Welcome to ‘Inside Alaska’ – the land between the mountains. Fairbanks sits within the middle of the state and is the jumping-off level for visiting the excessive Arctic. One of many few huge landlocked cities in Alaska, Fairbanks is usually ignored 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 essential hub in Alaska ever since its inception. It started as a gold rush outpost for the region after which developed right into a essential 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 really like Fairbanks a lot that I even run Ottsworld Excursions there! Arms down Fairbanks is one of the best place to actually get to know the hearty individuals of the inside of Alaska. It’s additionally one of the best place to have an opportunity to see the aurora from September via 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 stay on this excessive atmosphere on the sting of the Arctic. You must embrace change in case you stay in Alaska; daylight adjustments drastically from daily dropping 6 minutes of daylight (practically an hour each week!) because it heads in direction of December twenty first and beneficial properties 6 minutes after that.
With the darkness comes the chilly and parking heaps with electrical shops at each spot. As a result of excessive chilly temperatures in Fairbanks in the course of the winter, most autos are geared up with a number of electrical “heating” gadgets that facilitate beginning in the course of the coldest time and needs to be plugged in to maintain heat.
“When it will get chilly, we simply get shut,” a neighborhood Fairbanks man informed me once I requested how he survived the winters.
However with the summer season comes the lengthy days and a inhabitants with an abundance of ‘cabin fever’. As I drove across the metropolis middle in the summertime I used to be impressed by the entire outside trails and actions. Individuals in Fairbanks like to get outdoors in the summertime and winter, and so do I.
What To Count on From This Fairbanks Record
There are a selection of operators to select from which are nicely established; nonetheless, in my travels, I prefer to deal with the brand new, distinctive operators. They are typically the smaller, youthful corporations which are serving the impartial traveler and offering a extra private contact than the bigger tour choices. In the event you simply dig a little bit bit, you could find these smaller, particular person experiences that could 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 record. I’ve organized the issues to do in Fairbanks by summer season, winter, and each seasons. My purpose is that will help you expertise a singular Alaska winter journey that takes you a bit off the vacationer observe and is extra built-in domestically.
Issues to do in Fairbanks within the Summer season
Fairbanks usually goes unnoticed by vacationers in the summertime, however in fact, I used to be not going to miss this previous gold-mining city. Because of being introduced up within the Midwest, I’m all the time intrigued with cities and communities which are landlocked and within the center, which are overshadowed by their extra widespread neighbors (ahem…Anchorage).
1. Fountainhead Wedgewood Wildlife Sanctuary & Trails
Simply outdoors my lodge was the Fountainhead Wedgewood Wildlife Sanctuary – a sequence of trails winding via the boreal forest, good for operating and strolling. After spending every week within the treeless tundra around Nome I used to be excited to see bushes once more once I obtained again to Fairbanks!
I bumped into many individuals taking their canine out for walks and birdwatching as I did a little bit 3-mile run over wood bridges and across the lakes. The paths connect with the Creamer’s Subject Migratory Waterfowl Refuge. That is one run the place I used to be completely happy I took my telephone with me to take some footage 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 positioned 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 can too plan on having lunch…and you need to 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 an effective way to spend a day studying extra in regards to the neighborhood.
Extra Data: Tanana Valley Farrmers Market Website
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 in quest of uncommon, far-north crops. You’ll uncover uncommon species of flowers and bushes which are endemic to Alaska and find out how they stay and thrive within the wild local weather of Alaska’s sub-Arctic inside.
This five-acre backyard is a part of the College of Alaska Fairbanks campus and was formally opened in 1989 as a analysis facility. It’s now a vibrant inexperienced house that’s stunning, particularly in spring and summer season.
Children will love the Babula Kids’s Backyard the place Alaska’s largest hedge maze beckons. Its well-designed pathways meander via lush greenery. Children can discover totally different sections named after beloved storybook characters like Peter Rabbit or Cinderella. Every space options plant species rigorously chosen to replicate components from these timeless tales – actually bringing tales to life!
Extra data: Georgeson Botanical Garden
4. Tanana Valley Railroad Museum
All aboard! Prepare for a captivating journey via railroad historical past with a go to to this pleasant museum located inside Pioneer Park. Marvel at classic locomotives and discover mannequin prepare layouts depicting numerous Alaskan landscapes.
