Best Things To Do In Fairbanks

1. Gold Rush

Try your luck at gold panning in the backcountry areas of Fairbanks

Try your luck at gold panning in the backcountry areas of Fairbanks

Gold panning, train ride, guaranteed gold, gold rush history

Fairbanks owes its existence to the gold fever that descended on the Tanana Valley. The city is proud of its gold rush history, which you can learn about on a visit to the authentic Gold Dredge 8. Head off to the gold fields of Interior Alaska on an open-air train car as you listen to lore and legend of the day. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Gold Dredge 8 is a mechanical wonder, a huge machine that “walked” across the land, scooping up pay dirt. You can scoop up your own pay dirt by learning to pan for gold. Both Gold Dredge 8 and Gold Daughters offer panning experiences with guaranteed gold, along with the thrill of a potential nugget. Try your luck, and you’ll capture gold fever and an understanding of what it was like to be an early pioneer in this remote environment. Tours run mid-May to mid-September.

2. Chena River

Riverwalk, kayak/canoe, historic sternwheeler, dog mushing, Native culture

The Chena River winds through Fairbanks, creating opportunities for an easily-accessible stroll or paddle. Take a self-guided tour along the Chena Riverwalk's 3.5- mile stretch, taking you past parks, museums and historic districts. You can also find local canoe, kayak or stand-up paddleboard rentals for a leisurely 2-hour paddle along the Chena’s twists and turns. From mid-May to mid-September, the Riverboat Discovery offers an historic option for getting out on the Chena as passenger on an authentic sternwheeler. The 3.5-hour tour includes engaging stops where you’ll learn about dog mushing, bush pilots, and Alaska Native culture. You’ll also voyage to the confluence of the Chena and Tanana rivers, where the currents collide in epic fashion.

Climb on board an authentic Alaskan sternwheeler and take a journey back in time

Climb on board an authentic Alaskan sternwheeler and take a journey back in time

3. History

An museum display of a vintage dress and old fashioned car

The Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum is full of Gold Rush era history and artifacts

Museums and visitor centers, gold rush, pioneer history, Alaska transportation

Learn about the influences that have shaped modern day Fairbanks, including its fascinating gold rush history, pioneering spirit and rich Alaska Native culture. The Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center is a good place to start. It’s open year-round and offers visitor and public lands info, films, and Athabascan cultural programming. Pioneer Park has museums and displays dedicated to the gold rush and early pioneers, as well as industry and transportation. Most are closed in winter, but you can still stroll through the park and find pioneer homes that have been relocated here, along with a sternwheeler riverboat and railcar. You’ll marvel at the vintage fashions and still-operable antique cars at Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum, open year-round. More than 80 cars showcase the evolution of the automobile from 1898 to 1936.

Finally, the UA Museum of the North offers natural/cultural galleries from 5 distinct regions of Alaska and Alaska’s largest public display of gold.

4. Northern Lights

Check off seeing the spectacular Northern Lights from your bucket list

Check off seeing the spectacular Northern Lights from your bucket list

Active aurora displays from August 21-April 21, informal viewing or formal tours near Fairbanks or Coldfoot

Fairbanks is one of the premiere destinations for seeing the Northern Lights, due to its location under the “Aurora Oval,” the zone over the far north with concentrated aurora activity. Weather does affect viewing conditions, so plan to stay at least three nights to get the best chance for a mesmerizing display. Formal aurora viewing tours offer info, photography tips and a chance to get away from city lights for optimum viewing. Relax at the Aurora Pointe Activity Center just outside Fairbanks, where you can step in and out at your leisure, enjoy the fire, and warm up with hot drinks. Or soak in natural hot springs while viewing the northern lights at local favorite Chena Hot Springs Resort. Combine a quintessential Alaska experience – fishing – with northern lights viewing on the Aurora Ice Fishing tour. Stay at a remote wilderness lodge. Or, you can fly or drive to remote Coldfoot, above the Arctic Circle, where crisp, clear weather makes for truly spectacular aurora displays.

