Fairbanks, Denali and the Arctic: An Iconic Week

Photo by Kim Grant

From reindeer and hot springs to the Arctic Circle and North America's tallest peak

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When people think of an iconic trip Alaska, it usually includes Fairbanks, Denali and the Arctic. This road trip includes all the best places to visit, and top things to see and do.

Day 1: Fairbanks

Start the day on a riverboat cruise aboard a sternwheeler. While enjoying the cruise, see a dog sledding presentation, a bush plane perform aerial stunts, and learn about life at an Athabascan Indian village. Afterwards do a gold tour at one of two mines and pan for gold. On the way back to town, stop by the Trans-Alaska Pipeline Visitor Center. Or be sure to visit the University of Alaska Museum of the North, one of the top 10 attractions in the state. Learn about our gold rush history, the dynamic aurora borealis, and the people that have made Alaska the diverse place it is today. See musk ox, an ice-age survivor, and reindeer on a tour of the University’s Large Animal Research Station.

Day 2: Far North to the Arctic Circle

An early start awaits you this morning for your adventure north to Alaska’s Arctic. Several companies offer tours along the famed Dalton Highway, the only highway in the U.S. to cross the mighty Yukon River and to connect the highway system to the Arctic Ocean. View the majestic Brooks Range, walk on spongy Arctic tundra, and keep your eyes peeled for caribou, bears, and other wildlife. You’ll return to Fairbanks with an incredible experience, and an official Arctic Circle Certificate.

Day 3: Chena Hot Springs

This morning, drive one hour to a local hot springs. Be sure to bring your swimsuit so you can enjoy a leisurely swim in the outdoor hot springs, where 40-below weather will feel warm. The Aurora Ice Museum is the largest year-round ice environment in the world. It is created from over 1,000 tons of ice and snow, all harvested at Chena Hot Springs. Climb an Ice Tower, curl up in a Polar Bear Bed, watch a game of life size chess, or pull up a stool at the Stoli Ice Bar and have a martini pour through a sculpted ice fish into your very own sculpted ice glass. After a hearty meal at an historic resort, keep your eyes peeled for wildlife and/or the northern lights. Overnight in Chena.

Day 4: Fairbanks to Denali

Enjoy a 2-hour drive from Fairbanks south to Denali National Park, home to Mt. McKinley, North America’s tallest peak. Take a full-day guided tour to see sweeping landscapes and incredible wildlife.

Day 5: Denali

Denali National Park offers a variety of activities. Take a flightseeing tour via small plane or helicopter, or try a whitewater rafting excursion. Stay in the area for an evening program.

Day 6: Denali to Talkeetna

Continue south to the town of Talkeetna to see majestic views of Mt. McKinley. Experience a guided fishing trip, Jeep tour or wildlife and scenic jet boat tour.

Day 7: Talkeetna to Eklutna to Anchorage

Enjoy a scenic drive south to Eklutna Historical Park. Tour St. Nicholas Russian Church and view brightly painted “spirit houses.” Experience a canoe and bike excursion at Eklutna Lake or hike majestic Thunderbird Falls. Learn about local wildlife at the Eagle River Nature Center or walk trails in the stunning gored valley. Continue to Anchorage to enjoy a meal of exquisite, fresh seafood – wild Alaska salmon is a local dining specialty.

This week long trip is a combination of two different itineraries, both compliments of Alaska Travel.

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