionally there to see the reindeer stunned me. In the summertime once I got here there have been solely 3 of us. Nonetheless, within the winter there have been almost 18 of us! Fortunately there are many lovable reindeer to go round.
Take a stroll via the boreal forest together with the reindeer, get photos, and study in regards to the fascinating lives of those mild animals. It should take you far past Christmas myths, and it’ll make you need to come again for extra in different seasons!
The Operating Reindeer Ranch is situated close to the College of Fairbanks. It operates year-round apart from Christmas when the reindeer produce other ‘vital’ work to do. Guide early because the tour has develop into fairly fashionable and sometimes fills up within the winter!
9. Morris Thompson Cultural Middle
Take a look at the Morris Thompson Cultural Middle and also you’ll rapidly have a full Fairbanks itinerary deliberate! The power was created by the Fairbanks Conference & Guests Bureau, the Alaska Public Lands Data Middle, and the Tanana Chiefs Convention.
The Morris Thompson Cultural Middle goals to encourage residents and guests to get out and discover Inside Alaska and Arctic Alaska in addition to to protect Athabascan languages and stick with it conventional data via Elder teachings. Right here it is possible for you to to seek out all the data you’ll want to your Fairbanks go to to Inside Alaska and Arctic Alaska.
Extra data: Morris Thompson Cultural Middle
10. Go to the Arctic Circle and Coldfoot Truck Cease – Day Journey
Fairbanks is the hopping-off level for the Arctic Circle, and the one approach to get to the Arctic Circle is to take one of many many Alaska bush flights or drive the Dalton Freeway; I did each! In case you have time whilst you go to Fairbanks head north out of city the place the pavement ends and the freeway begins.
The Dalton Freeway follows the Alaskan pipeline from Fairbanks to Coldfoot Alaska (a halfway truck cease) and barely past. The freeway was constructed as a provide street to assist the development of the pipeline in 1974. It’s a 414-mile street (nearly all of it grime) starting on the Elliott Freeway north of Fairbanks and ending at Deadhorse close to the Arctic Ocean. And it’s nonetheless used primarily at the side of the pipeline right this moment for upkeep crews, transport…and somewhat little bit of…tourism.
You would possibly assume that this opportunity to go to the Arctic Circle and drive the Dalton Freeway is simply obtainable in the summertime – however you’re improper! You are able to do this tour within the winter too! I’ve truly achieved it in the summertime and winter and beloved each journeys.
In the summertime, anticipate quite a lot of daylight to discover. You’ll cease at some outdated roadhouses, the Yukon River, the Arctic Circle, and Coldfoot. I truly stayed in Coldfoot for an evening and did extra exploring with a information mountaineering via the tundra and studying in regards to the historical past of this distinctive space earlier than flying in a bush aircraft again to Fairbanks.
You are able to do the identical type of journey within the winter with just a few additions. I flew as much as Coldfoot on an ideal winter day. It was spectacular to see the tundra from the aircraft lined in snow. We had lunch in Coldfoot on the truck cease after which hopped within the van and began the lengthy and interesting drive again to Fairbanks.
We stopped to see the pipeline, do some sledding, and benefit from the Arctic Circle and the Yukon. Lastly – I selected to do an add-on expertise the place we stopped at a cabin about 90 minutes north of Fairbanks to look at for the aurora. As we had been within the van we might see the aurora beginning to seem and by the point we arrived on the cabin, it was in full swing.
This was probably the greatest aurora viewing nights I had in Fairbanks – the lights danced for hours. Plus – the cabin offered an exquisite place to heat up and have snacks in between aurora viewing! It was a really lengthy day as we didn’t get again to Fairbanks till 5 AM! But it surely was soooo value it.
