Climb on board an authentic Alaskan sternwheeler, the Riverboat Discovery, and take a journey back in time along the Chena and Tanana rivers. Sternwheeler boats transport you out into the Alaskan wilderness, and also back to a time when Gold Rush fever was sweeping across the state. The Discovery II and Discovery III offer fully narrated three-and-a-half-hour tour. But all your time isn't spent on the boat. You'll make an unforgettable one-hour stop at Chena Indian Village.
May - September
Northern Alaska Tour Company offers several tours that transport visitors to the Arctic Circle. You can fly, drive, or do a combination of the two, depending on your travel preference and how much time you have. The most popular tour is the fly-and-drive excursion, which gives you incredible views from the air and a tour of the town of Coldfoot, followed by a drive back to Fairbanks.
A guided day trip out of Fairbanks reveals the quiet winter landscape of the Tanana Valley and Denali National Park. Walk or snowshoe on picturesque trails through the boreal forest, deep in the heart of the Alaska range.
mid-May to mid-September
You’ll spend three hours, round-trip, in the air with a one-hour walking tour of the community, led by a local Alaskan guide. Learn of the local Nunamiut Eskimo culture and get a firsthand glimpse at village lifestyle as it exists today in rural Alaska.
Hop aboard a narrow-gauge train and get ready to stake your claim to gold on this two-hour tour of Gold Dredge 8. Learn all about how 100,000 gold rushers fought the permafrost in their quest to get rich. Then grab some gold of your own!
Winter: November - March | Summer: June - August
Experience Alaska fishing off the grid—whether you want to fish for world-class-trophy pike during the peak summer season or experience the fabulously unique sport of ice fishing in winter. This operator based in North Pole will coach you, based on whatever your skill level, and take you to spots so special that owner, Rod Pangborn, takes his own family there.
Gold Daughters provides a fun, hands-on way to learn about Fairbanks’ gold rush history, and get a glimpse of the same thrill that brought so many people to Alaska in the first place. Your entrance fee provides you with a poke of paydirt with guaranteed gold and lets you pan all day.
Aug 21 - Apr 21
Stand out on the Arctic tundra under the northern lights, experiencing their eerie glow on a one-day tour you won’t soon forget. From October to April, you’ll depart from Fairbanks on this one-day adventure and get a majestic flightseeing trip to the remote town of Coldfoot, above the Arctic Circle. Explore this fascinating town and look for the mysterious lights overhead. Then drive south and get a close up of all the terrain in between, seeing the Trans-Alaska Pipeline and crossing the Arctic Circle in ceremonious fashion.
Plenty of people come to Fairbanks to look at the sky—for northern lights, or to bask in the midnight sun. But this dog-mushing experience outside of Fairbanks is proof that there’s plenty more of Fairbanks to be seen at eye—or even paw—level. May through October, take a a trail ride with 16 dogs hitched up to an ATV. November through April, take a mushing tour through the snow!
You may think of reindeer as flying creatures of the imagination, but here in Alaska they’re very real. And this unique tour gives you the opportunity to get up close and personal with these magnificent animals. Walk among them and pet them—it’s truly a moment made for Instagram.
Fly from Fairbanks and travel 80 miles above the across the Arctic Circle on a scenic and historic adventure. Departing in the evening, you’ll pass over the stark terrain of northern Alaska and land at the Athabascan village of Fort Yukon. Then, with your guide, you’ll spend an hour learning all about this fascinating area—the history, how people take care of themselves in a punishing environment, and some of the characters who have called this area home. Then, as the midnight sun sets, you’ll board your plane and fly back to Fairbanks.
December - March
Plunge into a winter wonderland of spruce forests, wide open spaces and wildlife. This snowmobile tour in North Pole (just outside of Fairbanks) offers an unparalleled peek at Alaska’s interior and a serious thrill, whether you take a first-timer’s tour or embark on an overnight adventure.
Spend some time above the Arctic Circle under the mysterious, eerie northern lights. From mid-September to late April, when you have the best chance of witnessing phenomenon of the aurora borealis, you’ll fly from Fairbanks to the remote village of Coldfoot, in the Brooks Mountain Range. After the spectacular flightseeing experience, you’ll have either 3 days/2 nights or 4 days/3 nights to explore this rugged, fascinating landscape, with excursions from town. Then you’ll drive back to Fairbanks along the Dalton Highway, with some unique stops along the way.
November–March (depending on snow conditions)
Glide over the snow on a sled that’s being pulled by a team of dogs—many of whom have run the Iditarod, Yukon Quest, or other races. Go with Rod’s Alaskan Guide Service and experience the thrill of dog sledding with dogs that love to run and passionate mushers who will offer a deeper understanding of this unique sport.
Mid-May – September
Join Alaska Wildlife Guide in experiencing one of Alaska’s most desired attractions, Chena Hot Springs Resort. From visiting the most northern Ice Museum, soaking in the all-natural hot springs to learning more about geothermal energy and visiting reindeers, this tour will be a highlight of your Alaska experience.
Chena Lake has two distinct personalities: The Lake Park and The River Park. The two parks were created at the same time an earthfill dam was constructed by the Army Corps of Engineers in response to devastating Chena River floods in 1967. The dam is 7.1 miles long and controls nearly 1,500 miles of watershed that would otherwise freely flow into Fairbanks.
Seeing the Northern Lights is an unforgettable wintertime experience. Of course, you never know quite when (or even if) Mother Nature is going to unleash the display into the night sky. So while you wait, you’ll be trying your hand at another activity that’s unique to the Alaskan winter: ice fishing!
This flexible alternative to the standard bus tour is a great option for independent travelers. Get off anywhere, spend a few hours hiking, then catch another bus back to the park entrance (as long as a seat is available). You can take a short ride before starting your adventure, or travel out to Kantishna, at the end of the park road.