Best of Alaska’s Interior
Mt. McKinley Flightseeing: Talkeetna is the base for several air charter operators with flights over McKinley that include a bush plane landing on Ruth Glacier.
Denali Highway: This 136-mile mostly gravel road provides dramatic views of the Alaska Range and access to vast stretches of wild country.
Denali Shuttle Bus Tours: This is the only way to reach the heart of Alaska’s most famous park. Tours last all day and can be grueling, but grizzlies, moose, wolves, and Dall sheep are commonly seen and you may even get lucky enough to see Mt. McKinley in all its glory.
University of Alaska Museum of the North: This Fairbanks museum is notable not just for its natural history, art, and cultural collections, but also for the monumental building with its high glacier-like entrance.
Pioneer Park: Combining a low-key theme park with a multitude of historical attractions, this city-run facility has everything from an old paddlewheel boat to theatrical productions and carousel rides. Pig out at the salmon bake; it’s the best in Alaska.
Riverboat Tours: Hop on board a modern-day paddle-wheeler to cruise the Chena and Tanana Rivers. Although primarily for the package-tour crowd, this is a great way to see the country around Fairbanks.
North Pole: The town of North Pole is home to the kitschy Santa Claus House with a 40-foot waving Santa out front and all sorts of Christmas paraphernalia inside.
Gold Dredge No. 8: A few miles north of Fairbanks this mechanical monster operated until 1959. It’s now open for tours and the chance to practice your gold panning.
Chena Hot Springs Resort: Indoor and outdoor pools are fed by geothermally heated water, and winter guests come to view the northern lights, but the most unusual feature here is the year-round ice museum filled with intricately carved works of ice art. Chena is an hour’s drive east of Fairbanks.
Eagle: Accessible via an arduous 160-mile dead-end road off the Alaska Highway or a fast catamaran from Dawson City, this tiny town displays a multitude of artifacts and historic buildings from the 1890s gold rush.
© Don Pitcher from Moon Alaska, 10th Edition