Jun 29, 10, 2:55 pm
I've got a chance to spend 48 hours (total time on ground) in FAI this coming weekend (4th of July weekend) and wanted to know what I should plan on doing / seeing.
I've been to ANC and done an Alaska cruise but have never done Denali so I figure that takes up one of my two days.
I will have a rental car
Jun 30, 10, 2:28 am
"Doing" Denali isn't as simple as driving there and back.
The park entrance is about a two-hour drive from Fairbanks, but driving to the entrance and back isn't "doing" Denali. You can't even see the mountain from the park entrance.
To really "do" Denali, you need to plan for an entire day's activities there--the full 8 or 11-hour shuttle ride into the park (to at least Eielson Visitor's Center if not all the way to Wonder Lake), plus plenty of time for backcountry hiking.
You could do it in a long day from FAI--leave FAI at 5am, get to the park at 7am or so, and be on the 8:05am shuttle bus for Wonder Lake. Without actually getting off the bus, that would return you to the park entrance at 8:15pm (don't worry, it's light virtually 24 hours). Add time to that if you want to get off the bus and explore either Eielson Visitor Center or do any hiking. You'll be back in Fairbanks at about 10:30 or 11. (Pack a lunch; there's no food available once you're on the bus into the park.)
Of course, that's pushing it, but if you're determined to do it in a day, that's how you'd have to do it. It's much more relaxing to stay at the park entrance for two nights and do the above as a day trip from there.
Details on schedule and stuff here:
There are lots of touristy things to do in Fairbanks, but most are kinda cheesy. There's a decent list here:
I'd be sure to check out the UAF Museum of the North and drive just up the road towards Fox to check out a section of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System just off the Steese. There are lots of sciency things in and around UAF (here (http://www.uaf.edu/visituaf/) and here (http://www.uaf.edu/visituaf/more/)), but options may be limited by the dates you have. Otherwise, you might consider bumming around at Pioneer Park (free entrance) and maybe considering the Riverboat Discovery (OK, from what I've heard) and/or El Dorado Goldmine (very cheesy, from what I've heard). A quick trip out to (and postcard mailed from) North Pole is also cheesy but at least cute.
More info here:
Jun 30, 10, 9:18 am
Thanks for the information. We can probably make Denali work in a full day since I'm in a walking boot for a broken ankle and hiking isnt really possible for me at the moment.
We are scheduled to fly out on the 5 July 0109 departure back to SLC so a long day in Denali makes it work.
The wife will want to do the North Pole thing so it looks like our day will be
FAI Farmers Market
Ice Museum (if I can determine its open)
UAF Museum of the North
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