5. Dog Sledding

Summer and winter dog sledding tours

Dog teams were essential to wintertime travel in Alaska’s early days, and the mushing tradition is still strong. Hop on a sled yourself to capture the excitement of working dogs eager to hit the trails. Tour guides are active mushers who love the lifestyle and the sport of dog mushing. Black Spruce Dog Sledding is based about 45 minutes from Fairbanks and offers tours from 1-3 hours long. In summer, the dogs will pull you on a five-passenger utility terrain vehicle. In winter, enjoy picturesque trails through a dense black spruce forest. Ride along, or even take a hand at driving the sled! From November-March, Rod’s Alaska Guide Service offers dog sledding experiences through the Alaska wilderness, from a ½ hour ride up to 5-hour tours that can be combined with aurora viewing, ice fishing or both! Many of Rod’s team have completed the Iditarod or Yukon Quest, so you’ll get a deeper understanding of this unique sport.

A team of sled dogs races down a winter trail

A team from Black Spruce Dog Sledding gives one guest a thrilling ride. © Whitney McLaren

6. Arctic Tours and Polar Bear Viewing

Someone kneels in the Alaskan tundra to photograph fallen antlers

Northern Alaska Tour Co will lead you through the wild Alaskan Arctic.

Arctic Circle, Dalton Highway, Alaska Native culture, Gates of the Arctic National Park, polar bear viewing, SUV rentals

Fairbanks is an ideal jumping-off point to venture north of the Arctic Circle and take in the landscapes and lifestyles of the far north. To explore on your own, rent an SUV and travel the Dalton highway all the way north to Deadhorse/Prudhoe Bay, on the shores of the Arctic Ocean. This northernmost route promises amazing vistas, limited services and unlimited adventure! (Plan for a 3-4 day rental for the entire journey). For those with shorter time frames, Northern Alaska Tour Company offers several options for exploring the Arctic, including bus tours, flights, guided hikes, scenic floats and overnight trips. Fly to communities like Anaktuvak Pass, where you’ll learn about the village lifestyle in rural Alaska. Or fly to Coldfoot, Gates of the Arctic National Park, or the Arctic Ocean. The Polar Bear Expedition is limited to just 114 guests each year. The one-day excursion takes you to the small village of Kaktovik, where 20-60 polar bears gather in late summer waiting for the ice pack to return.

A fox drinking water out of a stream

Take advantage of observing and photographing animals at the Fountainhead Wedgewood Wildlife Sanctuary

7. Wildlife

Muskoxen, reindeer, beavers, foxes, birds, guided tours and informal walks

Interior Alaska has abundant wildlife, with several viewing opportunities Fairbanks. Learn about muskoxen and reindeer at the University of Alaska’s Large Animal Research Station (LARS), offering daily tours year-round. Learn about reindeer from the knowledgeable and passionate owners of Running Reindeer Ranch. A one-hour tour gives you time to walk with, pet and take pictures with a small reindeer herd. Explore the Fountainhead Wedgewood Wildlife Sanctuary or Creamer’s Field where more than 100 species of mammals and birds have been identified. The two are joined by miles of trails that take you through a variety of habitats. Watch for foxes, beavers, flying squirrels, snowshoe hare, and moose. Bird lovers enjoy spotting sandhill cranes, tundra swans, kingfishers, owls, mallards and many more.

8. Winter Wonderland

Someone on a snowmachining through the snow

Dash through the snow on a snowmachine with Rod's Alaskan Guide Service

Dog sledding, ice fishing, snowmobile tours, cross-country skiing

Staying active outside in the winter is a way of life for Alaskans – and it’s fun! Several winter tours get you out in the snow and the crisp, refreshing air for an invigorating Alaska adventure. Riding along in a dogsled is a fun way to experience the excitement that Alaska sled dogs bring to every excursion. Their happiness to be out on the trail is infectious! Or opt for more modern winter transport, and book a thrilling snowmobile tour that puts you in the driver seat and exploring forests trails and frozen lakes. If you want a quiet explore of the woods on your own power, cross-country skiing is a popular local winter activity that is also a great workout. (There are a few local stores that will rent equipment.) And if you’re like a lot of visitors to Alaska, fishing is a big draw. Ice fishing is completely different than standing along the shore of a river – and it’s a lot of fun! Go with the pros and you’ll fish for King salmon, grayling, rainbow trout and more from a custom-built ice fishing shelter.

