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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

29 Issues to do in Fairbanks Alaska Summer season and Winter


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 usually neglected because it’s not a cruise port. However that doesn’t imply that there are usually not loads of issues to do in Fairbanks year-round!

Fairbanks has been a important hub in Alaska ever since its inception. It began as a gold rush outpost for the area after which advanced 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 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 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 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 everyday shedding 6 minutes of daylight (practically an hour each week!) because it heads in the 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 throughout the winter, most automobiles are outfitted with a number of electrical “heating” gadgets that facilitate beginning throughout the coldest time and must be plugged in to maintain heat.

“When it will get chilly, we simply get shut,” a neighborhood Fairbanks man informed me once I requested how he survived the winters.

However with the summer season comes the lengthy days and a inhabitants with an abundance of ‘cabin fever’. As I drove across the metropolis heart in the summertime I used to be impressed by all the outside trails and actions. Individuals in Fairbanks like to get exterior in the summertime and winter, and so do I.

What To Count on From This Fairbanks Listing

There are a variety of operators to select from which are nicely established; nonetheless, in my travels, I wish to concentrate on the brand new, distinctive operators. They are usually the smaller, youthful firms which are serving the unbiased traveler and offering a extra private contact than the bigger tour choices. If you happen to simply dig a little bit bit, you could find these smaller, particular person experiences that may be tougher 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 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 season

Fairbanks usually 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 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 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 received again to Fairbanks!

I bumped into many individuals taking their canines 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 Discipline Migratory Waterfowl Refuge. That is one run the place I used to be blissful I took my cellphone with me to take some photos alongside the way in which!

Extra Info: Fountainhead Wedgewood Wildlife Sanctuary

Discover out the place to go in Alaska for fall coloration

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 vegetation, and regionally made, Alaskan artwork and crafts.

Not solely can you purchase produce there, however you may as well plan on having lunch…and it’s 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 an effective way to spend a day studying extra in regards to the neighborhood.

Extra Info: 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 looking for uncommon, far-north vegetation. You’ll uncover uncommon species of flowers and timber which are endemic to Alaska and learn the way 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 by way of lush greenery. Children can discover totally different sections named after beloved storybook characters like Peter Rabbit or Cinderella. Every space options plant species fastidiously chosen to replicate parts from these timeless tales – actually bringing tales to life!

Extra info: Georgeson Botanical Backyard

4. Tanana Valley Railroad Museum

All aboard! Prepare for a captivating 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 numerous Alaskan landscapes.

Learn the way steam locomotives performed a vital function in shaping Northern Alaska as you discover classic railcars crammed with intriguing artifacts from yesteryear. You even take a journey on one of many park’s miniature trains!

Extra info: The Tanana Valley Railroad Museum is briefly closed

Plan an Alaska Railroad Hurricane Practice Tour

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 looking for fortune. This large gold dredge, towering over the panorama, as soon as extracted tens of millions of ounces of gold from the icy floor.

Now retired however meticulously preserved, it’s a nationwide monument the place you possibly can find out about Alaska’s mining heritage. It stands as a testomony to the unbelievable engineering and dedication of those that sought their desires throughout this historic interval.

If you step onto Gold Dredge 8’s property, prepare for an immersive expertise. The educated guides right here will take you on a journey by way of time as they share fascinating tales and insights. You’ll be taught in regards to the dredging course of that revolutionized gold mining and witness firsthand how these behemoth machines operated. Plus – you possibly can even pan for gold as a part of your go to.

Extra info: Gold Dredge 8

Issues to do in Fairbanks Yr-Spherical

6. College of Alaska Museum of the North

As I pulled as much as the modern white constructing I used to be shocked 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 had been equally spectacular. There was a big Alaska pure historical past part that may totally educate you in regards to the grand state.

And upstairs was a powerful array of up to date and trendy artwork carried out by Alaskan artists. I beloved the upstairs displays as I’m a contemporary artwork buff. Most of the works had an Alaska theme to them indirectly – however some had been additionally simply nice items that had nothing to do with the state.

And naturally, I couldn’t miss out on Otto the Bear, 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 visitors 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 it is going to be on exhibit for the general public to see and expertise. Take a look at the museum web site for updates on its standing.