Extra Data for driving the Dalton Freeway
Northern Alaska Tour Firm – drive-up/fly-back variations in winter and summer season
Hire your Personal Automobile from Arctic Outfitters – gravel road-allowed car leases for the Dalton Freeway traveler
Dalton Freeway Shuttle
11. Aurora Ice Museum – Day Journey
Positioned on the Chena Scorching Springs Resort about an hour from Fairbanks is Alaska’s coolest museum! By coolest I imply, actually the good. At a chilling 25 levels Fahrenheit, the Aurora Ice Museum lives as much as its identify. It options the world’s largest year-round ice sculpture show. The sculptures within the museum are all created by Heather and Steve Brice who’re certainly very massive names in ice sculpting.
As you wander via the museum’s icy corridors, be ready to come across magnificent sculptures that appear nearly otherworldly. From life-sized animals to legendary creatures and complicated ice chandeliers, every creation is meticulously carved. Each nook reveals one thing new and astonishing – play an ice xylophone, crawl into an indoor igloo, or go to a frosted chapel!
Have a Drink on the Well-known Ice Bar
One of many highlights of the Aurora Ice Museum is its well-known “Ice Bar.” Step inside this frigid lounge space adorned with icy furnishings whereas having fun with your favourite beverage served in -10°F glasses made completely out of ice! It’s a really chilling expertise that can make your coronary heart race whereas maintaining you refreshed on the identical time.
In case you’re fortunate sufficient to go to throughout winter months when Alaska’s well-known Northern Lights illuminate the sky, put together your self for an much more enchanting encounter. The museum’s location presents a perfect vantage level for witnessing nature’s most mesmerizing mild present – dancing curtains of vibrant colours portray an indigo canvas above your head.
Extra data: Aurora Ice Museum at Chena Scorching Springs
12. Fountainhead Vintage Auto Museum
Calling all automobile fans! Go to the Fountainhead Vintage Auto Museum to delve into automotive historical past. This treasure trove showcases uncommon and fantastically restored vehicles from as early as 1898. Uncover how autos have developed all through time whereas appreciating their intricate designs and craftsmanship. Don’t miss the horseless carriages and the cycle automobiles.
However wait…the Fountainhead Vintage Auto Museum is a lot greater than a automobile museum. The actual allure comes from the early fashions and the period clothes on show with every automobile. It homes many equipment that convey the Artwork Deco interval to life. The museum is situated on the grounds of the Wedgewood Resort.
Extra data: Fountainhead Vintage Auto Museum
13. Pioneer Park
Not your typical museum or guests middle per se, Pioneer Park is a dwelling testomony to Fairbanks’ previous. This attraction in Alaska was created for the Alaska ‘67 Centennial Exposition to commemorate the one-hundredth anniversary of the state’s buy from Russia. It showcases 5 family-friendly instructional and group sights.
Pioneer Park isn’t simply an peculiar park; it’s additionally dwelling to a number of partaking museums that supply insights into Fairbanks’ cultural historical past. Nestled alongside the Chena River, this park recreates an early 1900s gold rush city with genuine log cabins remodeled into quirky outlets and eateries.
Make a journey again in time on the Pioneer Air Museum the place you possibly can marvel at classic plane or hop aboard a reproduction paddlewheel riverboat at The Riverboat Nenana Museum for a scenic cruise. With its playground, carousel, and practice that circles the perimeter, it’s straightforward to see how the park is a enjoyable, family-friendly day trip.
Extra data: Pioneer Park
14. Fairbanks Group Museum
Discover Fairbanks’ colourful previous at this charming group museum situated within the coronary heart of downtown Fairbanks. Hear tales about its pioneers, gold rush historical past, and the numerous function that the railroad performed in shaping this frontier metropolis. View fascinating displays on native industries like mining and canine mushing. Don’t overlook to take a look at their rotating displays which frequently spotlight native artists and group occasions. You’ll achieve a deeper understanding of how this vibrant metropolis got here to be.
