Welcome to ‘Inside Alaska’ – the land between the mountains. Fairbanks sits within the heart of the state and is the jumping-off level for visiting the excessive Arctic. One of many few huge landlocked cities in Alaska, Fairbanks is usually missed because it’s not a cruise port. However that doesn’t imply that there are usually not loads of issues to do in Fairbanks year-round!
Fairbanks has been a vital hub in Alaska ever since its inception. It began as a gold rush outpost for the area after which advanced right into a vital pipeline outpost throughout its building. Now it acts because the outpost of Alaska’s Inside.
I’ve been to Fairbanks 5 totally different instances in summer season and winter. In actual fact, I like Fairbanks a lot that I even run Ottsworld Excursions there! Arms down Fairbanks is the most effective place to essentially get to know the hearty folks of the inside of Alaska. It’s additionally the most effective place to have an opportunity to see the aurora from September by 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 atmosphere on the sting of the Arctic. It’s important to embrace change if you happen to reside in Alaska; daylight adjustments drastically from day after day shedding 6 minutes of daylight (almost an hour each week!) because it heads in direction of December twenty first and positive factors 6 minutes after that.
With the darkness comes the chilly and parking tons with electrical shops at each spot. As a result of excessive chilly temperatures in Fairbanks through the winter, most automobiles are outfitted with a number of electrical “heating” gadgets that facilitate beginning through 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 heart in the summertime I used to be impressed by all the out of doors trails and actions. Folks in Fairbanks like to get exterior in the summertime and winter, and so do I.
What To Count on From This Fairbanks Record
There are a selection of operators to select from which can be effectively established; nevertheless, in my travels, I wish to concentrate on the brand new, distinctive operators. They are typically the smaller, youthful corporations which can be serving the impartial traveler and offering a extra private contact than the bigger tour choices. For those who simply dig a bit of bit, you’ll find these smaller, particular person experiences that may 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 listing. I’ve organized the issues to do in Fairbanks by summer season, winter, and each seasons. My aim is that can assist you expertise a novel Alaska winter journey that takes you a bit off the vacationer monitor and is extra built-in domestically.
Issues to do in Fairbanks within the Summer season
Fairbanks typically goes unnoticed by vacationers in the summertime, however after all, I used to be not going to miss this previous gold-mining city. Due to being introduced up within the Midwest, I’m all the time intrigued with cities and communities which can be landlocked and within the center, which can be overshadowed by their extra widespread neighbors (ahem…Anchorage).
1. Fountainhead Wedgewood Wildlife Sanctuary & Trails
Simply exterior my resort was the Fountainhead Wedgewood Wildlife Sanctuary – a collection of trails winding by the boreal forest, excellent for working and strolling. After spending every week within the treeless tundra round Nome I used to be excited to see bushes once more once I obtained again to Fairbanks!
I bumped into many individuals taking their canines out for walks and birdwatching as I did a bit of 3-mile run over picket bridges and across the lakes. The paths hook up with the Creamer’s Discipline Migratory Waterfowl Refuge. That is one run the place I used to be blissful I took my cellphone with me to take some footage 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 domestically made, Alaskan artwork and crafts.
Not solely can you purchase produce there, however you too can plan on having lunch…and you must go hungry! There was a shocking 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 neighborhood.
Extra Data: Tanana Valley Farrmers Market Web site
The market is open from Might to September on Wednesdays and Saturdays
3. Georgeson Botanical Backyard
Be an beginner botanist for the day as you wander round Georgeson Botanical Backyard in quest of uncommon, far-north crops. You’ll uncover uncommon species of flowers and bushes which can be endemic to Alaska and find out how 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 lovely, particularly in spring and summer season.
Youngsters will love the Babula Youngsters’s Backyard the place Alaska’s largest hedge maze beckons. Its well-designed pathways meander by 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 replicate parts from these timeless tales – really bringing tales to life!
