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 massive landlocked cities in Alaska, Fairbanks is commonly neglected because it’s not a cruise port. However that doesn’t imply that there aren’t 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 development. Now it acts because the outpost of Alaska’s Inside.
I’ve been to Fairbanks 5 completely different instances in summer time and winter. In truth, I like Fairbanks a lot that I even run Ottsworld Excursions there! Fingers down Fairbanks is the most effective place to essentially get to know the hearty individuals of the inside of Alaska. It’s additionally the most effective place to have an opportunity to see the aurora from September by way of April.
Dwelling 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 dwell on this excessive atmosphere on the sting of the Arctic. It’s a must to embrace change when you dwell in Alaska; daylight modifications drastically from daily shedding 6 minutes of daylight (practically an hour each week!) because it heads in the direction of December twenty first and positive aspects 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 automobiles are outfitted with a number of electrical “heating” gadgets that facilitate beginning in the course of the coldest time and must be plugged in to maintain heat.
“When it will get chilly, we simply get shut,” an area Fairbanks man informed me once I requested how he survived the winters.
However with the summer time 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 Anticipate From This Fairbanks Listing
There are a selection of operators to select from which are effectively established; nonetheless, in my travels, I wish to deal with 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. When you simply dig a bit bit, you could find these smaller, particular person experiences that may be more durable to get to or much more costly.
Fortunately although you don’t need to dig – I’ve compiled all of those superior Fairbanks issues to do into this checklist. I’ve organized the issues to do in Fairbanks by summer time, winter, and each seasons. My objective is that can assist you expertise a singular Fairbanks journey that takes you a bit off the vacationer monitor 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 previous gold-mining city. Because of being introduced up within the Midwest, I’m at all times intrigued with cities and communities which are landlocked and within the center, which are overshadowed by their extra common neighbors (ahem…Anchorage).
1. Fountainhead Wedgewood Wildlife Sanctuary & Trails
Simply exterior my resort was the Fountainhead Wedgewood Wildlife Sanctuary – a sequence of trails winding by way of the boreal forest, excellent for operating and strolling. After spending every week within the treeless tundra round Nome I used to be excited to see timber once more once I bought again to Fairbanks!
I bumped into many individuals taking their canine out for walks and birdwatching as I did a bit 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 completely satisfied I took my telephone with me to take some photos alongside the best way!
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 can even 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 trying round on the big 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 concerning 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 timber which are endemic to Alaska and find out how they dwell 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 time.
Children will love the Babula Kids’s Backyard the place Alaska’s largest hedge maze beckons. Its well-designed pathways meander by way of lush greenery. Children can discover completely different sections named after beloved storybook characters like Peter Rabbit or Cinderella. Every space options plant species fastidiously chosen to mirror parts from these timeless tales – really bringing tales to life!
Extra data: Georgeson Botanical Backyard
4. Tanana Valley Railroad Museum
All aboard! Prepare for an enthralling journey by way of 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 vital position in shaping Northern Alaska as you discover classic railcars crammed with intriguing artifacts from yesteryear. You even take a experience on one of many park’s miniature trains!
Extra data: 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 seeking fortune. This huge gold dredge, towering over the panorama, as soon as extracted hundreds of thousands of ounces of gold from the icy floor.
Now retired however meticulously preserved, it’s a nationwide monument the place you may study 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.
While 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 way of time as they share fascinating tales and insights. You’ll be taught concerning 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 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 smooth white constructing I used to be shocked to seek out fashionable structure in a small group. And the shock didn’t cease there. The reveals contained in the Alaska Museum of the North had been equally spectacular. There was a big Alaska pure historical past part that may totally educate you concerning the grand state.
And upstairs was a powerful array of up to date and fashionable artwork carried out by Alaskan artists. I liked the upstairs reveals as I’m a contemporary artwork buff. Lots 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, 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 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 few years. Hopefully, in 2024 will probably 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 concerning 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 type – it was fundamental and rugged, not just like the craft breweries and bars in hipster neighborhoods that I’m used to. It was practical.
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 mates with some locals I shared the picnic desk with. HooDoo Brewing doesn’t have meals, as a substitute, they’ve varied meals vehicles that come every night time and park on the premises serving up meals to the hungry beer drinkers. I liked 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 massive balls of brown fur ran out in entrance of my automobile I hit the brakes in a panic. I let loose a sigh of reduction, it might 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 vehicles the proprietor, Jane, greeted us and began filling our heads with fascinating reindeer details. I used to be there to not solely study reindeer however to additionally stroll with them by way of the forest – a singular Fairbanks exercise supplied year-round. Examine my whole reindeer expertise and the way I practically bought 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 the planet that I’m not keen on do-overs. Nevertheless, 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 checklist…once more. I visited Jane’s distinctive reindeer expertise once I traveled by way of 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 time go to. Along with the snow that was dolloped on the timber, there was one factor that was vastly completely different on this go to to the reindeer – the individuals! 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. Nevertheless, within the winter there have been practically 18 of us! Fortunately there are many lovable reindeer to go round.