Learn the way steam locomotives performed a vital position in shaping Northern Alaska as you discover classic railcars stuffed 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 in quest of fortune. This huge 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 possibly can find out about Alaska’s mining heritage. It stands as a testomony to the unbelievable engineering and dedication of those that sought their goals throughout this historic interval.
Whenever you step onto Gold Dredge 8’s property, prepare for an immersive expertise. The educated guides right here will take you on a journey via time as they share charming tales and insights. You’ll study in regards to the dredging course of that revolutionized gold mining and witness firsthand how these behemoth machines operated. Plus – you possibly can even pan for gold as a part of your go to.
Extra data: Gold Dredge 8
Issues to do in Fairbanks Yr-Spherical
6. College of Alaska Museum of the North
As I pulled as much as the smooth white constructing I used to be stunned to search out trendy structure in a small neighborhood. And the shock didn’t cease there. The displays contained in the Alaska Museum of the North have 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 powerful array of up to date and trendy artwork finished 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 indirectly – however some have 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 company for greater than 40 years. And sure – Ottsworld met Otto.
The museum has been engaged on restoring Bus 142 from the story Into the Wild for the previous 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: University 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 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 outdoors to the picnic tables to get pleasure from your frosty brew. It didn’t take me lengthy to make buddies with some locals I shared the picnic desk with. HooDoo Brewing doesn’t have meals, as an alternative, they’ve numerous meals vans that come every evening and park on the premises serving up meals to the hungry beer drinkers. I cherished the outside 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 automotive I hit the brakes in a panic. I set free a sigh of reduction, it might have been fairly dangerous 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 information. I used to be there to not solely find out about reindeer however to additionally stroll with them via the forest – a singular Fairbanks exercise provided year-round. Examine my complete reindeer experience and how I nearly got 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 record…once more. I visited Jane’s unique reindeer experience once I traveled via Fairbanks in the summertime a number 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 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 have been additionally there to see the reindeer stunned 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 via the boreal forest together with the reindeer, get footage, and study in regards to the fascinating lives of those mild 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 positioned close to the College of Fairbanks. It operates year-round apart from Christmas when the reindeer produce other ‘essential’ work to do. Guide early because the tour has change into fairly widespread and sometimes fills up within the winter!
9. Morris Thompson Cultural Middle
Take a look at the Morris Thompson Cultural Middle and also you’ll shortly have a full Fairbanks itinerary deliberate! The power was created by the Fairbanks Conference & Guests Bureau, the Alaska Public Lands Data Middle, and the Tanana Chiefs Convention.
The Morris Thompson Cultural Middle goals to encourage residents and guests to get out and discover Inside Alaska and Arctic Alaska in addition to to protect Athabascan languages and stick with it conventional information via Elder teachings. Right here it is possible for you to to search out all the data you’ll want on your Fairbanks go to to Inside Alaska and Arctic Alaska.
Extra data: Morris Thompson Cultural Center
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! If in case 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 street to help 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 together with the pipeline at this time for upkeep crews, delivery…and a little bit little bit of…tourism.
You may assume that this opportunity to go to the Arctic Circle and drive the Dalton Freeway is just accessible in the summertime – however you’re incorrect! You are able to do this tour within the winter too! I’ve truly finished it in the summertime and winter and cherished each journeys.
In the summertime, anticipate a variety of daylight to discover. You’ll cease at some previous roadhouses, the Yukon River, the Arctic Circle, and Coldfoot. I truly stayed in Coldfoot for an evening and did extra exploring with a information climbing via the tundra and studying in regards to the historical past of this distinctive space earlier than flying in a bush airplane again to Fairbanks.
You are able to do the identical form of journey within the winter with a number of additions. I flew as much as Coldfoot on an ideal winter day. It was spectacular to see the tundra from the airplane 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 have 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 top-of-the-line 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! But it surely was soooo price it.
Extra Data for driving the Dalton Freeway
Northern Alaska Tour Company – drive-up/fly-back variations in winter and summer season
Rent your Own Car from Arctic Outfitters – gravel road-allowed car leases for the Dalton Freeway traveler
Dalton Highway 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 via the museum’s icy corridors, be ready to come across magnificent sculptures that appear virtually otherworldly. From life-sized animals to legendary creatures and complex 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 fully out of ice! It’s a very chilling expertise that can make your coronary heart race whereas retaining you refreshed on the identical time.
