Alaska Chapter One: Fairbanks

Exploring Alaska

We arrived in Alaska at the end of June, and we were immediately blown away with how gorgeous the scenery was!  We were itching to get into some adventures after having just driven around 2,000 miles without much adventuring!

Into Alaska

Coming in off of the Alaska Highway from Yukon, Canada, we arrived first in Tok and then headed west to Delta Junction.  While we weren’t overly inundated with things to do in these places, it was nice to be back in the States.  We took a few days to catch up on laundry and get our route planned a little better before heading all the way into Fairbanks.

Fairbanks: A Taste of the Beauty

We took a while to explore the area around Fairbanks, including the Chena Hot Springs area.  While we didn’t visit the resort and hot springs themselves, we drove all around the area looking at the scenery and seeing wildlife.  We spotted quite a few moose along the Chena Hot Springs Road!

Fairbanks Alaska

We explored Chena Hot Springs Road and spotted quite a few moose! That's a great area!

The Chena River winds around and through Fairbanks, so we were dying to get our paddles in the water.  We had parked our RV at the Pioneer Park for a few days, and there is a boat launch right on the other side of that park.  And after scouting out a take-out about 12 miles down the river, we decided to go for it!  Although it is a very very calm river, we still had a blast paddling it.

We started the paddle with a pedal, of course!  The bike ride was about 8 miles from the take-out back to the RV, but it was an easy ride.  Fairbanks has a great trail system for bicycles and pedestrians, and we were able to stay completely off of the road most of the ride.  The only time we rode on the street was in a residential area, so that wasn’t bad at all!  It was a gorgeous day out, and we made it back to the RV in good time.


Fairbanks has a great system of bike and pedestrian trails, making it very safe to travel throughout the city on foot or pedal.

After dropping our bike helmets and bikes off at the RV, we walked over to the boat launch where we had left our kayaks.  The water was cold, but it was a hot day and it felt nice to get our feet wet and launch the yaks!

The leisurely paddle was nice, although there was not enough current on the river to really propel us.  So this was very much a paddle that required, well, paddling!  Twelve miles of actual paddling and no leisurely floating made for a great workout that was quite unexpected! It was a great time though, and even though we were very sore at the end of it, it was worth it.  The views were spectacular, and it was an awesome way to view a very different tour of Fairbanks.

Paddling Fairbanks

The leisurely paddle turned into a twelve mile active paddle, but it was still great!


There was a pretty sick float plane on the river as well! How cool!

There was a pretty sick float plane on the river as well! How cool!

We didn’t find out until much later that there are some great put ins further up the river that have more of a current and some rapids.  We were content with the paddling we were able to do, though!

Fairbanks Alaska Paddling

The Chena River is gorgeous and a great way to tour Fairbanks!

Picking up a Hitchhiker

One of the big reasons that we drove so quickly through Canada to get to Alaska was that we were picking up Nate’s mom, Terri, from the Fairbanks airport!  She is tagging along with us for a while in Alaska!  Everyone say “HI TERRI!”


Mom, Terri, joined us in Fairbanks for a good time!

After we picked her up from the airport, we stayed a few more days in Fairbanks.  Since we had already scoped out the area, we knew that we wanted to take her down Chena Hot Springs Road for a driving tour.  We drove all the way to the end and back, with a few detours along the way.  We stopped several times for wildlife viewings.  We saw so many moose that day; it was awesome for Terri’s first full day in Alaska!  Oh, and we spotted a bald eagle that swooped right by Nate!  I wish I had a picture of his FACE when that happened!

Nate got an awesome shot of an eagle flying by. It would've been better to see his face when it swooped by him!

Nate got an awesome shot of an eagle flying by. It would've been better to see his face when it swooped by him!


Wildlife in Fairbanks Alaska

A moose and her calf enjoying some grass in the water!

Enjoying the Views

We camped within walking distance to the river both places that we stayed in Fairbanks.  It was so nice being able to take the dogs for a walk down to the river and enjoy the views.  We even spotted a beaver just up the river from the boat launch!  The Chena River State Recreation Area was a beautiful and inexpensive site to camp for a few days.  We even got to meet some of our fans that live in North Pole!  It was great!

Chena River State Recreation Area was a gorgeous place to camp for a few nights!

Chena River State Recreation Area was a gorgeous place to camp for a few nights!

It rained our last day in Fairbanks, but it was still gorgeous.  After spending a week in Fairbanks, we decided to head on down the highway and make our way towards Denali National Park!  We have heard nothing but great things about Alaska the further south we get.  We are excited to explore Denali and then continue on our Alaskan adventure!

Stay tuned for more adventure!  Be sure to subscribe below and check us out on our social media!  Until next time, Live Vicariously!




  1. Glaciers, Flies and Goodbyes in Seward Alaska - Adventure in a Backpack - […] we were in Fairbanks, we picked up this scraggly hitchhiker named Terri.  She’s Nate’s mom!  Well, she stayed with…

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share on Social