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All packed up for a multi-day guided canoe trip on the Noatak River in Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, Alaska
Phil Westcott/NPS
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Discover tour options in the Arctic Circle, one of the most untamed, unpopulated places on Earth.

If you’re a maverick at heart – someone who longs to find the road less traveled – a visit to the Arctic Circle will stoke your imagination for years to come. From the otherworldly lights of the aurora borealis to the snow-blanketed peaks of the Brooks Mountains, the Arctic Circle is one of the most magical places on Earth. To explore this one-of-a-kind locale, make a vacation home base in Fairbanks where you can enjoy creature comforts in between adventures in the isolated Alaskan frontier.

Bird’s-eye View: Flightseeing Tours

Opt for the extraordinary: a sightseeing flight over the vast Arctic terrain. You’ll fly past the Brooks Mountains, Gates of the Arctic National Park (the least-visited national park in the USA), Yukon River Valley and the remarkable Trans-Alaska Pipeline as your guide narrates fascinating details of local history. Keep an eye out for wildlife – perhaps you’ll see a herd of caribou or musk oxen. This is an excellent tour option if your itinerary is limited.

An aerial view of some of the stunning Arctic Circle scenery

An aerial view of some of the stunning Arctic Circle scenery
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Sherman Hogue/Explore Fairbanks
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Ride in Comfort: Arctic Circle Driving Tours

Drive the very same road seen on the hit TV reality show, “Ice Road Truckers,” on a driving tour from Fairbanks to the aptly named town of Coldfoot. You’ll travel the fabled Dalton Highway and glimpse views of the Yukon River, Finger Mountain (actually an odd rock formation) and the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. Stop in the rural community of Joy (population 30) to pick up souvenirs at the Arctic Circle Trading Post and, of course, take a selfie at the Arctic Circle sign where the imaginary latitudinal line crosses.

Alternately, you can book a fly-drive trip, which combines the best of both options. If you have more time during your trip, consider an overnight excursion that takes you into remote outposts or even up to the town of Utqiagvik, formerly known as Barrow, the largest Inupiaq Eskimo community in the USA perched on the shore of the Arctic Ocean.

A can’t-miss photo op with the Arctic Circle sign

A can’t-miss photo op with the Arctic Circle sign
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Northern Alaska Tour Company
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Options for the More Adventurous Traveler

Those who want to brave a rugged experience can get up close and personal with the legendary Alaskan tundra on a guided canoeing, backpacking, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, dog sledding or camping trip. Some outfitters offer longer, multi-day trips. Traveling with a local, you’ll hear captivating stories of life in this most outlying region. This type of tour should be done with an experienced guide for a safe and enriching journey.

Staying in Fairbanks

As the second-most populated Alaskan city, Fairbanks offers a range of modern comforts including hotels, restaurants, museums and events. For travel-planning purposes, it’s helpful to know that the snowier season in this region of Alaska is from late October to April. Want to see the aurora borealis while visiting Fairbanks? Time your trip during “Aurora Season,” Aug. 21 – April 21. Fairbanks is famous for being one of the best places on Earth to see these mesmerizing illuminations.

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Getting There

Fairbanks International Airport (FAI) offers flights from the lower 48 states as well as some international destinations. There are rental cars, shuttles and taxi service at the airport.