Extra info: Georgeson Botanical Backyard
4. Tanana Valley Railroad Museum
All aboard! Prepare for a captivating journey by railroad historical past with a go to to this pleasant museum located inside Pioneer Park. Marvel at classic locomotives and discover mannequin prepare layouts depicting numerous Alaskan landscapes.
Find out how steam locomotives performed an important position in shaping Northern Alaska as you discover classic railcars full of intriguing artifacts from yesteryear. You even take a journey on one of many park’s miniature trains!
Extra info: The Tanana Valley Railroad Museum is quickly 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 in quest of fortune. This large gold dredge, towering over the panorama, as soon as extracted thousands and thousands of ounces of gold from the icy floor.
Now retired however meticulously preserved, it’s a nationwide monument the place you may find out about Alaska’s mining heritage. It stands as a testomony to the unimaginable engineering and dedication of those that sought their goals throughout this historic interval.
If you step onto Gold Dredge 8’s property, prepare for an immersive expertise. The educated guides right here will take you on a journey by time as they share fascinating tales and insights. You’ll be taught in regards to the dredging course of that revolutionized gold mining and witness firsthand how these behemoth machines operated. Plus – you may even pan for gold as a part of your go to.
Extra info: 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 shocked to seek out fashionable structure in a small neighborhood. 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 latest and fashionable artwork executed by Alaskan artists. I cherished the upstairs displays as I’m a contemporary artwork buff. Most of the works had an Alaska theme to them not directly – 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, essentially the most recognizable specimen on the College of Alaska Fairbanks Campus of the North. Otto is an 8′ 9” brown bear that has greeted friends 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 is going to 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 large industrial constructing that was HooDoo Brewing Firm. In true Alaska type – 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 exterior to the picnic tables to get pleasure from 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 numerous meals vehicles that come every evening and park on the premises serving up meals to the hungry beer drinkers. I cherished the out of doors vibe; everybody absorbing the daylight and having fun with the outside and laid-back really feel.
8. Working Reindeer Ranch
As I pulled into the driveway two huge balls of brown fur ran out in entrance of my automobile I hit the brakes in a panic. I set free a sigh of aid, it could have been fairly unhealthy if I had hit a reindeer as I entered the Working Reindeer Ranch!
As reindeer roamed freely within the Working Reindeer Ranch yard and across the automobiles the proprietor, Jane, greeted us and began filling our heads with fascinating reindeer details. I used to be there to not solely find out about reindeer however to additionally stroll with them by the forest – a novel Fairbanks exercise provided year-round. Examine my total reindeer expertise and the way I almost obtained myself run over.
My first go to to the ranch was in the summertime. There are few locations I’m going again to a 2nd time as a result of there are simply so many locations to see on this 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 Working Reindeer Ranch on my must-see listing…once more. I visited Jane’s distinctive reindeer expertise once I traveled by Fairbanks in the summertime a couple of 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 shocked 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 by the boreal forest together with the reindeer, get footage, and be taught in regards to the fascinating lives of those light animals. It would take you far past Christmas myths, and it’ll make you need to come again for extra in different seasons!
The Working Reindeer Ranch is situated close to the College of Fairbanks. It operates year-round apart from Christmas when the reindeer produce other ‘necessary’ work to do. E book early because the tour has turn into fairly widespread and infrequently fills up within the winter!
9. Morris Thompson Cultural Heart
Take a look at the Morris Thompson Cultural Heart and also you’ll shortly have a full Fairbanks itinerary deliberate! The ability was created by the Fairbanks Conference & Guests Bureau, the Alaska Public Lands Data Heart, and the Tanana Chiefs Convention.
The Morris Thompson Cultural Heart 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 by Elder teachings. Right here it is possible for you to to seek out all the knowledge you’ll want on your Fairbanks go to to Inside Alaska and Arctic Alaska.
Extra info: Morris Thompson Cultural Heart
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 technique to get to the Arctic Circle is to take one of many many Alaska bush flights or drive the Dalton Freeway; I did each! When you have time when 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 highway to help the development of the pipeline in 1974. It’s a 414-mile highway (nearly all of it dust) starting on the Elliott Freeway north of Fairbanks and ending at Deadhorse close to the Arctic Ocean. And it’s nonetheless used primarily along side the pipeline at the moment for upkeep crews, transport…and a bit of little bit of…tourism.
