(The) North Pole and Fairbanks, AK

When I left you last, we had just spent the first half of our Alaskan Adventure watching the ceremonial start and official re-start of the 50th Iditarod. We had a great stay at an adorable cabin on Great Lake, then headed north to Fairbanks.

If you travel north on the Parks Highway (the only highway to access Denali National Park) you’ll have gorgeous views, spectacular sunrises, and wildlife around many corners. If you are traveling in wintertime, be sure you are comfortable driving in winter conditions, as well as having at minimum studded snow tires. There are many remote areas for MILES without service stations. Fill your gas tank and try to not let it dip below 1/2 tank. Better safe than sorry!

If you travel during the summertime, you may find the yearly publication of The Milepost helpful. This book takes you mile by mile, attraction by attraction up the Parks Highway. It’s a roadtrippers dream tool.

If you are driving to Denali National Park from Anchorage, plan on at least 5 hours. You can also leave the driving up to someone else and take the Alaska Railroad. It is a fabulous way to relax and take in the beautiful scenery.

About an hour before you reach Fairbanks, you’ll stumble upon Skinny Dick’s Halfway Inn. Funny spot for a few snapshots. Although closed in the winter, they have food, accommodations and souvenirs in the summer season.

When we arrived in Fairbanks we stayed at the Hyatt Place. This was a great location, with many stores, restaurants and services close by.

Over the next few days we had booked three Alaskan adventures through Rod’s Alaskan Guide Service out of North Pole, AK. This was about a twenty minute drive from Fairbanks. We booked a dogsledding adventure, an aurora viewing night fishing trip, and a snowmobiling tour. I would 1000% recommend booking with this company. The staff are incredibly friendly and knowledgeable and they provide head to toe gear to keep you warm and dry.

Just outside of Fairbanks, you can take a quick trip to the Alaskan Pipeline visitor spot. My husband enjoyed this most, but it is pretty spectacular to see this giant pipeline in person.

On to North Pole, Alaska. This is a quirky town, where you’ll find Santa’s House, and many local businesses, including the candy cane striped McDonalds sign, decorated for Christmas year-round.

Our first trip with Rod’s Alaskan Guide Service was dogsledding. It was just the two of us, and an experienced musher. We went out for two hours on their beautiful trails. We learned so much about the area, the dogs, and mushing in general. Our guide, Luther, was so patient and knowledgeable. We were even able to drive the team ourselves which was a lot of fun.

The same evening we went for the Aurora Ice Fishing. The fishing trip started at 10pm and went until 3am-ish. The fishing was on Chena Lake in their warm fishing cabins. Directions to the lake were perfectly precise and even in the dark we had no trouble finding it. Everything we needed for fishing was provided for us, along with a reindeer sausage meal. When we finally started hooking some fish, our guide cooked it right up, and it was delicious. Unfortunately, the Northern Lights weren’t extremely active, but we still managed a few photos. We had a great time just chit chatting with our guide and fellow fishers.

Our last adventure was snowmobiling. This was probably the highlight for my husband. We took the similar trail system that we used for dogsledding. The conditions were great, the snow machines were well maintained, and their gear kept us safe and toasty warm. We followed our guide, who we felt was not too fast (me) and not to slow (him). We also had some free time on the lake to ride as we pleased. Overall we couldn’t have been happier with every experience we took with Rod’s Alaskan Guide Service.

While we were Ice Fishing, some fellow fishers mentioned they had attended the World Ice Art Championships in Fairbanks and suggested that we swing in. It was a great mid-afternoon trip for us. The sculptures were really cool and at night they illuminate them with different colored lights.

This just about concluded our visit to Fairbanks, and Alaska. We had about a 6.5-7 hour drive to Anchorage in morning. As a bonus adventure, there was a snowstorm that day! Despite a crack in the windshield of our rental car, we made it without too much excitement.

If you think you’d like to visit Alaska, I 100% recommend it. I’ve now been in both winter and summer. Although there is much more to do and things are a bit more accessible in the summertime, both seasons are equally as magical.


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