In the event 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 Hot Springs
12. Fountainhead Vintage Auto Museum
Calling all automotive fanatics! Go to the Fountainhead Vintage Auto Museum to delve into automotive historical past. This treasure trove showcases uncommon and superbly restored vehicles from as early as 1898. Uncover how autos have developed all through time whereas appreciating their intricate designs and craftsmanship. Don’t miss the horseless carriages and the cycle vehicles.
However wait…the Fountainhead Vintage Auto Museum is a lot greater than a automotive museum. The true attraction comes from the early fashions and the period clothes on show with every automotive. It homes many equipment that convey the Artwork Deco interval to life. The museum is positioned on the grounds of the Wedgewood Resort.
Extra data: Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum
13. Pioneer Park
Not your typical museum or guests middle 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 unusual park; it’s additionally house to a number of partaking museums that supply insights into Fairbanks’ cultural historical past. Nestled alongside the Chena River, this park recreates an early 1900s gold rush city with genuine log cabins reworked into quirky outlets and eateries.
Make a journey again in time on the Pioneer Air Museum the place you possibly can marvel at classic plane or hop aboard a reproduction paddlewheel riverboat at The Riverboat Nenana Museum for a scenic cruise. With its playground, carousel, and prepare that circles the perimeter, it’s simple to see how the park is a enjoyable, family-friendly time out.
Extra data: Pioneer Park
14. Fairbanks Group Museum
Discover Fairbanks’ colourful previous at this charming neighborhood museum positioned 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 overlook to take a look at their rotating displays which regularly spotlight native artists and neighborhood occasions. You’ll achieve a deeper understanding of how this vibrant metropolis got here to be.
Extra data: Fairbanks Community Museum
15. Alyeska Pipeline Customer Middle
Located alongside the long-lasting Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS), this distinctive attraction presents an enchanting journey via the historical past, know-how, and environmental affect of one of many world’s largest pipeline programs. As you step into the guests middle, put together to be amazed by the sheer scale of TAPS. The pipeline stretches a powerful 800 miles from Prudhoe Bay on Alaska’s North Slope all the best way 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 middle supplies a superb alternative to find out about how TAPS operates and its important position in transporting crude oil throughout this huge state. Partaking displays showcase numerous facets of pipeline building, upkeep, and security protocols. You’ll achieve insights into the intricate engineering strategies used to beat challenges akin to permafrost circumstances and wildlife conservation efforts applied alongside its route.
One spotlight of your go to will undoubtedly be exploring “Pipeline Alley.” This outside 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 in regards to the modern measures taken to guard it from excessive climate circumstances like earthquakes and avalanches.
For these excited about environmental stewardship, there are interactive shows that delve into Alyeska Pipeline Service Firm’s dedication to minimizing impacts on native ecosystems. Uncover their in depth monitoring packages geared toward safeguarding wildlife habitats and making certain 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 positioned 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 in regards to the northern lights in Fairbanks, I truly was capable of meet with a number of the scientists at GI and speak to them about aurora on different planets.
Nevertheless, for the vacationer – you can too go to the institute and study extra about their analysis. They provide free public excursions in the summertime weekly on Wednesdays at 1 PM. In the event 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 the USA. Be part of a tour to study in regards to the thrilling science that occurs on the vary and see a number of the services, together with the blockhouse advanced and the launch pads.
Take a look at the Fairbanks meals scene
Most individuals come to Fairbanks for journey – and there may be loads of that. Nevertheless one of many shocking issues about Fairbanks is the meals scene. For a city of 30,000 individuals, 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 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 strive Thai Home and Bahn Thai – every thing is scrumptious – and genuine!
Extra data: Thai House Restaurant
18. Strive Moldovan Meals at Soba
Sure – you learn that proper – there’s a Moldova restaurant in Fairbanks. I’m fairly certain my house in Denver doesn’t actually have a Moldova restaurant. Soba serves genuine Jap European meals and Moldovan wines. It’s the right hearty meals within the winter.
We tried the potato pierogies, pelmeni pork dumplings, cabbage wraps with rice and pork, beet soup, and don’t miss out on the bitter cherry crepes. It’s all so good!