You may suppose 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 really executed it in the summertime and winter and cherished each journeys.
In the summertime, anticipate loads of daylight to discover. You’ll cease at some previous roadhouses, the Yukon River, the Arctic Circle, and Coldfoot. I really stayed in Coldfoot for an evening and did extra exploring with a information climbing by 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 form of journey within the winter with a couple of 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 may see the aurora beginning to seem and by the point we arrived on the cabin, it was in full swing.
This was among the finest aurora viewing nights I had in Fairbanks – the lights danced for hours. Plus – the cabin offered a beautiful 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 price 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 best. At a chilling 25 levels Fahrenheit, the Aurora Ice Museum lives as much as its title. 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 huge names in ice sculpting.
As you wander by the museum’s icy corridors, be ready to come across magnificent sculptures that appear virtually 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 solely out of ice! It’s a very chilling expertise that can make your coronary heart race whereas retaining you refreshed on the similar time.
For those who’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 gives a great vantage level for witnessing nature’s most mesmerizing gentle present – dancing curtains of vibrant colours portray an indigo canvas above your head.
Extra info: 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 automobiles have advanced 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 true 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 info: Fountainhead Vintage Auto Museum
13. Pioneer Park
Not your typical museum or guests heart per se, Pioneer Park is a residing 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 academic and neighborhood sights.
Pioneer Park isn’t simply an strange park; it’s additionally residence to a number of participating 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 may 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 prepare that circles the perimeter, it’s simple to see how the park is a enjoyable, family-friendly time out.
Extra info: Pioneer Park
14. Fairbanks Neighborhood Museum
Discover Fairbanks’ colourful previous at this charming neighborhood museum situated within the coronary heart of downtown Fairbanks. Hear tales about its pioneers, gold rush historical past, and the numerous position that the railroad performed in shaping this frontier metropolis. View fascinating displays on native industries like mining and canine mushing. Don’t neglect to take a look at their rotating displays which frequently spotlight native artists and neighborhood occasions. You’ll acquire a deeper understanding of how this vibrant metropolis got here to be.
Extra info: Fairbanks Neighborhood Museum
15. Alyeska Pipeline Customer Heart
Located alongside the long-lasting Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS), this distinctive attraction gives an enchanting journey by the historical past, expertise, and environmental impression of one of many world’s largest pipeline techniques. As you step into the guests heart, 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 in-built response to America’s rising demand for oil within the Seventies and has been working safely ever since.
The customer heart offers a wonderful alternative to find out about how TAPS operates and its vital position in transporting crude oil throughout this huge state. Partaking displays showcase numerous elements of pipeline building, upkeep, and security protocols. You’ll acquire insights into the intricate engineering strategies used to beat challenges equivalent to permafrost situations 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 measurement and power whereas studying in regards to the revolutionary measures taken to guard it from excessive climate situations like earthquakes and avalanches.
For these thinking about 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 applications geared toward safeguarding wildlife habitats and guaranteeing clear waterways all through TAPS’ operation.
Extra info: Trans-Alaska Pipeline Viewpoint
16. Go to the Fairbanks Geophysical Institute
For these science-y folks – it is 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 knowledge and observations into info helpful for state, Arctic, and nationwide priorities.
World-class researchers research every little thing from the middle of the Earth to the middle of the Solar. Once I was researching a narrative in regards to the northern lights in Fairbanks, I really was in a position to meet with a few of the scientists at GI and speak to them about aurora on different planets.
Nonetheless, for the vacationer – you too can go to the institute and be taught extra about their analysis. They provide free public excursions in the summertime weekly on Wednesdays at 1 PM. For those who can’t make that point, they’ve self-guided excursions you are able to do. In addition they run excursions out at Poker Flat Analysis Vary. Poker Flat is the biggest land-based rocket analysis vary on this planet and the one high-latitude rocket vary in america. Be part of a tour to be taught in regards to the thrilling science that occurs on the vary and see a few of the services, together with the blockhouse complicated and the launch pads.