Extra data: Fairbanks Group Museum
15. Alyeska Pipeline Customer Middle
Located alongside the long-lasting Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS), this distinctive attraction presents a captivating journey via the historical past, expertise, and environmental influence of one of many world’s largest pipeline programs. As you step into the guests middle, put together to be amazed by the sheer scale of TAPS. The pipeline stretches a formidable 800 miles from Prudhoe Bay on Alaska’s North Slope all the way in which to Valdez on its southern coast. It was inbuilt response to America’s rising demand for oil within the Seventies and has been working safely ever since.
The customer middle supplies a wonderful alternative to find out about how TAPS operates and its important function in transporting crude oil throughout this huge state. Participating displays showcase varied facets of pipeline building, upkeep, and security protocols. You’ll achieve insights into the intricate engineering methods used to beat challenges resembling permafrost circumstances and wildlife conservation efforts carried out alongside its route.
One spotlight of your go to will undoubtedly be exploring “Pipeline Alley.” This out of doors exhibit options an precise part of pipe permitting you to see up shut the way it capabilities. Marvel at its dimension and power whereas studying in regards to the modern measures taken to guard it from excessive climate circumstances like earthquakes and avalanches.
For these all for environmental stewardship, there are interactive shows that delve into Alyeska Pipeline Service Firm’s dedication to minimizing impacts on native ecosystems. Uncover their intensive monitoring packages aimed toward safeguarding wildlife habitats and guaranteeing clear waterways all through TAPS’ operation.
Extra data: Trans-Alaska Pipeline Viewpoint
16. Go to the Fairbanks Geophysical Institute
For these science-y folks – this can be a tremendous cool factor to do in Fairbanks. Go to the Geophysical Institute situated on the College of Alaska Fairbanks. Because it was established by an Act of Congress in 1946, scientists on the Geophysical Institute have studied geophysical processes from the middle of the Earth to the floor of the solar and past, turning information and observations into data helpful for state, Arctic, and nationwide priorities.
World-class researchers research all the pieces from the middle of the Earth to the middle of the Solar. After I was researching a narrative in regards to the northern lights in Fairbanks, I truly was capable of meet with a few of the scientists at GI and speak to them about aurora on different planets.
Nonetheless, for the vacationer – you may as well go to the institute and study extra about their analysis. They provide free public excursions in the summertime weekly on Wednesdays at 1 PM. In case you can’t make that point, they’ve self-guided excursions you are able to do. Additionally they run excursions out at Poker Flat Analysis Vary. Poker Flat is the biggest land-based rocket analysis vary on the planet and the one high-latitude rocket vary in america. Be a part of a tour to study in regards to the thrilling science that occurs on the vary and see a few of the services, together with the blockhouse advanced and the launch pads.
Take a look at the Fairbanks meals scene
Most individuals come to Fairbanks for journey – and there may be loads of that. Nonetheless one of many stunning issues about Fairbanks is the meals scene. For a city of 30,000 folks, I’m amazed on the ethnic range and high quality of meals in Fairbanks. And it’s not all seafood and steak! These are all locations that I take my tour teams once I’m there.
17. Thai Meals in Fairbanks
The Thai Home Restaurant was the primary to convey Thai meals to Fairbanks, in 1989. Now there are over 20 Thai eating places within the comparatively small city of Fairbanks. It’s the Thai capital of Alaska! There was a migration of Thai folks into the Alaska inside for gold mining; when that didn’t pan out, many stayed needing a livelihood. Eating places adopted. I recommend you attempt Thai Home and Bahn Thai – all the pieces is scrumptious – and genuine!
Extra data: Thai Home Restaurant
18. Strive Moldovan Meals at Soba
Sure – you learn that proper – there’s a Moldova restaurant in Fairbanks. I’m fairly positive my dwelling in Denver doesn’t actually have a Moldova restaurant. Soba serves genuine Japanese European meals and Moldovan wines. It’s the right hearty meals within the winter.
We tried the potato pierogies, pelmeni pork dumplings, cabbage wraps with rice and pork, beet soup, and don’t miss out on the bitter cherry crepes. It’s all so good!