Extra data: Soba Restaurant
19. The Crepery Restaurant
The Crepery is the place to be in downtown Fairbanks. It’s a preferred cease for locals and vacationers. They serve up candy and savory crepes and it’s a favourite place of mine for lunch. Well-liked 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 truthful akin to steaks and seafood. Count on huge parts and nice drinks too.
Extra data: The Pump House
Fairbanks Alaska – Your Residence Base for Winter Enjoyable
Fairbanks is the place all of the Alaska winter enjoyable appears to occur. In contrast to summer season the place so many tour choices are about cruises, the winter in Alaska is in regards to the inside and survival.
Touring overland in summer season is a tricky course of; Alaska’s panorama is made up of a variety of spongy tundra (permafrost covers half of Alaska) and there are few roads. However winter out of the blue makes every thing accessible. Rivers freeze and change into highways to maneuver round on. The bottom hardens and out of the blue 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 could be stunned to search out out that the coastal areas don’t get as chilly as you assume – 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-about a desert.
Nevertheless, Alaska’s inside does get chilly and has a number of snow. There you could expertise temperatures dipping into the -20F vary and get a number of snow that can stick round all winter from October via March. All Alaskans know that you just fight winter climate with the correct gear. If in case you have the correct gear – you possibly can get pleasure from Alaska winter – even in Fairbanks!
I’ve traveled to some fairly chilly locations around the globe and have discovered some key gear that I tackle each winter journey. Take a look at my list of extreme winter gear I use
Month-to-month temperatures Coastal and Inside Alaska
Alaska Winter Driving
Most of those locations I’ve talked about do require a rental automotive, but it surely’s price it to courageous the winter roads so as to get out and have all of those great experiences. It’s simple to lease a automotive on the Fairbanks airport. I used Avis, however there are a variety of choices.
I might completely get an all-wheel drive automobile although as it’s obligatory and there have been a number of instances once I was driving via a variety of snow on not-so-well-plowed again nation roads!
Do word that Fairbanks and the encircling space don’t use salt on their roads, however that doesn’t appear to hassle the locals a lot and I used to be capable of get round positive.
Plus in case you go to Alaska within the winter, you get launched to the distinctive Alaska winter tradition of plugging in your automotive at evening! Sure, that’s proper, your rental automotive will include an electrical chord that you should utilize to plug in your automotive in all places you go and keep the engine block from freezing.
Extra data: Fairbanks Rental Cars
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 concern of frigid temperatures, lack of sunshine, and heavy snow scare off most individuals. Nevertheless, that’s the precise cause why I assumed Fairbanks could be the right 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 season costs, and fairly a bit lower than different hearty additional flung Scandinavian winter locations.
And whereas a Fairbanks Northern Lights trip could 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 fanatics! In the event you’re seeking to expertise the fun of catching fish via a frozen lake’s icy floor, look no additional than this unbelievable vacation spot. Nestled amidst scenic landscapes and frigid temperatures, this charming metropolis presents an exhilarating expertise for each novice and seasoned anglers alike.
Fairbanks is famend for its gorgeous frozen lakes and rivers that remodel right into a winter playground for ice-fishing fanatics. With over 100 lakes inside a 50-mile radius, you’ll have countless alternatives to discover new spots and discover that good catch. The area boasts quite a few lakes teeming with numerous fish species akin 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. In the event you go together with a information – you’ll have every thing you want, gear and a heat place to attend for the fish to chew! They even provide an aurora tour additionally – so you possibly can snag that Arctic Char below the northern lights!
Extra data: Rods Alaskan Guide Service
22. Canine Mushing
Expertise Alaska’s primary winter sport – canine sledding. Any Alaska winter journey wants to incorporate some canine mushing! Fairbanks, with its gorgeous landscapes and frigid local weather, presents an ideal setting for this conventional mode of transportation.
Canine mushing has been an integral a part of Alaskan historical past and tradition for hundreds of years. Initially used as a way of transportation by indigenous peoples, at this time it has developed into a preferred leisure sport and vacationer attraction. In Fairbanks, the place winters are lengthy and snow is considerable, canine mushing stays deeply ingrained in native traditions.
The true stars of canine sledding are undoubtedly the unbelievable sled canine themselves. These extremely educated canine athletes possess exceptional endurance and energy. Siberian Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes, and Alaskan Huskies are generally discovered breeds in sled canine groups resulting from their distinctive cold-weather adaptability.