9. Midnight Sun and Summer Festivals

People walking down the isle of an outdoor farmer's market

Shop like a local at one of the farmer's markets

Festivals, Farmer’s markets, botanical gardens

Located in the Interior region of Alaska, Fairbanks gets hotter, more “summer-like” conditions than other Alaska destinations. After cold winters, summer is a time to celebrate long hours of daylight, enjoy the outdoors, and watch flowers and veggies grow to epic proportions. Stroll through the Georgeson Botanical Garden or area farmers markets and you’ll see many of these wonders, especially in late summer. The garden is located on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus and is a lovely sanctuary of alpine flowers, trees, shrubs, and herbs. Explore farmers markets for local veggies, reindeer sausage, locally-made art, and gawk-worthy giant produce. If you’re in town for summer solstice, you can’t escape the daylight, or the massive Midnight Sun Festival, which boasts crowds up to 30,000. The 12-hour celebration is packed with live music, performances, and hundreds of food and souvenirs. Try your hand at gold panning, pet some sled dog puppies, and cheer for the BBQ cook-off contestants.

Fairbanks Day Tours & Attractions View All

Season: Year Round $75+ Dogsled Tours 1-3 hrs

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!

Season: Year Round $70+

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.

Season: Sep 21 to May 08 $199 10 hours

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.

Season: May 15 to Sep 15 $20+

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.

Season: Jun 01 to Aug 31 $599+ 5 hrs

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.

$139+ 1 hr to full day

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.

Season: Year Round $149+

The folks at Arc­tic Out­fit­ters are trav­el spe­cial­ists, and they’ll work hard to help you plan a trip to fit your needs. Arc­tic Out­fit­ters rents reli­able, sta­ble vehi­cles that are spe­cial­ly equipped for remote travel.

Season: Nov 01 to Mar 28 $115+ 4 hrs - multi-day packages

Won­der­ing how folks up here deal with Alaska’s long win­ter days? It’s easy when the inky night sky comes alive with an amaz­ing light show like the auro­ra bore­alis. Brav­ing the cold is noth­ing if you get a chance to see the lights danc­ing and wav­ing over­head. Com­bine your auro­ra view­ing trip with a few oth­er high­lights planned out by Salmon Berry Tours, and you’ll expe­ri­ence the best of win­ter in Alaska.

$145 per person 7.5 hours

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.

Season: Aug 21 to Apr 21 $699+ per person

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  ...more

$509+ 14 - 15 hrs

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  ...more

Season: May 14 to Sep 20 $66 to $395

This train trav­els through the forest­ed areas north of Anchor­age into the bore­al for­est, and even­tu­al­ly into the tun­dra regions fur­ther north. On a clear day the train will slow down to allow you to see beau­ti­ful vis­tas of Denali. You may also spot wildlife along the way. Day Trip from Anchor­age: Tal­keet­na Day Trip from Fair­banks: Denali Mul­ti-Day Trip from Anchor­age: Tal­keet­na, Denali Nation­al Park, and / or Fair­banks Mul­ti-Day Trip  ...more

Season: May 13 to Sep 19 $69.95 3.5 hrs

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  ...more

Season: Aug 01 to Sep 20 $42.95+ 2 hrs

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!

$79+ per person 1/2 - 8 hrs

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.

Season: Aug 21 to Apr 10 $389 shoulder, $449+ Peak & Holiday 2+ Nights

Locat­ed on a qui­et ridge­line out­side of Fair­banks, the Bore­alis Base­camp offers 15 ele­gant clear-roofed igloos that have been cus­tom designed and specif­i­cal­ly posi­tioned to max­i­mize your view­ing of the North­ern Lights. You’ll also have the chance to take advan­tage of the camps many win­ter activ­i­ties like dogsled­ding, snow­ma­chin­ing, snow­shoe­ing, and fat-tire biking. 

Season: Aug 22 to Apr 03 $175 per person 10 hours

Join Alas­ka Wildlife Guide in explor­ing 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 view­ing the breath­tak­ing North­ern Lights dance across the sky, this tour will be a high­light of your Alaskan experience.

Season: Year Round $139+ ice fishing, $315+ fly-in fishing 4+ hrs

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.

Season: Aug 25 to Sep 25 $1,989

Explore one of the last fron­tiers – the Arc­tic – by land, sea and air in a one-day expe­di­tion that offers an excel­lent chance of see­ing polar bears play­ing, eat­ing and snooz­ing in the wild.

$199+ 4+ hours

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!

$40 per person 4 hrs

Just a short 15-minute dri­ve from down­town Fair­banks, wait for the north­ern lights to appear in a warm, invit­ing space. Cozy up to the fire, sip on cocoa and cof­fee, and step out­side when moth­er nature puts on a show. Although the cen­ter is a short dis­tance from town, it is far enough away so that you won’t have to wor­ry about light pol­lu­tion inter­rupt­ing your view as you stand gaz­ing under the vast, star­lit sky.

