The Arctic Circle sparks the imagination like few other places on earth.
At latitude 66° 33’ north, the sun does not rise for one day during winter solstice, December 21, nor does it set for one day during summer solstice, June 21. This place that many dream about visiting is 196 driving miles (or 140 air miles) north of Fairbanks. Tour via van, motorcoach or plane up the Dalton Highway, also known as the Haul Road, and cross over that invisible line that puts you in the company of ice road truckers, Alaska pipeline workers and intrepid travelers. The 415-mile long road is 75% gravel and 25% paved and has limited or no cell reception.
Fairbanks is the perfect jumping off point to begin trips into the Arctic. As a basecamp, you can experience the vast wilderness panoramas, tundra-laden landscape, and the indigenous cultures that define Alaska’s Arctic. See the mighty Yukon River and spot a muskox or an Arctic fox. Cross the Arctic Circle and explore regions farther north like the Brooks Range, the Gates of the Arctic National Park, Coldfoot, Wiseman, Fort Yukon, Bettles, Anaktuvuk Pass, Prudhoe Bay and Kaktovik. Fly bush mail routes into rural communities accessible only by air. Discover the enchanted treeless Arctic plain or walk the frozen shores of the Arctic Ocean at the northernmost point in North America. Many locations offer village tours, visitor centers and historic sites, the aurora borealis, wildlife viewing and more.
Many visitors who come to Fairbanks want to rent a vehicle and try and drive the Dalton Highway to cross the Arctic Circle on their own. This is only recommended, if you have a vehicle specifically equipped for the conditions and are an experienced driver, especially on winter roads. Most rental car companies do not allow their vehicles to be taken on the Dalton Highway. The highway is a rough, industrial road with no cell phone coverage or Wi-Fi and very limited vehicle services. There are, however, multiple tour companies that both fly and drive to the Arctic, a spectacular trip any time of year.
After an unforgettable journey through miles of wilderness, return to the Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center in downtown Fairbanks to pick up an official Arctic Circle Certificate and tell stories about your trip to the far north.