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Posted: 12/11/2022 12:19:29 PM EST
Wife and I are considering Fairbanks for our tenth anniversary. We do beaches all the time and want to change things up.

Looks like decent daylight and temps are still pretty cold.

What's good to do and what's super touristy? I've heard Chena hot springs isn't as good as it looks and the ice bar is pretty meh.

We are outdoors folks so I know we will be snowshoeing at least one day.
Link Posted: 12/11/2022 12:47:18 PM EST
[Last Edit: Rosta97] [#1]
Chena hot springs is super touristy for sure. Really popular with the Asian community. Owner also doesn’t have the best reputation.

Tolovana hot springs isn’t as touristy. But harder to get to.

Head out to Castner glacier about 40 miles past delta junction. While the ice cave did have a collapse this summer it still looks like it’s worth the trip.

Stay a night or two in a public use cabin if you are into roughing it(no electricity, outhouse). They range from being able to drive a car to to being 25 miles from the road.

Chena lake and tanana lake have ice huts you can rent for $35ish and they provide every thing but the pole. Think it even includes a bundle of wood for the wood stove.


Take a drive up to the Arctic circle sign.

Chena river state rec area has some good trails for hiking. Also some public use cabins.
Link Posted: 12/17/2022 1:37:24 PM EST
[#2]
Thanks for the replies. We are officially booked for end of February. Gonna rent a house or cabin or something and see if we can catch the Northern Lights.

Is the Arctic circle drivable in a small SUV?
Link Posted: 12/18/2022 9:08:55 AM EST
[#3]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By rippr334:
Thanks for the replies. We are officially booked for end of February. Gonna rent a house or cabin or something and see if we can catch the Northern Lights.

Is the Arctic circle drivable in a small SUV?
View Quote

To the sign yeah. It’s not overly far. However a lot of rental agencies specifically say no dalton highway.

Make sure to have emergency supplies and clothing if you do make that drive.

Let me know if you need anything else or want to grab a beer or something while you are in town.
Link Posted: 12/19/2022 3:52:09 AM EST
[Last Edit: NorthPolar] [#4]
FYI check your rental contract, a lot of them don't let you get off the paved road system, so no going to Circle, etc.  Odds are good for the aurora, there will be plenty of dog sledding available, the multiblock ice carving at the world championships should be open, etc.
Link Posted: 12/20/2022 12:01:37 AM EST
[Last Edit: PerfectTurn] [#5]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By NorthPolar:
FYI check your rental contract, a lot of them don't let you get off the paved road system, so no going to Circle, etc.  Odds are good for the aurora, there will be plenty of dog sledding available, the multiblock ice carving at the world championships should be open, etc.
View Quote


I rented a Nissan Frontier down in anchorage and they specifically said exactly that, paved only. But there was zero chance that was stopping me. Drove up about an hour north of Coldfoot and had the absolute time of my life. I understand their position though because that frontier was peppered way worse than when I got it but they never said a word.

Here’s where I turned around and 2 bonus shots below it:

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Link Posted: 12/27/2022 9:32:29 PM EST
[#6]
Any suggestions for trails to snowshoe in Denali? Or must sees there in general.

We fly in on Saturday and out on Friday, so our time is pretty limited.

Currently my wife has only asked that we at least go dogsledding.

Each day so far:
So I figure dogsledding and exploring town.
Reindeer ranch and then ice fishing at night, probably, to see the Aurora and fish.
Snowshoeing Denali

That leaves us two other days. We don't generally do tours, but we might for this one since my wife has gotten less and less accepting of my "adventures".

Link Posted: 12/27/2022 9:49:57 PM EST
[#7]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By rippr334:
Any suggestions for trails to snowshoe in Denali? Or must sees there in general.

We fly in on Saturday and out on Friday, so our time is pretty limited.

Currently my wife has only asked that we at least go dogsledding.

Each day so far:
So I figure dogsledding and exploring town.
Reindeer ranch and then ice fishing at night, probably, to see the Aurora and fish.
Snowshoeing Denali

That leaves us two other days. We don't generally do tours, but we might for this one since my wife has gotten less and less accepting of my "adventures".

View Quote


All the shops and everything in denali village close down for the winter so there won’t be a whole lot open.


The park road isn’t even open to the savage river in the winter I don’t think. Maybe someone can recommend some trails. I’ve never been in the winter and all the trails I’ve done in the summer involve a lot of elevation gain that wouldn’t be ideal in the winter.


I’d still recommend Castner glacier. It’s 4 miles round trip of flat terrain. It’s also well traveled so usually don’t need snowshoes unless there is fresh snow. Plus that whole area of Alaska is just beautiful.

My wife is adamant that chena hot springs is worth it. I’m not so sure.

If you’re doing running reindeer ranch it’s right down the road from my house.

Link Posted: 1/8/2023 1:34:57 PM EST
[#8]
Try to rent a snowmachine for a day. Lots of cool trails around Fairbanks.

If you're in late February, the Yukon Quest trail should be well packed and well marked.
Link Posted: 1/21/2023 10:52:49 PM EST
[#9]
You can just go up to the community of denali stay in a BNB or the lodge and snowshoe from there on any of the dozens of trails from there to talkeetna
Link Posted: 1/21/2023 11:49:07 PM EST
[#10]
Got a place in Two Rivers and plan to hit up Denali and surrounding area.
Link Posted: 3/3/2023 6:07:21 PM EST
[#11]
House in Two Rivers was awesome. Pretty basic but had indoor plumbing. We tried to hike at Chena but the trail we hit was quite deep. Even the snowshoes struggled.

Did some sledding at Black Spruce Dogsledding and it was awesome. Definitely recommend.

Mt McKinley was visible but like mentioned above, most of the area was closed. We hike some short trails and just enjoyed the views. The winter picnic area is really neat with a microwave and water fountain and a few park videos you can watch while eating indoors.

By far, the Castner ice cave was my favorite. Not much traffic on the day we went so the trail was basically non-existent. We would walk, post hole, adjust and move on. Cave is really deep and I chickened out when I got to running water.

Museum of the north was overrated. I should've saved my $17 and drank more beer. Unfortunately the Pump House restaurant was a miss for us too. Seafood was flavorless and the Reindeer medallions were off in flavor. Luckily, the waitress picked up on our unhappiness and comp'd them.

Hungry Robot pizza is worth a stop. We got the lunch special which was a small pizza and drink for $13. Not bad. Prolly my favorite restaurant we ate at, excluding the nice Arfcommer who invited us over for game night (eating game meat, not playing Monopoly). Thanks Rosta!

In town, we liked Black Spruce brewing the best for the beer. The best venue was definitely Lat64. Hoodoo was just okay. If you head down to Castner, Delta Brewing is worth a stop. A bit pricey but good beer to warm up with.

Roads overall were fine. Never could really relax driving, as a clear road would suddenly be iced over or I'd have to dodge a snow drift in the road.

Spent the last night at Pike's and it's a cool little hotel. Not sure I would like a whole week there but it was neat for a hotel close to the airport.
Link Posted: 3/4/2023 6:19:53 PM EST
[#12]
Thank you for the update.  Glad you had a good time!
Link Posted: 3/4/2023 8:19:16 PM EST
[#13]
Glad you enjoyed it.

Apologize for some of my food recommendations not working out. Should have prefaced them with I don’t eat out very often.
Link Posted: 3/4/2023 9:04:09 PM EST
[Last Edit: rippr334] [#14]
Awesome light show one night.
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My favorite ice sculpture. This place is a must visit.
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College of engineering at UAF.
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Entrance to Castner ice cave
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