Extra Info: College of Alaska Museum of the North

7. HooDoo Brewing Firm

I had been listening to good issues in regards to the Fairbanks craft brew scene, so I made a decision to test it out myself. After getting misplaced across the railroad tracks, I lastly got here throughout the massive industrial constructing that was HooDoo Brewing Firm. In true Alaska kind – it was primary and rugged, not just like the craft breweries and bars in hipster neighborhoods that I’m used to. It was purposeful.

Hoodoo brewery fairbanks alaskaHoodoo brewery fairbanks alaska
Have just a few pints with locals at HooDoo Brewery

Go inside and order a HooDoo beer after which head again exterior to the picnic tables to take pleasure in your frosty brew. It didn’t take me lengthy to make associates with some locals I shared the picnic desk with. HooDoo Brewing doesn’t have meals, as a substitute, they’ve numerous meals vans that come every evening and park on the premises serving up meals to the hungry beer drinkers. I beloved the outside vibe; everybody absorbing the daylight and having fun with the outside and laid-back really feel.

Extra Info: HooDoo Brewery. Don’t miss Caturday at HooDoos on Saturdays when it turns right into a cat brewery!

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 set free a sigh of reduction, it will 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 automobiles 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 by way of the forest – a singular Fairbanks exercise provided year-round. Examine my complete reindeer expertise and the way I practically received myself run over.

Fairbanks Alaska things to do reindeerFairbanks Alaska things to do reindeer
Take a stroll with reindeer at Faribank’s Reindeer Ranch

My first go to to the ranch was in the summertime. There are few locations I am going again to a 2nd time as a result of there are simply so many locations to see on the planet that I’m not keen on do-overs. 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 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 season go to. Along with the snow that was dolloped on the timber, 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 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 in regards to the fascinating lives of those light animals. It should 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 positioned 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 turn into fairly widespread and infrequently fills up within the winter!

Extra info: Working Reindeer Ranch Web site. Learn Working Reindeer Ranch opinions on Journey Advisor

9. Morris Thompson Cultural Middle

Take a look at the Morris Thompson Cultural Middle and also you’ll rapidly have a full Fairbanks itinerary deliberate! The power was created by the Fairbanks Conference & Guests Bureau, the Alaska Public Lands Info Middle, and the Tanana Chiefs Convention.

Fairbanks Morris Thompson Cultural CenterFairbanks Morris Thompson Cultural Center

The Morris Thompson Cultural Middle goals to encourage residents and guests to get out and discover Inside Alaska and Arctic Alaska in addition to to protect Athabascan languages and stick with it conventional data by way of Elder teachings. Right here it is possible for you to to search out all the knowledge you’ll want to your Fairbanks go to to Inside Alaska and Arctic Alaska.

Extra info: 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 solution 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 whilst you go to Fairbanks head north out of city the place the pavement ends and the freeway begins.

The Dalton Freeway follows the Alaskan pipeline from Fairbanks to Coldfoot Alaska (a halfway truck cease) and barely past. The freeway was constructed as a provide street to assist the development of the pipeline in 1974. It’s a 414-mile street (the vast majority of it grime) starting on the Elliott Freeway north of Fairbanks and ending at Deadhorse close to the Arctic Ocean. And it’s nonetheless used primarily together with the pipeline at present for upkeep crews, delivery…and a little bit little bit of…tourism.

Dalton Highway Cold FootDalton Highway Cold Foot
The street previous Chilly Foot Camp

You would possibly suppose that this opportunity to go to the Arctic Circle and drive the Dalton Freeway is barely obtainable in the summertime – however you’re improper! You are able to do this tour within the winter too! I’ve really carried out it in the summertime and winter and beloved each journeys.

In the summertime, anticipate quite a lot of daylight to discover. You’ll cease at some 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 in regards to the historical past of this distinctive space earlier than flying in a bush airplane again to Fairbanks.

What to anticipate from flying in Alaska bush planes

You are able to do the identical form 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 lined in snow. We had lunch in Coldfoot on the truck cease after which hopped within the van and began the lengthy and engaging 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 observe 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 top-of-the-line aurora viewing nights I had in Fairbanks – the lights danced for hours. Plus – the cabin offered an exquisite place to heat up and have snacks in between aurora viewing! It was a really lengthy day as we didn’t get again to Fairbanks till 5 AM! Nevertheless it was soooo price it.