Extra data: Soba Restaurant
19. The Crepery Restaurant
The Crepery is the place to be in downtown Fairbanks. It’s a preferred cease for locals and vacationers. They serve up candy and savory crepes and it’s a favourite place of mine for lunch. Widespread fillings embrace Brie and pear, in addition to smoked salmon. Gluten-free variations can be found.
Extra data: The Crepery
20. Pump Home Restaurant
The Pump Home is one among my favourite upscale eating places in Fairbanks. The historic constructing alongside the Chena River was reconstructed within the spring of 1978 giving a nod to the 1890’s “Gold Rush” motif and environment. All over the place you look you will notice relics from the wealthy and illustrious previous. In the summertime months, sit on the deck overlooking the historic Chena River and watch the Riverboat Discovery cross and the float planes land. The Pump Home serves extra conventional Alaskan truthful resembling steaks and seafood. Count on massive parts and nice drinks too.
Extra data: The Pump Home
Fairbanks Alaska – Your Dwelling Base for Winter Enjoyable
Fairbanks is the place all of the Alaska winter enjoyable appears to occur. In contrast to summer season the place so many tour choices are about cruises, the winter in Alaska is in regards to the inside and survival.
Touring overland in summer season is a troublesome course of; Alaska’s panorama is made up of quite a lot of spongy tundra (permafrost covers half of Alaska) and there are few roads. However winter abruptly makes all the pieces accessible. Rivers freeze and develop into highways to maneuver round on. The bottom hardens and abruptly Alaska sled canine can take you wherever.
Watch my winter adventures in Fairbanks under! Video by Michaela Potter
Alaska Winter Climate
I do know what you might be considering – it’s too chilly, there’s an excessive amount of snow, it’s too darkish. Nonetheless, in case you are going for a winter trip – don’t you need snow? And if you’ll see the Northern Lights – don’t you need darkness?
You is likely to be stunned to seek out out that the coastal areas don’t get as chilly as you assume – they hardly ever fall under 20F apart from the occasional storm. Up within the Arctic areas, they don’t get a lot snow as a result of it’s thought of a desert.
Nonetheless, Alaska’s inside does get chilly and has a lot of snow. There chances are you’ll expertise temperatures dipping into the -20F vary and get a lot of snow that can stick round all winter from October via March. All Alaskans know that you simply fight winter climate with the fitting gear. In case you have the fitting gear – you possibly can take pleasure in Alaska winter – even in Fairbanks!
I’ve traveled to some fairly chilly locations all over the world and have discovered some key gear that I tackle each winter journey. Take a look at my record of utmost winter gear I take advantage of
Month-to-month temperatures Coastal and Inside Alaska
Alaska Winter Driving
Most of those locations I’ve talked about do require a rental automobile, nevertheless it’s value it to courageous the winter roads so to get out and have all of those fantastic experiences. It’s straightforward to lease a automobile on the Fairbanks airport. I used Avis, however there are a variety of choices.
I might completely get an all-wheel drive automobile although as it’s obligatory and there have been just a few occasions once I was driving via quite a lot of snow on not-so-well-plowed again nation roads!
Do word that Fairbanks and the encircling space don’t use salt on their roads, however that doesn’t appear to trouble the locals a lot and I used to be capable of get round tremendous.
Plus in case you go to Alaska within the winter, you get launched to the distinctive Alaska winter tradition of plugging in your automobile at night time! Sure, that’s proper, your rental automobile will include an electrical chord that you need to use to plug in your automobile in all places you go and maintain the engine block from freezing.
Extra data: Fairbanks Rental Automobiles
Issues to do in Fairbanks within the Winter
Whereas Alaska is a well-liked dream vacation spot in the summertime, it will get little respect within the winter. The worry of frigid temperatures, lack of sunshine, and heavy snow scare off most individuals. Nonetheless, that’s the precise motive why I believed Fairbanks can be the right place to go for an Alaska winter journey – I needed to see how the hearty Alaskans lived and performed within the low season.