Take a look at the Fairbanks meals scene
Most individuals come to Fairbanks for journey – and there’s loads of that. Nonetheless one of many shocking 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 counsel you attempt Thai Home and Bahn Thai – every little thing is scrumptious – and genuine!
Extra info: 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 residence in Denver doesn’t also 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 info: 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 embody Brie and pear, in addition to smoked salmon. Gluten-free variations can be found.
Extra info: 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 note 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 equivalent to steaks and seafood. Count on huge parts and nice drinks too.
Extra info: The Pump Home
Fairbanks Alaska – Your Dwelling Base for Winter Enjoyable
Fairbanks is the place all of the Alaska winter enjoyable appears to occur. Not like 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 loads of spongy tundra (permafrost covers half of Alaska) and there are few roads. However winter all of the sudden makes every little thing accessible. Rivers freeze and turn into highways to maneuver round on. The bottom hardens and all of the sudden Alaska sled canines 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 pondering – it’s too chilly, there’s an excessive amount of snow, it’s too darkish. Nonetheless, if you’re going for a winter trip – don’t you need snow? And if you’ll see the Northern Lights – don’t you need darkness?
You may be shocked to seek out out that the coastal areas don’t get as chilly as you suppose – they not often 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 plenty of snow. There you could expertise temperatures dipping into the -20F vary and get plenty of snow that can stick round all winter from October by March. All Alaskans know that you simply fight winter climate with the proper gear. When you have the proper gear – you may get pleasure from Alaska winter – even in Fairbanks!
I’ve traveled to some fairly chilly locations world wide and have discovered some key gear that I tackle each winter journey. Take a look at my listing of maximum winter gear I exploit
Month-to-month temperatures Coastal and Inside Alaska
Alaska Winter Driving
Most of those locations I’ve talked about do require a rental automobile, however it’s price it to courageous the winter roads as a way to get out and have all of those great experiences. It’s simple to hire a automobile on the Fairbanks airport. I used Avis, however there are a variety of choices.
I’d completely get an all-wheel drive automobile although as it’s obligatory and there have been a couple of instances once I was driving by loads of snow on not-so-well-plowed again nation roads!
Do word that Fairbanks and the encompassing space don’t use salt on their roads, however that doesn’t appear to hassle the locals a lot and I used to be in a position to get round fantastic.
Plus if you happen to go to Alaska within the winter, you get launched to the distinctive Alaska winter tradition of plugging in your automobile at evening! Sure, that’s proper, your rental automobile will include an electrical chord that you should use to plug in your automobile in every single place you go and maintain the engine block from freezing.
Extra info: 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 cause why I believed Fairbanks could 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! For those who’re seeking to expertise the joys of catching fish by a frozen lake’s icy floor, look no additional than this unimaginable vacation spot. Nestled amidst scenic landscapes and frigid temperatures, this charming metropolis gives an exhilarating expertise for each novice and seasoned anglers alike.
Fairbanks is famend for its gorgeous frozen lakes and rivers that remodel right into a winter playground for ice-fishing fans. With over 100 lakes inside a 50-mile radius, you’ll have limitless alternatives to discover new spots and discover that excellent catch. The area boasts quite a few lakes teeming with numerous fish species equivalent to Arctic char, northern pike, rainbow trout, and burbot.
Rods Alaskan Information Service gives 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. For those who go along with a information – you’ll have every little thing you want, tools and a heat place to attend for the fish to chunk! They even supply an aurora tour additionally – so you may snag that Arctic Char beneath the northern lights!
Extra info: 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, gives 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 method of transportation by indigenous peoples, at the moment it has advanced 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 canines 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 in depth community of well-groomed trails that wind by breathtaking forests and frozen landscapes. Whether or not you’re a newbie or an skilled adventurer, there are alternatives obtainable for all talent ranges. From shorter introductory rides to multi-day expeditions throughout distant territories equivalent to Denali Nationwide Park – there’s one thing for everybody!