Season: May 15 to Sep 15 $489 4 hrs

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  ...more

$199+ Half Day to Multi-Day Excursions

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.

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Fairbanks Parks & Trails View All

Difficulty: Moderate

The White Moun­tains Nation­al Recre­ation Area is home to 200+-miles of trail tra­vers­ing a mil­lion acres of wilder­ness and a moun­tain range named for the dom­i­nant col­or of its lime­stone foun­da­tion. To get there, dri­ve 28 miles on the Elliott High­way from Fox (where it splits with the Steese) and look for signs mark­ing the trail­head. The trail­head is the start­ing point for both the Sum­mit Trail, and the Ski Loop Trail, a 5‑mile loop and a nice  ...more

Difficulty: Easy Distance: 2 miles

This path was con­struct­ed to pro­vide a place for hik­ers to view the plantlife around inte­ri­or Alas­ka. This is a unique trail that allows hik­ers to view things that would be impos­si­ble to hike with­out a trail. There are all types of wildlife and small plants. Water­boots are rec­om­mend­ed in spring. 

Difficulty: Easy Distance: 3 miles

Eas­i­ly one of the most scenic dri­ves in the Inte­ri­or, the trip out to Table Top Moun­tain from Fair­banks winds deep into the cen­ter of White Moun­tains Nation­al Recre­ation Area, ris­ing up hill­sides and dip­ping down into val­leys for a rolling pic­ture show of spruce for­est and snaking riverbeds. The hike to Table Top Moun­tain is just as spec­tac­u­lar, pro­vid­ing panoram­ic views of the White Moun­tains from the cen­ter of the range, and is a short must  ...more

Difficulty: Difficult

This 15-mile loop is well worth the mod­er­ate to stren­u­ous hike. This trail pro­vides views of tors, unusu­al­ly shaped out­crop­pings that were formed 70 mil­lion to 90 mil­lion years ago when molten rock pushed upward and cooled before reach­ing the surface.

Difficulty: Easy

The Chena River­walk makes for a relax­ing self-paced stroll along the Chena Riv­er and through the most scenic parks and plazas of his­toric down­town. It’s best when flow­ers are in full bloom (July-August). The path stretch­es approx­i­mate­ly 3.5 miles between Pio­neer Park and Air­port Way, with longer options avail­able. Or — park at Immac­u­late Con­cep­tion Church or in the Down­town Trans­porta­tion Cen­ter for a short­er jaunt.

Difficulty: Easy Distance: 11 miles

This hike is great for the ear­ly-ris­ing fly fish­er­man. The lake is full of grayling and there are often cari­bou, moose and bears along the trail. The hike fol­lows an old min­ing trail that par­al­lels the Susit­na Riv­er to Snod­grass Lake. There are many active mines along this hike and be sure to keep an eye out for grizzleys. 

Recre­ation­al and com­pet­i­tive cross-coun­try skiers alike are pas­sion­ate about Birch Hill Recre­ation Area; a favorite among locals with its exten­sive and chal­leng­ing trails that are always well-groomed, for both clas­si­cal and skate skiers.

Difficulty: Easy

From the top of the domes, take the side trails to the south sides of the hills and look for both blue­ber­ries and cranberries. 

The idea of this down­town plaza stemmed from a cel­e­bra­tion of the sil­ver anniver­sary of Alaska’s state­hood in 1984. Through the work of Fes­ti­val Fair­banks, Inc. 84 Direc­tor, William R. Wood, the Fair­banks City Coun­cil sup­port­ed the cre­ation of the Gold­en Heart Plaza. Con­struc­tion was com­plet­ed in 1987 and fund­ed by dona­tions from Fair­banks cit­i­zens, fam­i­lies, busi­ness­es, and associations. 

Grow­den Park is an expan­sive park sit­u­at­ed in down­town Fair­banks. Growden’s play­ground and open play areas are pop­u­lar with Fair­banks fam­i­lies, and uti­lized for a vari­ety of recre­ation­al activ­i­ties rang­ing from fris­bee foot­ball to medieval arts and role playing.

Difficulty: Easy

A win­ter use trail that access­es two cab­ins; Angel Creek Low­er Cab­in and Angel Creek Upper Cab­in. It’s pos­si­ble to hike in dur­ing the sum­mer, but the ground is usu­al­ly very wet, so it’s advis­able to take the new sum­mer trail to the upper cab­in. It leaves from near the low­er cab­in and tra­vers­es the hill­sides for sev­er­al miles before descend­ing to the upper cabin. 