Take a stroll by way of the boreal forest together with the reindeer, get photos, and be taught concerning the fascinating lives of those light animals. It’s going to take you far past Christmas myths, and it’ll make you wish 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 ‘vital’ work to do. Ebook early because the tour has change into fairly common and infrequently 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 ability 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 keep on conventional information by way of Elder teachings. Right here it is possible for you to to seek out all the knowledge you’ll want in 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 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! You probably 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 street to assist the development of the pipeline in 1974. It’s a 414-mile street (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 with the pipeline in the present day for upkeep crews, delivery…and a bit little bit of…tourism.
You may assume that this opportunity to go to the Arctic Circle and drive the Dalton Freeway is barely out there in the summertime – however you’re unsuitable! You are able to do this tour within the winter too! I’ve really carried out it in the summertime and winter and liked each journeys.
In the summertime, anticipate quite a lot 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 way of the tundra and studying concerning the historical past of this distinctive space earlier than flying in a bush airplane 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 airplane coated 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 supplied 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! However it was soooo value it.
Extra Data for driving the Dalton Freeway
Northern Alaska Tour Firm – drive-up/fly-back variations in winter and summer time
Hire your Personal Automobile from Arctic Outfitters – gravel road-allowed vehicle leases for the Dalton Freeway traveler
Dalton Freeway Shuttle
11. Aurora Ice Museum – Day Journey
Positioned on the Chena Sizzling 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 by way of 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 totally out of ice! It’s a very chilling expertise that may make your coronary heart race whereas conserving you refreshed on the similar time.
When 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 great 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 Sizzling Springs
12. Fountainhead Vintage Auto Museum
Calling all automobile fanatics! 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 developed all through time whereas appreciating their intricate designs and craftsmanship. Don’t miss the horseless carriages and the cycle vehicles.
However wait…the Fountainhead Vintage Auto Museum is a lot greater than a automobile museum. The true attraction 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 heart 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 points of interest.
Pioneer Park isn’t simply an atypical park; it’s additionally house to a number of partaking museums that provide 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 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 Neighborhood 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 position that the railroad performed in shaping this frontier metropolis. View fascinating reveals on native industries like mining and canine mushing. Don’t neglect to take a look at their rotating reveals which regularly spotlight native artists and group occasions. You’ll achieve a deeper understanding of how this vibrant metropolis got here to be.
Extra data: Fairbanks Neighborhood Museum
15. Alyeska Pipeline Customer Middle
Located alongside the long-lasting Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS), this distinctive attraction presents an interesting journey by way of the historical past, know-how, 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 powerful 800 miles from Prudhoe Bay on Alaska’s North Slope all the best way 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 heart gives a wonderful alternative to study how TAPS operates and its vital position in transporting crude oil throughout this huge state. Participating reveals showcase varied elements of pipeline development, upkeep, and security protocols. You’ll achieve insights into the intricate engineering strategies used to beat challenges corresponding to 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 features. Marvel at its dimension and energy whereas studying concerning 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 geared 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 individuals – 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 examine every thing from the middle of the Earth to the middle of the Solar. After I was researching a narrative concerning the northern lights in Fairbanks, I really was in a position to meet with a number of the scientists at GI and speak to them about aurora on different planets.
Nevertheless, for the vacationer – you can even 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. When 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 most important land-based rocket analysis vary on the planet and the one high-latitude rocket vary in america. Be a part of a tour to be taught concerning the thrilling science that occurs on the vary and see a number of the amenities, 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 may be loads of that. Nevertheless one of many stunning issues about Fairbanks is the meals scene. For a city of 30,000 individuals, I’m amazed on the ethnic variety 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 individuals 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 thing is scrumptious – and genuine!
Extra data: Thai Home Restaurant
18. Attempt Moldovan Meals at Soba
Sure – you learn that proper – there’s a Moldova restaurant in Fairbanks. I’m fairly positive my house in Denver doesn’t also have a Moldova restaurant. Soba serves genuine Japanese European meals and Moldovan wines. It’s the proper 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. Standard 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 considered one of 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 move and the float planes land. The Pump Home serves extra conventional Alaskan honest corresponding to steaks and seafood. Anticipate 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. Not like summer time the place so many tour choices are about cruises, the winter in Alaska is concerning the inside and survival.