Fairbanks boasts an intensive community of well-groomed trails that wind via breathtaking forests and frozen landscapes. Whether or not you’re a newbie or an skilled adventurer, there are alternatives accessible for all talent ranges. From shorter introductory rides to multi-day expeditions throughout distant territories akin to Denali Nationwide Park – there’s one thing for everybody!
Go to Mushing Faculty 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. Nevertheless, I used to be searching for a extra hands-on expertise as I wished to study extra about the way to mush my very own staff. Discover Fairbanks advisable I take a look at a brand new, younger operation in Two Rivers, The Last Frontier Mushing Co-op.
Not solely did I learn to mush your personal staff in a half-day ‘mushing college’ tour, however I additionally realized a wealth of details about the canine racing tradition of Alaska and what it takes to run a racing kennel. The younger house owners of the Co-op all have severe backgrounds in racing and due to that, they need to provide guests an actual immersive expertise at their sled canine kennels. Their purpose is to have individuals see how a lot the canine love their job and expertise the actual Alaska.
However I need to warn you, when you learn to mush your personal staff of canine, you’ll by no means need to return to easily driving in a canine sled once more. I used to be bitten by the dog sledding Alaska bug and might’t wait to return once more!
Extra data: Last Frontier Mushing Co-op. Positioned simply half-hour outdoors of Fairbanks, the Co-op presents day excursions, expedition-style excursions, and aurora excursions! Examine and see my mushing school experience.
23. Winter Heat-Up at Chena Scorching Springs – Day Journey
Some of the widespread stops round Fairbanks is a visit to Chena Scorching Springs. Simply hop on the Chena Scorching Springs street and drive it till the top – about an hour from Fairbanks. You’ll arrive at a heat and toasty Alaskan winter wonderland.
This can be a larger vacationer operation than the others I discussed above, nonetheless, it’s price a cease – particularly within the winter! It’s not simply in regards to the sizzling springs, the resort additionally presents snowshoeing, ice skating, snowmobiling, and canine sledding.
I like to recommend merely making this a day journey because the lodging choices aren’t that nice until you get a cabin.
Nevertheless, we booked a little bit cabin set away from different housing and loved our heat cozy spot whereas the snow fell outdoors. 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 attractive snowfall ruined our possibilities to see aurora there, but it surely’s an amazing spot to situate your self to see the aurora!
24. View the Northern Lights
Fairbanks is likely one of the prime spots on Earth for witnessing the breathtaking spectacle generally known as the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights. It’s actually 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 – good circumstances for recognizing these shimmering Northern Lights.
Location issues! To maximise your possibilities of recognizing the Northern Lights, escape from the 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 possibly can stare upon stars with none interference. Keep in mind: It’s all about discovering that candy spot the place darkness reigns supreme.
Additionally, remember that one of many the reason why Fairbanks (the inside) is such an amazing place to view the northern lights is as a result of it’s inland and often has clear skies. In contrast to the coastal areas and nations like Iceland.
With regards to witnessing the celestial Aurora Borealis portray its approach throughout Alaska’s skies, persistence is essential — until you’ve been blessed by some form of cosmic cheat code! Typically 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 tours and pictures 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 below the aurora oval and amongst a backdrop of gorgeous forest.
As well as, they share their fascinating perspective on Alaska since they each got here from Germany just lately and determined to make this their new house. They fell in love with the Alaskan wilderness and have embraced it as their new house.
All of us turned quick buddies 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 Practice – Day Journey
Most individuals assume that Denali Nationwide Park is just open in the summertime, but it surely’s truly open year-round! Winter is a good time to go to Denali Nationwide Park because the crowds have all left, and also you’ll discover that you’ve got the place to your self! Cease in on the customer middle and ask to ‘borrow’ some snow 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 in order for you an actual distinctive journey take the Denali in a Day Alaska winter train trip the place you’re pushed right down to Denali (with a number of scenic stops alongside the best way), snowshoe within the nationwide park there, after which hop on the northbound Aurora Winter Practice and slowly come again to Fairbanks by way of the Alaska Railroad!
At the present time tour lets you go to Denali Nationwide Park, and experience the winter prepare all utilizing Fairbanks as your hub! Read about my winter train experience here.