Difficulty: Moderate

Grape­fruit Rocks is on the short list of favorite spots for local rock climbers, who make fre­quent week­end trips to these lime­stone for­ma­tions and boul­ders stand­ing 50 miles north of Fair­banks. Grape­fruit Rocks is both off the beat­en path” and yet still acces­si­ble by road, and offers some of the best rock climb­ing in the Inte­ri­or. It makes for a great day hike to watch climbers attempt runs on a vari­ety of lime­stone facades. Feel­ing bold?  ...more

Difficulty: Moderate

This is a mod­er­ate­ly dif­fi­cult 5 mile long trail that begins and ends at the Wick­er­sham Dome Trail­head at Mile 28 Elliot High­way. This trail offers beau­ti­ful views of the Alas­ka Range and Denali (Mt. McKinley).

This pub­lic use area rough­ly 2,000 acres is sand­wiched between Sheep Creek, Gold­stream and Bal­laine roads. The area is criss-crossed with dog mush­ing, ski­ing, ski­jor­ing and snow­ma­chine trails. This is also is a pop­u­lar blue­ber­ry-pick­ing spot.

Difficulty: Easy

One of the ways in which the Uni­ver­si­ty of Alas­ka Fair­banks (UAF) dis­tin­guish­es itself is through an insti­tu­tion-wide affin­i­ty for the out­doors (their newest slo­gan is Nat­u­ral­ly Inspir­ing”). And much to the delight of stu­dents and res­i­dents, UAF main­tains an in-town trail net­work for ski­ing, hik­ing, snow­shoe­ing, bik­ing, and run­ning that is direct­ly acces­si­ble from cam­pus (also very pop­u­lar with dog walkers). 

Locat­ed on San­ta Claus Lane, the Ter­ry Miller Memo­r­i­al Park fea­tures a pic­nic area, chil­dren’s play­ground, a spa­cious gaze­bo donat­ed by the North Pole Rotary Club and an up close view of the Alas­ka Rail­road as it pass­es by.

Difficulty: Easy

This is an exten­sion from Low­er Angel Creek Cab­in and serves as the sum­mer access route to reach Upper Angel Creek Cab­in because the win­ter route is too wet to hike until the trail freezes. 

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 29 miles

One of the best trips near Fair­banks fea­tures incred­i­ble views, excel­lent walk­ing, and easy logis­tics. For much of the route you’ll fol­low rock cairns accom­pa­nied by mileage posts as you cruise through undu­lat­ing alpine ter­rain. This is a suit­able trip for a begin­ner back­pack­er who has a high lev­el of fitness.

Difficulty: Moderate

A short or long day hike awaits at Angel Rocks, a scenic dri­ve out Chena Hot Springs Road and with­in easy range of the reju­ve­nat­ing waters that have drawn trav­el­ers for over a cen­tu­ry. The best option for a short day trip in this area is the 3.5‑mile loop that begins on even ground along the north fork of the Chena Riv­er and then sharply climbs up 900ft. For a longer hike to end with a refresh­ing dip in nat­ur­al hot springs, park at the same  ...more

Once a small dairy owned by a cou­ple named Cream­er, this land is now an extra­or­di­nary wildlife refuge. More than 100 species of birds and mam­mals call this wilder­ness home (sand­hill cranes and mal­lards show up all sum­mer), and there are miles of trails that mean­der through a vari­ety of habitats.

This is the site of the orig­i­nal air­field in Fair­banks, from which the first air­plane to leave the ground in Alas­ka took flight in 1913. Today, res­i­dents often use the grassy open areas to fly kites, exer­cise their dogs, or have a pic­nic. School chil­dren walk between the library and ele­men­tary school that bor­der the park to the east and west. Wildlife sight­ings are always a pos­si­bil­i­ty, par­tic­u­lar­ly for birds and moose.

Difficulty: Easy

Mur­phy Dome is a recre­ation­al site most pop­u­lar with ATV rid­ers and hik­ers. It lies about twen­ty miles out­side of the Fair­banks, most of which are trav­eled on Mur­phy Dome Road off of Sheep Creek Road which can be accessed from the UAF cam­pus. This Dome is also a pop­u­lar place to watch sun­sets in the sum­mer and fall, or to observe the north­ern lights in winter. 

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