Plus you get a few bonuses to the Fairbanks winter, like Northern Lights and cheaper costs. My airfare from Denver to Fairbanks was solely a mere fraction of summer season costs, and fairly a bit lower than different hearty additional flung Scandinavian winter locations.
And whereas a Fairbanks Northern Lights journey might have introduced you to this lesser-known a part of Alaska, there are many different issues to do which makes Fairbanks the right spot for an Alaska winter journey trip!
21. Ice Fishing
Fairbanks is a winter wonderland for ice-fishing fans! In case you’re seeking to expertise the fun of catching fish via a frozen lake’s icy floor, look no additional than this unimaginable vacation spot. Nestled amidst scenic landscapes and frigid temperatures, this charming metropolis presents an exhilarating expertise for each novice and seasoned anglers alike.
Fairbanks is famend for its gorgeous frozen lakes and rivers that rework right into a winter playground for ice-fishing fans. With over 100 lakes inside a 50-mile radius, you’ll have countless alternatives to discover new spots and discover that excellent catch. The area boasts quite a few lakes teeming with varied fish species resembling Arctic char, northern pike, rainbow trout, and burbot.
Rods Alaskan Information Service presents a ton of various winter tous within the space and that features ice fishing. Don’t fear about getting chilly – you fish from inside a heat little hut/cabin on the ice. In case you go along with a information – you’ll have all the pieces you want, tools and a heat place to attend for the fish to chew! They even supply an aurora tour additionally – so you possibly can snag that Arctic Char below the northern lights!
Extra data: Rods Alaskan Information Service
22. Canine Mushing
Expertise Alaska’s primary winter sport – canine sledding. Any Alaska winter journey wants to incorporate some canine mushing! Fairbanks, with its gorgeous landscapes and frigid local weather, presents an ideal setting for this conventional mode of transportation.
Canine mushing has been an integral a part of Alaskan historical past and tradition for hundreds of years. Initially used as a way of transportation by indigenous peoples, right this moment it has developed into a preferred leisure sport and vacationer attraction. In Fairbanks, the place winters are lengthy and snow is plentiful, canine mushing stays deeply ingrained in native traditions.
The true stars of canine sledding are undoubtedly the unimaginable sled canine themselves. These extremely skilled canine athletes possess outstanding endurance and power. Siberian Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes, and Alaskan Huskies are generally discovered breeds in sled canine groups as a result of their distinctive cold-weather adaptability.
Fairbanks boasts an intensive community of well-groomed trails that wind via breathtaking forests and frozen landscapes. Whether or not you’re a newbie or an skilled adventurer, there are alternatives obtainable for all ability ranges. From shorter introductory rides to multi-day expeditions throughout distant territories resembling Denali Nationwide Park – there’s one thing for everybody!
Go to Mushing Faculty and discover ways to function a canine sledding crew
There are such a lot of selections and kinds to select from round Fairbanks for canine mushing. Nonetheless, I used to be on the lookout for a extra hands-on expertise as I needed to study extra about methods to mush my very own crew. Discover Fairbanks really helpful I take a look at a brand new, younger operation in Two Rivers, The Final Frontier Mushing Co-op.
Not solely did I discover ways to mush your individual crew in a half-day ‘mushing faculty’ tour, however I additionally realized a wealth of details about the canine racing tradition of Alaska and what it takes to run a racing kennel. The younger homeowners of the Co-op all have critical backgrounds in racing and due to that, they need to supply guests an actual immersive expertise at their sled canine kennels. Their purpose is to have folks see how a lot the canine love their job and expertise the true Alaska.
However I need to warn you, when you discover ways to mush your individual crew of canine, you’ll by no means need to return to easily using in a canine sled once more. I used to be bitten by the canine sledding Alaska bug and may’t wait to return once more!
Extra data: Final Frontier Mushing Co-op. Positioned simply half-hour outdoors of Fairbanks, the Co-op presents day excursions, expedition-style excursions, and aurora excursions! Examine and see my mushing faculty expertise.