Go to Mushing College and learn to function a canine sledding staff
There are such a lot of selections and types 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 be taught extra about the best way to mush my very own staff. Discover Fairbanks beneficial I take a look at a brand new, younger operation in Two Rivers, The Final Frontier Mushing Co-op.
Not solely did I learn to mush your personal staff in a half-day ‘mushing college’ tour, however I additionally discovered a wealth of details about the canine racing tradition of Alaska and what it takes to run a racing kennel. The younger house owners 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 aim is to have folks see how a lot the canines love their job and expertise the true Alaska.
However I have to warn you, when you learn to mush your personal staff of canines, you’ll by no means need to return to easily driving in a canine sled once more. I used to be bitten by the canine sledding Alaska bug and might’t wait to return once more!
Extra info: Final Frontier Mushing Co-op. Positioned simply half-hour exterior of Fairbanks, the Co-op gives day excursions, expedition-style excursions, and aurora excursions! Examine and see my mushing college expertise.
23. Winter Heat-Up at Chena Scorching Springs – Day Journey
Probably the most widespread stops round Fairbanks is a visit to Chena Scorching Springs. Simply hop on the Chena Scorching Springs highway 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 greater vacationer operation than the others I discussed above, nevertheless, it’s price a cease – particularly within the winter! It’s not simply in regards to the sizzling springs, the resort additionally gives 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 except you get a cabin.
Nonetheless, we booked a bit of cabin set away from different housing and loved our heat cozy spot whereas the snow fell exterior. After a giant hike, we went for a soak within the sizzling springs at evening. 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 gorgeous snowfall ruined our possibilities to see aurora there, however it’s an incredible spot to situate your self to see the aurora!
Extra info: Chena Scorching Springs Resort. Spend an evening or two off-grid on this idyllic spot and spring! Learn critiques of Chena Scorching Springs on Journey Advisor.
24. View the Northern Lights
Fairbanks is among the prime spots on Earth for witnessing the breathtaking spectacle referred to 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 situations 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 gentle air pollution or get cozy at one among Fairbanks’ charming lodges the place you may stare upon stars with none interference. Bear in mind: It’s all about discovering that candy spot the place darkness reigns supreme.
Additionally, remember the fact that one of many the explanation why Fairbanks (the inside) is such an incredible place to view the northern lights is as a result of it’s inland and normally has clear skies. Not like the coastal areas and international locations like Iceland.
With regards to witnessing the celestial Aurora Borealis portray its method throughout Alaska’s skies, persistence is essential — except you’ve been blessed by some form 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 residence and Alaska lifestyle on their off-grid residence an hour north of Fairbanks. They provide nightly Northern Lights excursions and pictures instruction. They solely tackle small teams to allow them to present an intimate stage of service since they’re internet hosting you of their residence. They’re located completely for Northern Lights viewing north of Fairbanks beneath the aurora oval and amongst a backdrop of lovely forest.
As well as, they share their fascinating perspective on Alaska since they each got here from Germany not too long ago and determined to make this their new residence. They fell in love with the Alaskan wilderness and have embraced it as their new residence.
All of us grew to become quick associates and even got here again out to fulfill them for a day of snowshoeing earlier than we departed! Their hospitality was phenomenal to not point out their darn cute canines 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 journey the Winter Aurora Prepare – Day Journey
Most individuals suppose that Denali Nationwide Park is simply open in the summertime, however it’s really 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 the place to your self! Cease in on the customer heart and ask to ‘borrow’ some snow sneakers and poles, and also you’ll have the ability to tackle a few of the winter trails.
Denali is a couple of 2-hour drive south of Fairbanks, however if you would like an actual distinctive journey take the Denali in a Day Alaska winter prepare journey the place you might be pushed all the way down to Denali (with a couple of 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!
At the present time tour means that you can go to Denali Nationwide Park, and journey the winter prepare all utilizing Fairbanks as your hub! Examine my winter prepare expertise right here.