Extra Info for driving the Dalton Freeway
Northern Alaska Tour Firm – drive-up/fly-back variations in winter and summer season
Hire your Personal Automotive from Arctic Outfitters – gravel road-allowed car leases for the Dalton Freeway traveler
Dalton Freeway Shuttle

Uncover the place to go in Alaska off the vacationer path

11. Aurora Ice Museum – Day Journey

Situated on the Chena Sizzling 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 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 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 may make your coronary heart race whereas conserving you refreshed on the identical time.

If you happen to’re fortunate sufficient to go to throughout winter months when Alaska’s well-known Northern Lights illuminate the sky, put together your self for an much more enchanting encounter. The museum’s location gives a great vantage level for witnessing nature’s most mesmerizing gentle present – dancing curtains of vibrant colours portray an indigo canvas above your head.

Extra info: Aurora Ice Museum at Chena Sizzling Springs

12. Fountainhead Vintage Auto Museum

Calling all automobile fans! Go to the Fountainhead Vintage Auto Museum to delve into automotive historical past. This treasure trove showcases uncommon and superbly restored vehicles from as early as 1898. Uncover how automobiles have advanced all through time whereas appreciating their intricate designs and craftsmanship. Don’t miss the horseless carriages and the cycle automobiles.

However wait…the Fountainhead Vintage Auto Museum is a lot greater than a automobile museum. The true appeal 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 positioned on the grounds of the Wedgewood Resort.

Fountainhead Antique auto Museum Fairbanks AlaskaFountainhead Antique auto Museum Fairbanks Alaska

Extra info: Fountainhead Vintage Auto Museum

13. Pioneer Park

Not your typical museum or guests heart per se, Pioneer Park is a residing testomony to Fairbanks’ previous. This attraction in Alaska was created for the Alaska ‘67 Centennial Exposition to commemorate the one-hundredth anniversary of the state’s buy from Russia. It showcases 5 family-friendly instructional and neighborhood points of interest.

Pioneer Park isn’t simply an bizarre park; it’s additionally dwelling 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 possibly can marvel at classic plane or hop aboard a reproduction paddlewheel riverboat at The Riverboat Nenana Museum for a scenic cruise. With its playground, carousel, and practice that circles the perimeter, it’s simple to see how the park is a enjoyable, family-friendly day trip.

Extra info: 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 function that the railroad performed in shaping this frontier metropolis. View fascinating displays on native industries like mining and canine mushing. Don’t overlook to take a look at their rotating displays which frequently spotlight native artists and neighborhood occasions. You’ll achieve a deeper understanding of how this vibrant metropolis got here to be.

Extra info: Fairbanks Group Museum

15. Alyeska Pipeline Customer Middle

Located alongside the long-lasting Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS), this distinctive attraction gives an enchanting journey by way of the historical past, know-how, and environmental influence 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 way in which to Valdez on its southern coast. It was inbuilt response to America’s rising demand for oil within the Seventies and has been working safely ever since.

The customer heart supplies a superb alternative to find out about how TAPS operates and its vital function in transporting crude oil throughout this huge state. Partaking displays showcase numerous elements of pipeline development, upkeep, and security protocols. You’ll achieve insights into the intricate engineering methods used to beat challenges akin to permafrost circumstances and wildlife conservation efforts carried out alongside its route.

Pipeline Alley

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 power whereas studying in regards to the progressive measures taken to guard it from excessive climate circumstances like earthquakes and avalanches.

For these concerned about environmental stewardship, there are interactive shows that delve into Alyeska Pipeline Service Firm’s dedication to minimizing impacts on native ecosystems. Uncover their intensive monitoring applications geared toward safeguarding wildlife habitats and guaranteeing clear waterways all through TAPS’ operation.

Extra info: Trans-Alaska Pipeline Viewpoint

16. Go to the Fairbanks Geophysical Institute

For these science-y 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 knowledge and observations into info helpful for state, Arctic, and nationwide priorities.