Touring overland in summer time 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 all of the sudden makes every thing accessible. Rivers freeze and change into highways to maneuver round on. The bottom hardens and all of the sudden 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’re pondering – it’s too chilly, there’s an excessive amount of snow, it’s too darkish. Nevertheless, 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 may be shocked 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-about a desert.
Nevertheless, Alaska’s inside does get chilly and has a lot of snow. There you could expertise temperatures dipping into the -20F vary and get a lot of snow that may stick round all winter from October by way of March. All Alaskans know that you just fight winter climate with the fitting gear. You probably have the fitting gear – you may get pleasure from 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 checklist 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, nevertheless it’s value it to courageous the winter roads to be able to get out and have all of those great experiences. It’s straightforward to hire a automobile on the Fairbanks airport. I used Avis, however there are a selection of choices.
I’d completely get an all-wheel drive automobile although as it’s crucial and there have been just a few instances once I was driving by way of quite a lot 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 high-quality.
Plus when 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 should utilize 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. Nevertheless, that’s the precise cause why I believed Fairbanks could be the proper place to go for an Alaska winter journey – I wished 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 time costs, and fairly a bit lower than different hearty additional flung Scandinavian winter locations.
And whereas a Fairbanks Northern Lights journey could have introduced you to this lesser-known a part of Alaska, there are many different issues to do which makes Fairbanks the proper spot for an Alaska winter journey trip!
21. Ice Fishing
Fairbanks is a winter wonderland for ice-fishing fanatics! When you’re trying to expertise the joys of catching fish by way of 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 beautiful frozen lakes and rivers that rework right into a winter playground for ice-fishing fanatics. With over 100 lakes inside a 50-mile radius, you’ll have infinite alternatives to discover new spots and discover that excellent catch. The area boasts quite a few lakes teeming with varied fish species corresponding to 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. When you go together with a information – you’ll have every thing you want, gear and a heat place to attend for the fish to chunk! They even provide an aurora tour additionally – so you may snag that Arctic Char underneath 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 beautiful 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, in the present day it has developed into a preferred leisure sport and vacationer attraction. In Fairbanks, the place winters are lengthy and snow is ample, 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 exceptional endurance and energy. Siberian Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes, and Alaskan Huskies are generally discovered breeds in sled canine groups attributable to their distinctive cold-weather adaptability.
Fairbanks boasts an in depth community of well-groomed trails that wind by way of breathtaking forests and frozen landscapes. Whether or not you’re a newbie or an skilled adventurer, there are alternatives out there for all talent ranges. From shorter introductory rides to multi-day expeditions throughout distant territories corresponding to Denali Nationwide Park – there’s one thing for everybody!
Go to Mushing College and discover ways to function a canine sledding workforce
There are such a lot of decisions and kinds to select from round Fairbanks for canine mushing. Nevertheless, I used to be searching for a extra hands-on expertise as I wished to be taught extra about mush my very own workforce. Discover Fairbanks advisable 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 workforce in a half-day ‘mushing faculty’ 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 homeowners of the Co-op all have critical backgrounds in racing and due to that, they wish to provide guests an actual immersive expertise at their sled canine kennels. Their objective is to have individuals 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 workforce of canine, you’ll by no means wish 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 data: Final Frontier Mushing Co-op. Positioned simply half-hour exterior 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 Sizzling Springs – Day Journey
One of the common stops round Fairbanks is a visit to Chena Sizzling Springs. Simply hop on the Chena Sizzling Springs street and drive it till the top – about an hour from Fairbanks. You’ll arrive at a heat and toasty Alaskan winter wonderland.
It is a greater vacationer operation than the others I discussed above, nonetheless, it’s value a cease – particularly within the winter! It’s not simply concerning the scorching 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 except you get a cabin.
Nevertheless, we booked a bit cabin set away from different housing and loved our heat cozy spot whereas the snow fell exterior. After an enormous hike, we went for a soak within the scorching springs at night time. The wind was blustery and the snow was flying whereas we had a surreal expertise floating across the many artifical scorching spring swimming pools within the night. It was simply what our sore legs wanted! Sadly the attractive snowfall ruined our possibilities to see aurora there, nevertheless it’s an awesome spot to situate your self to see the aurora!
Extra data: Chena Sizzling Springs Resort. Spend an evening or two off-grid on this idyllic spot and spring! Learn critiques of Chena Sizzling Springs on Journey Advisor.
24. View the Northern Lights
Fairbanks is among the prime spots on Earth for witnessing the breathtaking spectacle generally known as the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights. It’s really a paradise for aurora borealis hunters; nonetheless, 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 probabilities of recognizing the Northern Lights, escape from town lights. Head out to distant areas away from mild air pollution or get cozy at considered one of 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, take into account that one of many the reason why Fairbanks (the inside) is such an awesome 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 nations like Iceland.
