Six Quaint Small Cities To Go to In Alaska, North of Anchorage


full article was revealed in Journey Awaits in November 4, 2021

Quaint small cities at all times tug at my
coronary heart. Born within the growing world, I vividly keep in mind the easy, laid-back,
and old school life. To get to know Alaska, it’s not sufficient to go to Anchorage
and Fairbanks, Alaska’s two large cities. To essentially get to know this final
American frontier, one should expertise its smaller and extra distant cities.

On two street journeys from Anchorage to
Fairbanks, we found 4 such cities; and the Alaska-Canada border additionally offered
us with two others. These are the six that paint the inviting frontier image
of Alaska north of Anchorage; and, in a subsequent article, I’ll write about
one other six charming cities within the southern half.


Dubbed the best of cool cities in
is located close to the bottom of Mt. McKinley, the best mountain in North
America. Situated within the Matanuska-Susitna Borough with an estimated inhabitants
of a bit greater than a thousand, it is usually on the confluence of three rivers:
Talkeetna, Chulitna, and Susitna. The three rivers provide best-of-Alaska
rafting, boating, and sports activities fishing.  And
in summer time, it’s only a three-hour practice experience north of Anchorage.

We found the city once we acquired
hungry and appeared for a spot to eat on the best way again to Anchorage after visiting
Denali Nationwide Park and being dissatisfied that McKinley was once more hiding behind
the clouds. Fortunate for us, the restaurant we discovered on the Mt. McKinley View
Lodge, simply half a mile earlier than Denali South proper on George Parks Freeway, had nice
views of the venerable mountain.

Talkeetna can also be a well-liked staging
level for as many as a thousand climbers who come to beat McKinley each
12 months. Even flight-seeing excursions and glacier landings originate from the
Talkeetna Airport, not Denali Nationwide Park. The numerous rustic miners’ cabins renovated
as lodging, eating places, and outlets are a part of the city’s wealthy historical past and

Professional-Tip: Throughout summer time, Talkeetna is a
beehive of actions: out of doors markets, dwell music concert events, and different
actions provided on the Talkeetna Ranger Station. And through winter, you might have
a very good probability of seeing the Northern Lights right here.


Lower than three hours north of
Talkeetna is Denali Nationwide Park and solely 11 miles north of the doorway is
the city of
Healy in
the Denali Borough of Alaska with an estimated inhabitants of little greater than a
thousand. It’s a full-service, year-round group with loads of lodging and
eating choices and every kind of supplemental actions for park guests and transient
vacationers into Inside Alaska. We camped as soon as in Denali and on one other journey,
we stayed at a B&B right here.

Initially established as a
coal-mining city within the early 1900s, lots of the residents nonetheless work on the
close by Usibelli Coal Mine. After mining, the city’s second-largest business is
tourism, together with flightseeing operators of Denali. There’s additionally the historic
Stampede Path, initially constructed within the Thirties as a path to the Stampede Mine, Alaska’s
prime antimony producer till 1970. Now the path has been included inside
Denali Nationwide Park’s expanded borders and stays very fashionable with snowmobilers,
mushers, and skiers in winter, or with ATVs in summer time.

Professional-Tip: This was the situation of
Fairbanks Metropolis Bus 142 the place Chris McCandless—of Jon Krakauer’s 1997 bestseller
Into the Wild—lived and died. It has
not too long ago been relocated to the College of Alaska Museum of the North in

North Pole

When you attain Fairbanks, the nice
metropolis of Inside Alaska, there are two cities that it is best to take the time to
go to. Each are a part of the Fairbanks North Star Borough. The primary is
North Pole
with a inhabitants of greater than 2.700. Just a bit below half-hour from
Fairbanks, the city remains to be about 1,700 miles south of the Earth’s true
geographic North Pole. We love this city a lot that we went again the second
time we had been in Fairbanks. And, why not? That is the one place within the nation
the place it’s Christmas daily!

Situated on Mistletoe
Drive, the Customer Heart (closed from Sept. 1 to April 30) is an genuine
rustic Alaskan log cabin. There are two Christmassy “Welcome to the North Pole”
indicators for Instagrammable pictures. All streets on the town are Christmas-themed: Santa
Claus Lane, Snowman Lane, Kris Kringle Drive, and so on. Road lights sport a sweet
cane motif and plenty of native companies, like Starbucks and McDonalds, are
designed such.