World-class researchers examine all the things from the middle of the Earth to the middle of the Solar. Once I was researching a narrative in regards to the northern lights in Fairbanks, I really was in a position to meet with a number of the scientists at GI and speak to them about aurora on different planets.

Nevertheless, for the vacationer – you may as well 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. If you happen to can’t make that point, they’ve self-guided excursions you are able to do. In addition they run excursions out at Poker Flat Analysis Vary. Poker Flat is the biggest land-based rocket analysis vary on the planet and the one high-latitude rocket vary in america. Be a part of a tour to be taught in regards to the thrilling science that occurs on the vary and see a number of the amenities, together with the blockhouse complicated and the launch pads.

Extra Info: Geophysical Institute | Poker Flat Excursions

Take a look at the Fairbanks meals scene

Most individuals come to Fairbanks for journey – and there’s 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 – all the things is scrumptious – and genuine!

Extra info: Thai Home Restaurant

18. Attempt Moldovan Meals at Soba

Sure – you learn that proper – there’s a Moldova restaurant in Fairbanks. I’m fairly certain my dwelling 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 info: Soba Restaurant

19. The Crepery Restaurant

Photo of sign above restaurant The Crepery in FairbanksPhoto of sign above restaurant The Crepery in Fairbanks

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. Common fillings embody Brie and pear, in addition to smoked salmon. Gluten-free variations can be found.

Extra info: The Crepery

20. Pump Home Restaurant

The Pump Home is certainly 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. In every single place you look you will notice relics from the wealthy and illustrious previous. In the summertime months, sit on the deck overlooking the historic Chena River and watch the Riverboat Discovery cross and the float planes land. The Pump Home serves extra conventional Alaskan truthful akin to steaks and seafood. Count on massive parts and nice drinks too.

Extra info: The Pump Home

Fairbanks Alaska – Your House Base for Winter Enjoyable

Fairbanks is the place all of the Alaska winter enjoyable appears to occur. Not like summer season the place so many tour choices are about cruises, the winter in Alaska is in regards to the inside and survival.

Touring overland in summer season is a troublesome course of; Alaska’s panorama is made up of quite a lot of spongy tundra (permafrost covers half of Alaska) and there are few roads. However winter instantly makes all the things accessible. Rivers freeze and turn into highways to maneuver round on. The bottom hardens and instantly Alaska sled canines can take you anyplace.

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’re going to see the Northern Lights – don’t you need darkness?

You may be shocked to search out out that the coastal areas don’t get as chilly as you suppose – they not often fall under 20F apart from the occasional storm. Up within the Arctic areas, they don’t get a lot snow as a result of it’s thought of a desert.

Nevertheless, Alaska’s inside does get chilly and has a lot of snow. There it’s possible you’ll 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 simply fight winter climate with the suitable gear. You probably have the suitable gear – you possibly can take pleasure in 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 record of utmost winter gear I take advantage of

Month-to-month temperatures Coastal and Inside Alaska

See the present Alaska climate circumstances right here.

Alaska Winter Driving

Most of those locations I’ve talked about do require a rental automobile, however it’s price it to courageous the winter roads with the intention to get out and have all of those great experiences. It’s simple to lease a automobile on the Fairbanks airport. I used Avis, however there are a selection of choices.

I might completely get an all-wheel drive automobile although as it’s mandatory 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 observe 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 in case you go to Alaska within the winter, you get launched to the distinctive Alaska winter tradition of plugging in your automobile at evening! Sure, that’s proper, your rental automobile will include an electrical chord that you need to use to plug in your automobile all over the place you go and hold the engine block from freezing.

Extra info: Fairbanks Rental Automobiles

Issues to do in Fairbanks within the Winter

Whereas Alaska is a well-liked dream vacation spot in the summertime, it will get little respect within the winter. The worry of frigid temperatures, lack of sunshine, and heavy snow scare off most individuals. Nevertheless, that’s the precise motive 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 journey might have introduced you to this lesser-known a part of Alaska, there are many different issues to do which makes Fairbanks the right spot for an Alaska winter journey trip!

21. Ice Fishing

Fairbanks is a winter wonderland for ice-fishing fans! If you happen to’re seeking to expertise the fun of catching fish by way of a frozen lake’s icy floor, look no additional than this unbelievable vacation spot. Nestled amidst scenic landscapes and frigid temperatures, this charming metropolis gives an exhilarating expertise for each novice and seasoned anglers alike.