In terms of witnessing the celestial Aurora Borealis portray its manner throughout Alaska’s skies, endurance is vital — except you’ve been blessed by some type of cosmic cheat code! Generally the Northern Lights seem early; generally they make you wait.
Have an Alaska Aurora Expertise at Aurora Bear
Frank and Miriam will gladly welcome you into their house and Alaska lifestyle on their off-grid house 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 house. They’re located completely for Northern Lights viewing north of Fairbanks underneath the aurora oval and amongst a backdrop of gorgeous forest.
As well as, they share their attention-grabbing perspective on Alaska since they each got here from Germany not too long ago and determined to make this their new house. They fell in love with the Alaskan wilderness and have embraced it as their new house.
All of us turned quick mates 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. It is usually the place I take my Ottsworld Tour Group!
25. Go to Denali and experience the Winter Aurora Prepare – Day Journey
Most individuals assume that Denali Nationwide Park is barely open in the summertime, nevertheless it’s really open year-round! Winter is a superb 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 heart and ask to ‘borrow’ some snow footwear and poles, and also you’ll be capable to tackle a number of the winter trails.
Denali is a couple of 2-hour drive south of Fairbanks, however if you need an actual distinctive journey take the Denali in a Day Alaska winter practice journey the place you’re pushed right down to Denali (with just a few scenic stops alongside the best way), 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 permits you to go to Denali Nationwide Park, and experience 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
Plenty of locations in Fairbanks provide snowshoeing excursions within the winter. However when you actually wish to get out and recognize the outside, be taught concerning the winter wildlife, and the ecosystem of life amongst all of the snow – then you definitely wish to take a look at Leaf Out Excursions.
It is a native small operator that I exploit 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 operating 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 manner they had been strolling, and discovered that squirrels are messy eaters!
If you’re touring independently round Fairbanks – you’ll want to search for Leaf Out and meet Shannon for a hike or snowshoe – she’s a wealth of information and a kind 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 at all times 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. When 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 may be 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 at all times a bar), and watch the locals play on this fascinating sport! Plus – there can 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 at all times a spotlight. Or you may at all times go to the Fairbanks Curling Membership web site and ask about newbie programs!
Extra Data: Fairbanks Curling Membership
28. Fairbanks Ice Carving
Fairbanks is house to the World Ice Carving Championship. Every February the most effective 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’ll stroll by way of and look at 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 lovely at night time 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 lessons so you may discover ways to carve your individual ice artwork!
29. Snow Machining
Whereas in Fairbanks, ensure you attempt to journey across the Alaska wilderness like an area – 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 e book a tour – from just a few hours to a snowmobile multi-day tour. If you wish to simply get your ft moist and see what it’s like, then take a look at Rod’s Alaskan Information Service. They provide quite a lot of completely 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 gear 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 liked that they gave you time by yourself to only zip across the lake and have a look by your self with out having to at all times comply with the group!
Now you’re all set to expertise winter and summer time adventures in and outdoors of Fairbanks!
The place to remain in Fairbanks
It is 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 presents, and the Ice Museum. Plus, it’s near the river and you are able to do quite a lot of good walks across the river.
Test 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 massive lodge is a superb 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 may maintain heat whereas ready. There’s at all times quite a lot of hustle and bustle at this lodge!
Test 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 reasonably large resort typically utilized by cruise firms in the summertime. The resort is good and it’s situated by many issues on this checklist – like Creamers Area, Wedgewood Wildlife Sanctuary and Trails, and the Vintage Automotive Museum.
Lodging exterior of Fairbanks
If you wish to get actually off the crushed path, then go spend an evening exterior 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 previous predominant freeway between Anchorage and Fairbanks. Nevertheless, now for the reason that new Parks Freeway has been constructed, this route by way of the Japanese Alaska Vary has change 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 house 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’ challenge at present restoring the previous Black Rapids roadhouse that sits just under the brand new lodge.
Black Rapids Lodge is type of like a modern-day roadhouse; a spot to cease, get a heat meal, a snug mattress, and native hospitality. However not like conventional roadhouses, you’ll wish to keep some time as a result of Annie and Michael have an unimaginable checklist of outside winter adventures so that you can pattern.
The most effective actions they provide is a snowshoeing journey to a close-by ice cave. Black Rapids equipped all the gear and are completely satisfied to lend further heat climate gear when you want it. You are able to do these hikes or snowboarding independently or rent an area information by way of Black Rapids.
The rugged luxurious lodge is simply the way you wish to spend your winter in Alaska; having fun with the outside after which having a heat, snug place to come back ‘house’ to with a bit pampering. It’s a spot the place you’ll really feel instantly at house.
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