Lone grizzly bear traveling through brush in Denali National Park.

Interior Alaska

The wilds await in Alaska’s largest and most environmentally diverse region.

Driving toward Denali by bus tour.

Interior Alaska

The wilds await in Alaska’s largest and most environmentally diverse region.

Enjoy a Riverboat Discovery Cruise in the Fall.

Interior Alaska

The wilds await in Alaska’s largest and most environmentally diverse region.

Interior Alaska

Imagine a line drawn through Alaska from the Bering Sea, east across the Brooks Range, down the U.S. border with Canada's Yukon Territory, and back west along the Alaska Range. This is Alaska's Interior.

More than any other region, the Interior is a land of extremes. It comprises about 30 percent of Alaska, a vast space that includes the mighty Yukon River and Denali, midnight sun in the summer and northern lights in winter, and the hottest and coldest annual state temperature recordings in a given year.

At the heart of Alaska's Interior is Fairbanks, the state's second largest city. Despite its population, which is relatively high for Alaska, the city still has a frontier feel. It originated as a trading post, serving gold prospectors in the early 1900s. For thousands of years before that, indigenous Athabascan Indians resided throughout the area, subsisting off abundant wildlife, fish, and berries. Today, visitors can learn about Fairbanks' living history on a Chena River sternwheeler cruise, city tour, and even a trip to a gold mine.

If Fairbanks is the heart of the Interior, then Denali National Park is its crown jewel. Within its six million acres of protected wilderness, there's just a single road. Aside from flightseeing, a Denali bus tour to the end of the 92-mile Park Road is the best way to experience the park's immense landscapes, particularly Denali itself. These tours also offer the opportunity to see some of the Interior's most iconic wildlife: Grizzlies, caribou, moose, and even wolves. At the end of the day several Denali Park hotels, lodges, and cabins near the park entrance provide a comfortable place to recharge.

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Most visitors are surprised to learn that the Interior's Alaska Range isn't just Denali and the high peaks flanking it. There's a whole other side, the eastern Alaska Range, outside the Denali National Park boundary. Whereas only small planes are allowed in Denali National Park, helicopters can fly into the eastern Alaska Range, making a heli-hike tour one of the most thrilling ways to experience Interior Alaska's mountains. You can also admire them from the ground on a guided Denali Highway jeep tour out of Cantwell.

Although there's a lot more land north of the Interior, the Arctic Circle does run through the region's uppermost latitudes. This imaginary line marks the point on the globe where the sun doesn't set in the summer and doesn't rise in the winter. Crossing into the Arctic Circle lands on many a bucket list, and rightfully so. To see such harsh lands, and to travel into such remoteness, are part of the Alaska travel experience. Day Arctic Circle tours regularly depart from Fairbanks, often including one way north by van, and a return trip by plane (or vice versa).

Although so much of the Interior can only be reached by bush plane, river boat, or sled dog team, its main attractions are well connected by both road and rail. Fairbanks is the Alaska Railroad's northern terminus and the Denali Star route connects to Anchorage by way of Denali Park. For travelers coming to the Interior from a cruise into Seward or Whittier, the premier Park Connection Motorcoach provides same-day service to the Denali Park area.

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Interior Alaska