Climb on board an authentic Alaskan sternwheeler, the Riverboat Discovery, and take a journey back in time along the Chena and Tanana Rivers. Since 1950, the Binkley family has operated riverboat tours in Fairbanks; now you can cruise out into nature with third- and fourth-generation captains and experience the area's history and beauty firsthand. Take a tour with native Alaskans in a traditional village and meet some of the pioneers who call this land home.

Wildlife, History, and More

Sternwheeler boats transport you out into the Alaskan wilderness, but also back to a time when gold-rush fever was sweeping across the state. You climb aboard either the Discovery II or Discovery III for a fully narrated three-and-a-half-hour tour. As the wheel churns up the water, see if you can spot some of Alaska's abundant wildlife along the riverbank. Later on you'll see one of Alaska's bush pilots taking off right from the River. At a riverside fish camp, learn how Alaska natives traditionally prepared salmon for smoking and drying. (You'll find out how good it tastes when you sample Captain Jim's smoked salmon). Further down the river, share in the excitement, joy and hard work of an Iditarod dog kennel, run by the family of the late Iditarod champion Susan Butcher. The Discovery's pilot won't let you miss the amazing site we Alaskans call the "wedding of the waters", where the Chena and Tanana Rivers meet. The boiling current of the glacial Tanana creates clouds of silt that rise and fall as they meet the clear Chena waters.

Experience Native Culture

You'll also make an unforgettable one-hour stop at Chena Indian Village. Here native Alaskan guides will take you around their Athabascan village,giving you insight into their rich heritage. You'll learn about their connection to the land and animals of Alaska, and see close-up their clothing made of hide and furs, and decorated with beautiful beadwork.

Suitable for all ages and abilities. Wheelchairs available on request.

Riverboat Discovery  (1:53)

Wade Binkley

In a land with few roads, rivers serve as highways. They tell stories about the people that came before us.
Meet me

What to Bring

  • Bring a light sweater or jacket. Be sure to bring your camera

Getting There

1975 Discovery Drive
Fairbanks, AK 99709

By Car: The Riverboat Discovery is located minutes away from the Fairbanks International Airport. Take Airport Way west toward the airport, turn right onto Dale Road, the access road, and follow the signs to their property. Guests will board the Riverboat Discovery at Steamboat Landing.

Driving Directions

Prices & Dates

Season May 15 - September 17
Duration 3 hrs
Rates Boat Tour // $89.95 adult, $49.95 child | departs 8:45am & 2pm
Rate Notes Guests and motorcoaches are asked to arrive at least 30 minutes prior to departure.
Children 2 and under are free.
Early and late season schedules may vary, so please inquire to see if the tour you are interested in is available.
Suitable for all ages and abilities. Wheelchairs available on request.
Payment in full required at the time of booking.
Accepts cash, check, and credit cards: Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover.
Cancellation Policy: 48 hours or more prior to the event: Full refund.
Less than 48 hours' notice: No refund, however passenger may reschedule by calling the reservations office up to the time of their scheduled tour.

Riverboat Discovery