Fairbanks is famend for its gorgeous frozen lakes and rivers that remodel right into a winter playground for ice-fishing fans. With over 100 lakes inside a 50-mile radius, you’ll have limitless alternatives to discover new spots and discover that excellent catch. The area boasts quite a few lakes teeming with numerous fish species akin to Arctic char, northern pike, rainbow trout, and burbot.

Fairbanks ice fishingFairbanks ice fishing

Rods Alaskan Information Service gives a ton of various winter tous within the space and that features ice fishing. Don’t fear about getting chilly – you fish from inside a heat little hut/cabin on the ice. If you happen to go together with a information – you’ll have all the things you want, tools 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 info: Rods Alaskan Information Service

22. Canine Mushing

Expertise Alaska’s primary winter sport – canine sledding. Any Alaska winter journey wants to incorporate some canine mushing! Fairbanks, with its gorgeous landscapes and frigid local weather, gives an ideal setting for this conventional mode of transportation.

Canine mushing has been an integral a part of Alaskan historical past and tradition for hundreds of years. Initially used as a way of transportation by indigenous peoples, at present it has advanced into a preferred leisure sport and vacationer attraction. In Fairbanks, the place winters are lengthy and snow is plentiful, canine mushing stays deeply ingrained in native traditions.

The true stars of canine sledding are undoubtedly the unbelievable sled canines themselves. These extremely skilled canine athletes possess exceptional endurance and power. 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 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 obtainable for all ability 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 College and learn to function a canine sledding crew

There are such a lot of selections and kinds to select from round Fairbanks for canine mushing. Nevertheless, I used to be on the lookout for a extra hands-on expertise as I wished to be taught extra about how one can mush my very own crew. Discover Fairbanks really useful I take a look at a brand new, younger operation in Two Rivers, The Final Frontier Mushing Co-op.

Not solely did I learn to mush your individual crew in a half-day ‘mushing college’ tour, however I additionally discovered a wealth of details about the canine racing tradition of Alaska and what it takes to run a racing kennel. The younger house owners of the Co-op all have severe 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 canines love their job and expertise the actual Alaska.

alaska dog mushing last frontieralaska dog mushing last frontier

However I have to warn you, when you learn to mush your individual crew of canines, 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 info: Final Frontier Mushing Co-op. Situated simply half-hour exterior of Fairbanks, the Co-op gives day excursions, expedition-style excursions, and aurora excursions! Examine and see my mushing college expertise.

23. Winter Heat-Up at Chena Sizzling Springs – Day Journey

One of the widespread 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 price a cease – particularly within the winter! It’s not simply in regards to the scorching springs, the resort additionally gives snowshoeing, ice skating, snowmobiling, and canine sledding.

I like to recommend merely making this a day journey because the lodging choices aren’t that nice except you get a cabin.

Nevertheless, we booked a little bit cabin set away from different housing and loved our heat cozy spot whereas the snow fell exterior. After a giant hike, we went for a soak within the scorching springs at evening. 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, however it’s an important spot to situate your self to see the aurora!

Extra info: Chena Sizzling Springs Resort. Spend an evening or two off-grid on this idyllic spot and spring! Learn opinions of Chena Sizzling Springs on Journey Advisor.

24. View the Northern Lights

Fairbanks is without doubt one of the prime spots on Earth for witnessing the breathtaking spectacle often known as the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights. It’s 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 – excellent circumstances for recognizing these shimmering Northern Lights.

Location issues! To maximise your possibilities of recognizing the Northern Lights, escape from town lights. Head out to distant areas away from gentle air pollution or get cozy at certainly 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, take into account that one of many explanation why Fairbanks (the inside) is such an important 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 relation to witnessing the celestial Aurora Borealis portray its manner throughout Alaska’s skies, persistence is essential — except you’ve been blessed by some form of cosmic cheat code! Generally the Northern Lights seem early; generally they make you wait.