23. Winter Heat-Up at Chena Scorching Springs – Day Journey
Probably the most fashionable stops round Fairbanks is a visit to Chena Scorching Springs. Simply hop on the Chena Scorching Springs street and drive it till the top – about an hour from Fairbanks. You’ll arrive at a heat and toasty Alaskan winter wonderland.
This can be a larger vacationer operation than the others I discussed above, nevertheless, it’s value a cease – particularly within the winter! It’s not simply in regards to the sizzling springs, the resort additionally presents snowshoeing, ice skating, snowmobiling, and canine sledding.
I like to recommend merely making this a day journey because the lodging choices aren’t that nice until you get a cabin.
Nonetheless, we booked somewhat cabin set away from different housing and loved our heat cozy spot whereas the snow fell outdoors. After an enormous hike, we went for a soak within the sizzling springs at night time. The wind was blustery and the snow was flying whereas we had a surreal expertise floating across the many artifical sizzling spring swimming pools within the night. It was simply what our sore legs wanted! Sadly the attractive snowfall ruined our probabilities to see aurora there, nevertheless it’s an excellent spot to situate your self to see the aurora!
Extra data: Chena Scorching Springs Resort. Spend an evening or two off-grid on this idyllic spot and spring! Learn evaluations of Chena Scorching Springs on Journey Advisor.
24. View the Northern Lights
Fairbanks is without doubt one of the prime spots on Earth for witnessing the breathtaking spectacle often known as the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights. It’s really a paradise for aurora borealis hunters; nevertheless, catching sight of these elusive inexperienced waves dancing throughout the sky isn’t only a piece of cake. Plan your go to between September and April when nights are longer and darker – excellent circumstances for recognizing these shimmering Northern Lights.
Location issues! To maximise your possibilities of recognizing the Northern Lights, escape from town lights. Head out to distant areas away from mild air pollution or get cozy at one among Fairbanks’ charming lodges the place you possibly can stare upon stars with none interference. Bear in mind: It’s all about discovering that candy spot the place darkness reigns supreme.
Additionally, needless to say one of many the explanation why Fairbanks (the inside) is such an excellent place to view the northern lights is as a result of it’s inland and often has clear skies. In contrast to the coastal areas and international locations like Iceland.
On the subject of witnessing the celestial Aurora Borealis portray its approach throughout Alaska’s skies, persistence is vital — until you’ve been blessed by some type of cosmic cheat code! Generally the Northern Lights seem early; typically they make you wait.
Have an Alaska Aurora Expertise at Aurora Bear
Frank and Miriam will gladly welcome you into their dwelling and Alaska lifestyle on their off-grid dwelling an hour north of Fairbanks. They provide nightly Northern Lights excursions and images instruction. They solely tackle small teams to allow them to present an intimate degree of service since they’re internet hosting you of their dwelling. They’re located completely for Northern Lights viewing north of Fairbanks below the aurora oval and amongst a backdrop of gorgeous forest.
As well as, they share their fascinating perspective on Alaska since they each got here from Germany just lately and determined to make this their new dwelling. They fell in love with the Alaskan wilderness and have embraced it as their new dwelling.
All of us grew to become quick associates and even got here again out to satisfy them for a day of snowshoeing earlier than we departed! Their hospitality was phenomenal to not point out their darn cute canine you’ll fall in love with. Aurora Bear is by far my favourite place to attend and look ahead to Northern Lights. Additionally it is the place I take my Ottsworld Tour Group!
25. Go to Denali and trip the Winter Aurora Prepare – Day Journey
Most individuals assume that Denali Nationwide Park is simply open in the summertime, nevertheless it’s truly open year-round! Winter is a good time to go to Denali Nationwide Park because the crowds have all left, and also you’ll discover that you’ve got the place to your self! Cease in on the customer middle and ask to ‘borrow’ some snow sneakers and poles, and also you’ll be capable of tackle a few of the winter trails.
