Alaska's interior is well known for its residents' pioneer spirit and warm hospitality. Services for tours are available throughout the larger towns and along the major highways. The Interior is the home of Alaska's Athabascan Indians, and there are historic trading routes throughout the region.

Much of the interior is very accessible with an extensive road network connecting the state. Most of the highways are state maintained and easily traversable. The Alaska Railroad provides northbound service to the Interior from Anchorage once a day. Daily flights also contribute to the ease of reaching the Interior. The primary destinations for tours in the Interior include Fairbanks, Denali National Park, and Arctic Circle excursions.

The Interior is included in most itineraries as guests travel through the state. The region offers a variety of visitor services and is able to accommodate any size tour. Tours with limited time available who would like to include the Interior may prefer to begin or end their land tour in Fairbanks.

Fairbanks

Positioned roughly in the middle of the state, Fairbanks is known as the "Gateway to the Arctic". Fairbanks hosts Alaska's second largest airport, offering select direct national and international flights. Fairbanks is an important hub and distribution center for the Interior and the entire northern sector of the state. The town has roughly 45,000 inhabitants but has the infrastructure to support many more.

Located in a valley with the surrounding Chena and Tanana rivers, Fairbanks has a variety of shops, restaurants, attractions, and hotel properties. The town is spread out with a lot of nature interspersed and a small downtown area for guests to walk around independently.

Fairbanks can be used as both a point of entry for the Interior and also as an overnight stay on multi-day itineraries. The convenient location of the city and the services available for tours of all sizes result in most land itineraries including at least one night in Fairbanks. For those with limited time to explore the Interior, a stop in Fairbanks allows guests to experience a slice of both gold rush history and rural Native Alaskan life.

Accessibility

Fairbanks is easily accessible by highway from Anchorage and Valdez to the south, and from the Alaska/Canada highway to the east. The international airport is located just minutes from town. During summer months, there are a few daily non-stop flights to the continental United States. A large number of flights are scheduled for early in the morning or late at night to ensure the best possible connections.

The Alaska Railroad has a daily morning southbound departure and an evening northbound arrival from Denali and Anchorage. The recently built and centrally located depot enables for quick check-in. Allow extra time if the guests will be checking luggage through to the next destination.

Activities & Attractions

  • Sternwheeler Cruise - Sternwheelers, or riverboats, operate cruises on the Chena and Tanana rivers. Steamboats were once a common sight on the Tanana and Chena rivers as they hauled freight and prospectors into the interior.
  • Gold Dredge No.8 - Located ten miles north of Fairbanks, Gold Dredge No. 8 is a popular site as the only authentic gold dredge in the area open to the public. The guided tour through the facility includes panning for gold and an option to enjoy a hearty miner's lunch.
  • Flightseeing - Most popular trips are to the Arctic Circle, North Slope, Barrow, and Prudhoe Bay. Generally, seat capacity for most tour sizes is available if booked in advance.
  • Golden Heart Revue - The show is a light-hearted and comical review of historical characters dating from Alaska's early days to the present.
  • Museum of the North - The museum features cultural and natural history exhibits drawn from the entire state. Highlights include the state's largest gold display, the story of the pipeline, and a special (highly recommended) section on the Northern Lights.
  • North Pole - Just 15 minutes from Fairbanks, North Pole was created in the 1940's in the hopes that toy manufacturers would move to town and use a "Made at North Pole" advertising label. A Santa Claus house complete with live reindeer and a gift shop is a popular attraction.
  • Pioneer Park - Located in the heart of Fairbanks, Pioneer Park is a 44-acre historic theme park with classic and historic buildings. The park offers an excellent venue for guests to walk around and there is easy parking.
  • Salmon Bake - Situated on the side of Pioneer Park, the Fairbanks Salmon Bake is easy to add to any itinerary. Shuttle service by school bus is available for a nominal fee from some of the local hotels.

Accommodation

As one of the Alaskan towns that experiences year-round demand for its hospitality services, a variety of accommodations can be found. A number of accommodations are located on or near the river and offer river-view rooms or cabins. The properties will either have restaurants built within or located nearby.

Dining

Restaurants in Fairbanks vary from major fast food chains to fine dining Alaskan style (great food with casual dress). There is something to be found for everyone's budget and whether guests prefer to eat together or individually.

Chena Hot Springs

Chena Hot Springs was discovered by two gold mining brothers, Robert and Thomas Swan who learned that a U.S. Geological Survey crew, in 1904, had seen steam rising from a valley somewhere on the upper Chena River. The surveyors concluded that it had to be from a hot springs. The Chena geothermal system is fed by water which circulates deep underground over a period of thousands of years, picking up the natural heat from the earth, and then 'short circuits' back up to the surface through cracks and fractures in the granite rock underneath the hot springs area.

Accessibility

Chena Hot Springs is located 60 miles from Fairbanks and is accessed by road.