Have an Alaska Aurora Expertise at Aurora Bear

Frank and Miriam will gladly welcome you into their dwelling and Alaska lifestyle on their off-grid dwelling an hour north of Fairbanks. They provide nightly Northern Lights excursions and pictures instruction. They solely tackle small teams to allow them to present an intimate stage of service since they’re internet hosting you of their dwelling. They’re located completely for Northern Lights viewing north of Fairbanks below the aurora oval and amongst a backdrop of gorgeous forest.

As well as, they share their attention-grabbing perspective on Alaska since they each got here from Germany lately and determined to make this their new dwelling. They fell in love with the Alaskan wilderness and have embraced it as their new dwelling.

All of us turned quick associates and even got here again out to satisfy them for a day of snowshoeing earlier than we departed! Their hospitality was phenomenal to not point out their darn cute canines you’ll fall in love with. Aurora Bear is by far my favourite place to attend and look ahead to Northern Lights. Additionally it is the place I take my Ottsworld Tour Group!

Extra info: Watch the aurora or learn to {photograph} it at Aurora Bear. Learn opinions of Aurora Bear on TripAdvisor.

25. Go to Denali and journey the Winter Aurora Practice – Day Journey

Alaska Train trips winterAlaska Train trips winter

Most individuals suppose that Denali Nationwide Park is barely open in the summertime, however it’s really open year-round! Winter is a good time to go to Denali Nationwide Park because the crowds have all left, and also you’ll discover that you’ve got the place to your self! Cease in on the customer heart and ask to ‘borrow’ some snow sneakers and poles, and also you’ll be capable of tackle a number of the winter trails.

Denali is a couple of 2-hour drive south of Fairbanks, however if you would like an actual distinctive journey take the Denali in a Day Alaska winter practice journey the place you’re pushed right down to Denali (with just a few scenic stops alongside the way in which), snowshoe within the nationwide park there, after which hop on the northbound Aurora Winter Practice and slowly come again to Fairbanks by way of the Alaska Railroad!

This present day tour means that you can go to Denali Nationwide Park, and journey the winter practice all utilizing Fairbanks as your hub! Examine my winter practice expertise right here.

Extra info: Denali in a Day on the AKRR Web site

All aboard the Alaska Railroad: See the final frontier by practice

26. Snowshoeing Nature Walks

Plenty of locations in Fairbanks provide snowshoeing excursions within the winter. However in case you actually wish to get out and respect the outside, be taught in regards to the winter natural world, 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 take advantage of on my Ottsworld Alaska winter excursions. I like to assist small companies once I journey, so once I met Shannon from Leaf Out a nature information 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 – make sure to lookup Leaf Out and meet Shannon for a hike or snowshoe – she’s a wealth of data and a type of superior bad-ass Alaska girls.

Extra Info: Leaf Out Nature Guides

27. Go to the Fairbanks Curling Membership

We’ve all seen it throughout the Winter Olympics – the unusual and overseas sport of curling. I’m all the time intrigued by issues which are particular to a area – and the game of curling is certainly particular to the far north. The Fairbanks Curling Membership is proud to be the oldest organized sports activities group in Alaska. If you happen to 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.

Fairbanks Curling CenterFairbanks Curling Center

There’s league play virtually each evening within the winter – so why not head to the Fairbanks Curling Membership, sit up within the viewing space, seize a beer (sure – there’s all the time a bar), and watch the locals play on this fascinating sport! Plus – there might 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 Info: Fairbanks Curling Membership

28. Fairbanks Ice Carving

Fairbanks is dwelling 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 throughout the championship – it’s best to positively head to the Ice Park and test it out and see the artists in motion.

Fairbanks Ice Sculpture ParkFairbanks Ice Sculpture Park

Even after the competitors is over – the ice sculptures stay on show and you’ll stroll by way of and examine them for the rest of the winter…or till they soften! It does require a ticket to get in – however it’s price it to see these distinctive artistic endeavors. It’s significantly stunning at evening when the sculptures are lit up and appear to glow.

Fairbanks Ice MuseumFairbanks Ice Museum

As well as, you possibly can 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 possibly can learn to carve your individual ice artwork!

Extra Info: Fairbanks Ice Museum | Ice Alaska – Ice Carving Championship and Ice Park

29. Snow Machining

Whereas in Fairbanks, ensure you attempt to journey across the Alaska wilderness like a neighborhood – on a snow machine! We name them snowmobiles within the decrease 48, however if you wish to slot in whereas touring in Alaska – you higher name it a snow machine!