Extra data: Denali in a Day on the AKRR Website
26. Snowshoeing Nature Walks
Plenty of locations in Fairbanks provide snowshoeing excursions within the winter. However in case you actually need to get out and recognize the outside, study in regards to the winter wildlife, and the ecosystem of life amongst all of the snow – you then 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 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 realized SO MUCH. I performed “Guess that Skat”, realized about studying animal tracks within the snow and understanding which approach they have been strolling, and realized that squirrels are messy eaters!
If you’re touring independently round Fairbanks – make sure to search for Leaf Out and meet Shannon for a hike or snowshoe – she’s a wealth of data 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 all the time intrigued by issues which are particular to a area – and the game of curling is unquestionably particular to the far north. The Fairbanks Curling Membership is proud to be the oldest organized sports activities group in Alaska. In the event you go to Fairbanks within the winter and surprise, “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 evening within the winter – so why not head to the Fairbanks Curling Membership, sit up within the viewing space, seize a beer (sure – there may be all the time a bar), and watch the locals play on this fascinating sport! Plus – there will likely 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 possibly can all the time go to the Fairbanks Curling Membership web site and ask about newbie programs!
Extra Data: Fairbanks Curling Club
28. Fairbanks Ice Carving
Fairbanks is house to the World Ice Carving Championship. Every February one of the best ice sculptors on the planet compete. So in fact, in case you are visiting in the course of the championship – you need to positively head to the Ice Park and test it out and see the artists in motion.
Even after the competitors is over – the ice sculptures stay on show and you may stroll via and consider them for the rest of the winter…or till they soften! It does require a ticket to get in – but it surely’s price it to see these distinctive artworks. It’s notably stunning at evening when the sculptures are lit up and appear to glow.
As well as, you possibly can study extra about Alaska ice carving on the Fairbanks Ice Museum. This museum is open year-round and can take you thru the historical past of carving and the competitions. As well as – in the summertime they provide courses so you possibly can 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 possibly can guide a tour – from a number of 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 few totally different excursions and you may mix them with issues like ice fishing or canine sledding.
I did a half-day tour with them and I used to be actually impressed with the standard of their gear and the extent of instruction. They are going to present the entire 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 only zip across the lake and have a look by your self with out having to all the time comply with the group!
Extra Data: Rod’s Alaskan Guide Service Snowmobiling Tours
Now you’re all set to expertise winter and summer season adventures in and outdoors of Fairbanks!
The place to remain in Fairbanks
This can be a very nice lodge positioned 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 few good walks across the river.
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 beautiful restaurant related to it and within the winter they even have some particular aurora viewing areas arrange the place you possibly can maintain heat whereas ready. There’s all the time a variety of hustle and bustle at this lodge!
Verify costs and availability for Pike’s Waterfront Lodge | Learn reviews for Pike’s Waterfront Lodge on TripAdvisor | Seek for different hotels in Fairbanks
Bear Lodge at Wedgewood
That is additionally a fairly large lodge usually utilized by cruise corporations in the summertime. The lodge is sweet and it’s positioned by many issues on this record – like Creamers Subject, Wedgewood Wildlife Sanctuary and Trails, and the Vintage Automotive Museum.
Lodging outdoors of Fairbanks
If you wish to get actually off the crushed path, then go spend an evening outdoors 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 manufactured 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 the previous predominant freeway between Anchorage and Fairbanks. Nevertheless, now for the reason that new Parks Freeway has been constructed, this route via the Jap Alaska Vary has change into the street much less traveled and is seldom seen by vacationers.
Uncover all of the things to do in Anchorage in Summer or Winter
As well as, this route was additionally house to historic roadhouses that have been constructed to serve vacationers again in 1904 touring the Valdez-Fairbanks path. In actual fact, Annie has a ‘labor of affection’ challenge at the moment restoring the old 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 snug 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 unbelievable record of out of doors winter adventures so that you can pattern.
Probably the greatest actions they provide is a snowshoeing adventure to a close-by ice cave. Black Rapids equipped the entire gear and are completely happy to lend further heat climate gear in case you want it. You are able to do these hikes or snowboarding independently or rent a neighborhood information by way of Black Rapids.
The rugged luxurious lodge is simply the way you need to spend your winter in Alaska; having fun with the outside after which having a heat, snug place to come back ‘house’ to with a little 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 reviews for The Lodge at Black Rapids on TripAdvisor
See my tales on different ‘underdog’ cities and areas you shouldn’t overlook