North Pole’s largest
attraction is the most important Christmas Retailer you’ll ever set foot in. Named Santa Claus
Home, its partitions are lined with youngsters’s letters to Santa. This contemporary-day
transformation of a buying and selling publish is the place we despatched postcards with “Christmas in
July” greetings to all our grandkids, postmarked North Pole, Alaska. Right here, you
could be a little one once more, sit on Santa’s lap, and get misplaced within the big
stock of distinctive Christmas objects. You’ll certainly go dwelling with fairly a couple of.

Subsequent to Santa Claus
Home is the world’s largest fiberglass Santa at 42 ft tall, weighing 900
kilos. Santa’s reindeer, each actual and never, reside close by in what was once
Santaland RV Park. We parked our RV there for an evening in 2009 on our approach to
Canada’s Yukon. It’s too dangerous the homeowners of the Park have closed it; however its Christmas
reminders had been nonetheless there the final time we visited!

Professional-Tip: There’s a celebratory landmark right here referred to as
“The Pole of North Pole.” It’s certainly one of two beforehand created; its twin was
pushed out of a aircraft over the actual North Pole.


The opposite city is Chena, situated close to
the confluence of the Chena and Tanana rivers. Integrated in 1903, it
disincorporated in 1973 and is now a part of the outskirts of Fairbanks referred to as
Chena Ridge, an hour’s drive from town middle. In its heyday, its inhabitants
was about 400. Right now, it’s largely the
Chena Scorching
Springs and Resort

We had an Alaskan lunch on the Resort
Restaurant—as soon as the unique pump station that supplied water for the hydraulic
mining operations on the opposite facet of Chena Ridge—within the Predominant Log Cabin.
Afterward, we walked across the facility, particularly beautiful that fall. I had
enjoyable taking photos of the small log cabins used for therapeutic massage remedy, the
out of doors horse park, the Predominant Lodge, and the out of doors sizzling spring swimming pools. There
had been rental airplanes, Journey Cats, ATVs, bikes, and canoes for exploring
the world. However we opted to affix two excursions.

The primary was to the Aurora Ice
Museum, the world’s largest such facility, with ice sculptures which might be extra
than ten years previous, crafted by a husband and spouse workforce that gained the World Ice
Sculpting Contest 5 occasions. Even when I used to be freezing—regardless of a big jacket
they supplied—on the inside temperature stored at 25 levels Fahrenheit by means of a
pioneering chiller expertise, I used to be particularly delighted on the nice Ice Bar.

The second tour was to the primary
low-temperature binary geothermal energy plant inbuilt Alaska. It was working
on various vitality initiatives, together with the manufacturing and use of waste
vegetable oil for gasoline. The second a part of this tour was to go to the
Greenhouse, the place the Resort makes use of state-of-the-art expertise to nurture crops
for all their vegetable and flower necessities.

Professional-Tip: The close by Chena Lake
Recreation Space provides seashores, nature trails, and picnic areas.


There are additionally two small cities shut
to the Canadian border, waypoints to the following journey, the place we spent an evening
every. From Mile 0 in Dawson Creek, Canada all the best way to Mile 1422 in Delta
Junction, Alaska, we accomplished navigating the famed Alaska Freeway in every week.
From Delta Junction, we stayed the night time in
Tok, inhabitants below 1,400.  We arrived late at night time and by chance the
campground’s native diner was nonetheless open. The subsequent morning we woke as much as a day
fully lined with smog from forest fires that had been raging all
round.  That was unlucky as a result of we may
not discover this city referred to as the Sled-Canine Capital of Alaska,” the place all people
on the town is concerned with canines and mushing.

Professional-Tip: We advocate staying on the
Tok RV Village Campground.


On our first journey, we determined to go
again to the decrease 48 on a special route (not the Alaska Freeway) detouring to
Dawson Metropolis in Canada’s Yukon. This route took us by means of an all-gravel street to
Rooster. The city’s summertime inhabitants was 32
(wintertime, 7), and we had been instructed the city acquired its title as a result of the residents
couldn’t spell “ptarmigan.”  Rooster is all
of two campgrounds, one with gold-panning actions and the opposite with a
nation retailer.  We stayed on the former
which is up a hillside the place we witnessed a spectacular sundown.

Professional-Tip: The city had been up on the market
and not too long ago it was purchased by the homeowners of Jack within the Field— reportedly for
10,000 Cluck Sandwiches!

I hope you loved this. Look ahead to my
subsequent article on “Six Charming Small Cities of Southern Alaska.”



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