Attractions & Activities

  • Hot Springs & Pool - Relax in the natural hot springs of Rock Lake or swim in the indoor pool.
  • Snow Coach Tour - From early December to late March you can take a snow coach tour where you venture to the top of the hillside for aurora viewing.
  • Aurora Viewing - Located away from the bright city lights, Chena Hot Springs is a spectacular place to view the Northern Lights. Step into the Aurorium, a log cabin with large glass windows, to stay warm while you watch the colors dance across the sky.
  • Kennel Tours - Whether you visit in the summer or winter, take a tour of the Chena Dog Sled Kennel. An experienced musher will teach you about the sport and share their knowledge with you.
  • Dog Sled/Cart Rides - Experience the Alaskan sport of dog mushing. In the winter months, you will be pulled by a team of Alaskan huskies on a traditional dog sled whereas in the summer, you will be pulled on a custom built wheeled cart.
  • Ice Museum - Visit the world's largest year-round ice museum. Completed in January 2005, this museum stays at a cool 25 degrees Fahrenheit year-round.
  • Geothermal Renewable Energy Tours - This free tour provides guests the opportunity to learn about different energy saving projects. (only available in the winter)
  • Flightseeing - A variety of scenic flights are offered from Chena in an Alaskan Bush plane.
  • ATV Tours - Guided ATV tours are offered in the summer to explore this breathtaking destination (only available in the summer).
  • Snow Machine Tours - In the winter, explore the resort with a guided snow machine tour. This tour will take you to areas only accessible by snow machine.
  • Horseback Rides - Explore the scenic and peaceful trails surrounding Chena Hot Springs on horseback. You can choose from a 30 minute to 1 hour ride (only available in the summer).
  • Spa Treatments - With over 15 different massage therapy options, rejuvenate yourself with a trip to the massage boutique, Harmony Massage.

Accommodation

The Chena Hot Springs Resort is open year-round.

Dining

The Chena Hot Springs Resort Restaurant is a greenhouse to table restaurant featuring fresh ingredients grown on site. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Tok

Tok is strategically located on the Alaska/Canada Highway and is physically at the crossroads for travel around the state. Highway routes to Fairbanks, Anchorage, Dawson City, and Whitehorse converge here. The tiny community is an important distribution hub for the vast region of Eastern Alaska.

Accessibility

Tok lies along the Alaska/Canada Highway and is a frequent overnight stop for visitors traveling between Alaska and Yukon.

Attractions & Activities

  • Typically a stopping point to stretch your legs or offer a reprieve from a long day of touring, there are no activities offered during a stay in Tok.

Accommodation

Tok is home to a small collection of properties ranging from simple hotels to rustic bed and breakfasts.

Dining

There are limited restaurants in Tok.

Denali National Park

Denali National Park is one of North America's best locations to view an impressive array of wildlife which roam freely in the spectacular park setting. Access into the national park is restricted, but with luck you may spot some moose, caribou, Dall sheep, grizzly bears, or a wolf on a bus tour. Please keep in mind there is only one road in the park and six million acres to wander; we highly recommend guests and tour leaders bring binoculars.

The focal point of Denali National Park is Mt. McKinley (20,320 feet), North America's highest mountain, which sits amidst the prestigious Alaska Range. Mt. McKinley cannot be seen from the Park Entrance where the majority of accommodations and visitor services are located.

Accessibility

You can reach the Denali National Park entrance by road from Anchorage or Fairbanks as well as railroad. The Denali rail road depot is located at the park entrance. There is only one road that goes into the park and it is restricted so that only tour buses and shuttles may travel on it.

Attractions & Activities

  • Wilderness & Wildlife Tours - Access into Denali National Park is restricted, so you will not be able to bring your favorite driver and coach. Instead, there are half and full-day guided seat-in tour options by bus. Early morning and late afternoon are the main departure times for travel by bus into the park's interior.
  • Flightseeing - Experience an eagle's eye view of Mt. McKinley and Denali National Park as you soar overhead. Appreciate the skills of flying with a true Alaskan bush pilot. The sheer immensity and geographical make up of Alaska's interior is even more imposing aboard a helicopter or fixed wing plane.
  • Dinner Shows - Great fun for guests! There are a few shows to choose from. They take a humorous look at Denali's history through a mix of colorful storytelling and spirited music.
  • River Rafting - The Nenana River is known for river rafting in Alaska. There is a choice of whitewater paddle trips or scenic floats. Both options include an expert guide, but you have the choice between joining a self paddle raft, or relaxing while the guide controls the oars. River rafting is a great way to experience Alaska at its best, and even more fun with a some friends and fellow travelers.
  • Kennel Tours - During the summer months, Jeff King invites you to join him on his homestead and learn about what it takes to compete, and win, the "Last Great Race". You will even have a chance to hold the puppies!
  • Jeep Adventure - Take the wheel and follow your guide on a spectacular off-road journey on the Stampede trail/road outside of Healy.
  • Hiking - With over 600 million acres, Denali National Park has no shortage on hiking trails.

Accommodation

At the Denali National Park entrance, there are a number of different hotels and lodges available for your stay. There's also a valley seven miles south of the park that has a few hotels and riverfront cabins at lower rates than at the park entrance. Alternatively, a cluster of wilderness and nature lodges are found deep within the heart of Denali National Park in the area of Kantishna. The lodges vary in cost, activities, and comfort level, but offer a true wilderness experience. Advance planning for Denali National Park accommodations is highly recommended.

Dining

Almost every hotel at the Denali Park entrance has their own restaurant but if you journey into 'town' there are a number of rustic Alaskan dining options.


Alaska Regions:

Southcentral | Southwest | Southeast | Interior | Far North | Yukon, Canada

Back to Top