Denali is a few 2-hour drive south of Fairbanks, however if you’d like an actual distinctive journey take the Denali in a Day Alaska winter practice journey the place you might be pushed all the way down to Denali (with just a few scenic stops alongside the way in which), snowshoe within the nationwide park there, after which hop on the northbound Aurora Winter Prepare and slowly come again to Fairbanks by way of the Alaska Railroad!
Today tour means that you can go to Denali Nationwide Park, and trip the winter practice all utilizing Fairbanks as your hub! Examine my winter practice expertise right here.
Extra data: Denali in a Day on the AKRR Web site
26. Snowshoeing Nature Walks
Numerous locations in Fairbanks supply snowshoeing excursions within the winter. However in case you actually need to get out and recognize the outside, study in regards to the winter natural world, and the ecosystem of life amongst all of the snow – then you definately need to take a look at Leaf Out Excursions.
This can be a native small operator that I take advantage of on my Ottsworld Alaska winter excursions. I like to assist small companies once I journey, so once I met Shannon from Leaf Out a nature information working her personal little guiding enterprise I used to be fairly excited. She took me out round her cabin to go snowshoeing within the woods. She’s a naturalist and the snowshoe hike was extra like an interactive classroom – I realized SO MUCH. I performed “Guess that Skat”, realized about studying animal tracks within the snow and understanding which approach they had been strolling, and realized that squirrels are messy eaters!
If you’re touring independently round Fairbanks – you should definitely lookup Leaf Out and meet Shannon for a hike or snowshoe – she’s a wealth of information and a type of superior bad-ass Alaska ladies.
Extra Data: Leaf Out Nature Guides
27. Go to the Fairbanks Curling Membership
We’ve all seen it in the course of the Winter Olympics – the unusual and international sport of curling. I’m all the time intrigued by issues which are particular to a area – and the game of curling is unquestionably particular to the far north. The Fairbanks Curling Membership is proud to be the oldest organized sports activities group in Alaska. In case you go to Fairbanks within the winter and marvel, “What do the locals do throughout these lengthy, chilly winters”, simply head to the curling membership and also you’ll get your reply.
There’s league play virtually each night time within the winter – so why not head to the Fairbanks Curling Membership, sit up within the viewing space, seize a beer (sure – there may be all the time a bar), and watch the locals play on this fascinating sport! Plus – there shall be loads of different native spectators there to reply your many questions on the game.
As well as, there are some alternatives to get hands-on and discover ways to curl your self! I’ve this as an exercise in my Ottsworld Alaska winter tour and it’s all the time a spotlight. Or you possibly can all the time go to the Fairbanks Curling Membership web site and ask about newbie programs!
Extra Data: Fairbanks Curling Membership
28. Fairbanks Ice Carving
Fairbanks is dwelling to the World Ice Carving Championship. Every February the very best ice sculptors on the planet compete. So after all, in case you are visiting in the course of the championship – it is best to undoubtedly head to the Ice Park and test it out and see the artists in motion.
Even after the competitors is over – the ice sculptures stay on show and you may stroll via and examine them for the rest of the winter…or till they soften! It does require a ticket to get in – nevertheless it’s value it to see these distinctive artistic endeavors. It’s significantly stunning at night time when the sculptures are lit up and appear to glow.
As well as, you possibly can study extra about Alaska ice carving on the Fairbanks Ice Museum. This museum is open year-round and can take you thru the historical past of carving and the competitions. As well as – in the summertime they provide courses so you possibly can discover ways to carve your individual ice artwork!
29. Snow Machining
Whereas in Fairbanks, be sure you attempt to journey across the Alaska wilderness like a neighborhood – on a snow machine! We name them snowmobiles within the decrease 48, however if you wish to slot in whereas touring in Alaska – you higher name it a snow machine!
There are a selection of locations the place you possibly can guide a tour – from just a few hours to a snowmobile multi-day tour. If you wish to simply get your toes moist and see what it’s like, then take a look at Rod’s Alaskan Information Service. They provide a lot of totally different excursions and you may mix them with issues like ice fishing or canine sledding.