Extra info: Denali in a Day on the AKRR Web site
26. Snowshoeing Nature Walks
A lot of locations in Fairbanks supply snowshoeing excursions within the winter. However if you happen to actually need to get out and respect the outside, be taught in regards to the winter wildlife, and the ecosystem of life amongst all of the snow – then you definitely need to take a look at Leaf Out Excursions.
This can be a native small operator that I exploit on my Ottsworld Alaska winter excursions. I like to help 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 discovered SO MUCH. I performed “Guess that Skat”, discovered about studying animal tracks within the snow and understanding which method they had been strolling, and discovered that squirrels are messy eaters!
In case you are touring independently round Fairbanks – you’ll want to lookup Leaf Out and meet Shannon for a hike or snowshoe – she’s a wealth of data 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 through the Winter Olympics – the unusual and overseas sport of curling. I’m all the time intrigued by issues which can be 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. For those who 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 evening within the winter – so why not head to the Fairbanks Curling Membership, sit up within the viewing space, seize a beer (sure – there’s all the time a bar), and watch the locals play on this fascinating sport! Plus – there will probably 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 learn 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 may 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 residence to the World Ice Carving Championship. Every February the most effective ice sculptors on this planet compete. So after all, if you’re visiting through the championship – you must 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’ll stroll by and think about them for the rest of the winter…or till they soften! It does require a ticket to get in – however it’s price it to see these distinctive artworks. It’s significantly lovely at evening when the sculptures are lit up and appear to glow.
As well as, you may be taught 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 may learn to carve your personal ice artwork!
29. Snow Machining
Whereas in Fairbanks, be sure to 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 may ebook a tour – from a couple of 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 variety of totally different excursions and you’ll 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’ll present all the heat winter gear you want together with boots and gloves. The snowmobiles are additionally in actually nice situation. I additionally cherished 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 resort 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 items, and the Ice Museum. Plus, it’s near the river and you are able to do a variety of good walks across the river.
Verify costs and availability for the Springhill Suites Downtown | Learn critiques 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 huge lodge is a good location for the airport and the prepare 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 may maintain heat whereas ready. There’s all the time loads of hustle and bustle at this lodge!
Verify costs and availability for Pike’s Waterfront Lodge | Learn critiques for Pike’s Waterfront Lodge on TripAdvisor | Seek for different resorts in Fairbanks
Bear Lodge at Wedgewood
That is additionally a fairly large resort typically utilized by cruise corporations in the summertime. The resort is good and it’s situated by many issues on this listing – like Creamers Discipline, Wedgewood Wildlife Sanctuary and Trails, and the Vintage Automotive Museum.
Lodging exterior of Fairbanks
If you wish to get actually off the overwhelmed path, then go spend an evening exterior of Fairbanks on the Lodge at Black Rapids.
Lodge at Black Rapids – a Trendy-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 house owners 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 once the previous foremost freeway between Anchorage and Fairbanks. Nonetheless, now for the reason that new Parks Freeway has been constructed, this route by the Japanese Alaska Vary has turn into the highway much less traveled and is seldom seen by vacationers.
Uncover all of the issues to do in Anchorage in Summer season or Winter
As well as, this route was additionally residence to historic roadhouses that had been constructed to serve vacationers again in 1904 touring the Valdez-Fairbanks path. In actual fact, Annie has a ‘labor of affection’ mission at the moment restoring the previous Black Rapids roadhouse that sits just under the brand new lodge.
Black Rapids Lodge is form 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 listing of out of doors winter adventures so that you can pattern.
Among the best actions they provide is a snowshoeing journey to a close-by ice cave. Black Rapids provided all the gear and are blissful to lend additional heat climate gear if you happen to 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, comfy place to return ‘residence’ to with a bit of pampering. It’s a spot the place you’ll really feel instantly at residence.
Keep at The Lodge at Black Rapids for a weekend and have a number of adventures! Learn critiques for The Lodge at Black Rapids on TripAdvisor
See my tales on different ‘underdog’ cities and areas you shouldn’t overlook