“In 1902, when prospector E.T. Barnette accidentally ended up here, he could hardly have envisioned today’s Fairbanks: His gold strike drew frantic diggers who helped grow the town into Alaska’s second-largest city. Today, you can step back in time to tour goldmines and check out the world of tomorrow at the city’s cutting-edge university. Then soak up the unique flora nd fauna, flight-hop up to the Arctic Circle, or just wander downtown and experience this proudly quirky town that still holds onto its fiercely independent roots.”
Things to do in Fairbanks include:
River tour. Hop on board a traditional sternwheeler for an authentic river experience. Riverboat Discovery offers a three-hour cruise on the Chena and Tanana rivers among the forest of pine. It includes a guided walking tour of an authentic Athabascan Indian village, along with a stop at the home of Iditarod dog-sled race winner Susan Butcher.
Gold mine tour. Ride a narrow-gauge railroad on a two-hour guided tour of El Dorado Gold Mine, stopping in a permafrost tunnel to learn about historic mining method and pan for your own gold.
Natural mineral waters. Soak in the natural mineral waters of Chena Hot Springs, a 440 acre resort located 60 miles from Fairbanks; once you’re done with the prune-treatment, go fishing, horseback riding, canoeing, mountain biking or get a massage.
Trans-Alaska Pipeline. Drive to mile 8.4 of the Steese Highway just north of Fairbanks for a walk-up view of the pipeline.
Flying tour to the Arctic Circle. Experience the vast, undisturbed wilderness of northern Alaska on a five-hour flight with Northern Alaska Tour Company.
Logistics: Fairbanks (PAFA) has a big, paved airport that is less than a two hour flight in a Cirrus from Anchorage or the Kenai Peninsula. Consider taking a day-trip to Barrow (PABR), at the northern coast of Alaska, a 440 nm trip (roughly three hours in a Cirrus) from Fairbanks.