There are a variety of locations the place you possibly can ebook a tour – from just a few hours to a snowmobile multi-day tour. If you wish to simply get your toes moist and see what it’s like, then take a look at Rod’s Alaskan Information Service. They provide numerous totally different excursions and you’ll mix them with issues like ice fishing or canine sledding.

Fairbanks Alaska Winter Chena hot springsFairbanks Alaska Winter Chena hot springs

I did a half-day tour with them and I used to be actually impressed with the standard of their tools and the extent of instruction. They’ll present all the heat winter gear you want together with boots and gloves. The snowmobiles are additionally in actually nice situation. I additionally beloved 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 observe the group!

Extra Info: Rod’s Alaskan Information Service Snowmobiling Excursions

Now you’re all set to expertise winter and summer season adventures in and outdoors of Fairbanks!

The place to remain in Fairbanks

Springhill Suites

It is a very nice resort 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 items, and the Ice Museum. Plus, it’s near the river and you are able to do numerous good walks across the river.

Fairbanks Springhill SuitesFairbanks Springhill Suites

Test costs and availability for the Springhill Suites Downtown | Learn opinions for the Springhill Suites on TripAdvisor | Seek for different lodges in Fairbanks

Pike’s Waterfront Lodge

Situated on the banks of the Chena River – this massive lodge is a good location for the airport and the practice station. It has a stunning restaurant related to it and within the winter they even have some particular aurora viewing areas arrange the place you possibly can hold heat whereas ready. There’s all the time quite a lot of hustle and bustle at this lodge!

pikes waterfront lodge fairbankspikes waterfront lodge fairbanks

Test costs and availability for Pike’s Waterfront Lodge | Learn opinions for Pike’s Waterfront Lodge on TripAdvisor | Seek for different lodges in Fairbanks

Bear Lodge at Wedgewood

That is additionally a fairly large resort usually utilized by cruise firms in the summertime. The resort is sweet and it’s positioned by many issues on this record – like Creamers Discipline, Wedgewood Wildlife Sanctuary and Trails, and the Vintage Automotive Museum.

Test costs and availability for Bear Lodge at Wedgewood | Learn opinions for Bear Lodge at Wedgewood on TripAdvisor | Seek for different lodges in Fairbanks

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 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 product of slate and timber was made by hand by house owners Annie and Mike Hopper.

Alaska winter Black RapidsAlaska winter Black Rapids
Visiting an ice cave close to Lodge at Black Rapids

It took them 10 years to construct it! Now it sits completely perched on a hill overlooking the Black Rapids Glacier located on Richardson Freeway, what was once the previous principal freeway between Anchorage and Fairbanks. Nevertheless, now because the new Parks Freeway has been constructed, this route by way of the Jap Alaska Vary has turn into the street much less traveled and is seldom seen by vacationers.

Uncover all of the issues to do in Anchorage in Summer season or Winter

As well as, this route was additionally dwelling to historic roadhouses that had been constructed to serve vacationers again in 1904 touring the Valdez-Fairbanks path. In actual fact, Annie has a ‘labor of affection’ mission at the moment restoring the previous Black Rapids roadhouse that sits just under the brand new lodge.

Black Rapids Lodge is form of like a modern-day roadhouse; a spot to cease, get a heat meal, a cushty mattress, and native hospitality. However in contrast to conventional roadhouses, you’ll wish 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.

Top-of-the-line actions they provide is a snowshoeing journey to a close-by ice cave. Black Rapids provided all the gear and are blissful 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 wish to spend your winter in Alaska; having fun with the outside after which having a heat, snug place to come back ‘dwelling’ to with a little bit pampering. It’s a spot the place you’ll really feel instantly at dwelling.

Keep at The Lodge at Black Rapids for a weekend and have a number of adventures! Learn opinions for The Lodge at Black Rapids on TripAdvisor

See my tales on different ‘underdog’ cities and areas you shouldn’t overlook

Canmore Alberta Canada
Thuringia Germany Street Journey
Southern Queensland Australia
Costa Brava because the ‘new’ Tuscany

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