I did a half-day tour with them and I used to be actually impressed with the standard of their tools and the extent of instruction. They are going to present all the heat winter gear you want together with boots and gloves. The snowmobiles are additionally in actually nice situation. I additionally beloved that they gave you time by yourself to simply zip across the lake and have a look by your self with out having to all the time observe the group!
Now you might be all set to expertise winter and summer season adventures in and outdoors of Fairbanks!
The place to remain in Fairbanks
This can be a very nice lodge situated in Downtown. It’s an ideal location to have the ability to stroll to all of these nice ethnic eating places, and bars, get presents, and the Ice Museum. Plus, it’s near the river and you are able to do a lot of good walks across the river.
Test costs and availability for the Springhill Suites Downtown | Learn evaluations for the Springhill Suites on TripAdvisor | Seek for different resorts in Fairbanks
Pike’s Waterfront Lodge
Positioned on the banks of the Chena River – this massive lodge is a good location for the airport and the practice station. It has a stunning restaurant related to it and within the winter they even have some particular aurora viewing areas arrange the place you possibly can maintain heat whereas ready. There’s all the time quite a lot of hustle and bustle at this lodge!
Test costs and availability for Pike’s Waterfront Lodge | Learn evaluations for Pike’s Waterfront Lodge on TripAdvisor | Seek for different resorts in Fairbanks
Bear Lodge at Wedgewood
That is additionally a fairly large lodge typically utilized by cruise firms in the summertime. The lodge is sweet and it’s situated by many issues on this record – like Creamers Area, Wedgewood Wildlife Sanctuary and Trails, and the Vintage Automotive Museum.
Lodging outdoors of Fairbanks
If you wish to get actually off the overwhelmed path, then go spend an evening outdoors of Fairbanks on the Lodge at Black Rapids.
Lodge at Black Rapids – a Fashionable-Day Roadhouse
A 2 hour drive south of Fairbanks you’ll go deep into the Alaskan wilderness and historical past on the Lodge at Black Rapids. This spectacular lodge made from slate and timber was made by hand by homeowners Annie and Mike Hopper.
It took them 10 years to construct it! Now it sits completely perched on a hill overlooking the Black Rapids Glacier located on Richardson Freeway, what was the outdated important freeway between Anchorage and Fairbanks. Nonetheless, now because the new Parks Freeway has been constructed, this route via the Japanese Alaska Vary has develop into the street much less traveled and is seldom seen by vacationers.
Uncover all of the issues to do in Anchorage in Summer time or Winter
As well as, this route was additionally dwelling to historic roadhouses that had been constructed to serve vacationers again in 1904 touring the Valdez-Fairbanks path. In truth, Annie has a ‘labor of affection’ venture at the moment restoring the outdated Black Rapids roadhouse that sits slightly below the brand new lodge.
Black Rapids Lodge is type of like a modern-day roadhouse; a spot to cease, get a heat meal, a cushty mattress, and native hospitality. However in contrast to conventional roadhouses, you’ll need to keep some time as a result of Annie and Michael have an unimaginable record of outside winter adventures so that you can pattern.
Top-of-the-line actions they provide is a snowshoeing journey to a close-by ice cave. Black Rapids equipped all the gear and are joyful to lend additional heat climate gear in case you want it. You are able to do these hikes or snowboarding independently or rent a neighborhood information by way of Black Rapids.
The rugged luxurious lodge is simply the way you need to spend your winter in Alaska; having fun with the outside after which having a heat, snug place to come back ‘dwelling’ to with somewhat pampering. It’s a spot the place you’ll really feel instantly at dwelling.
Keep at The Lodge at Black Rapids for a weekend and have a number of adventures! Learn evaluations for The Lodge at Black Rapids on TripAdvisor
See my tales on different ‘underdog’ cities and areas you shouldn’t overlook