For decades, riverboats like the Discovery III sternwheeler ran the big rivers of Alaska's interior. They hauled freight and passengers, linked distant communities and helped build new ones. Today the boat takes visitors on a unique tour to explore that history and see firsthand some of Alaska's quintessential pastimes.
Experience some of Alaska's quintessential pastimes.
The stately Discovery III has three decks with comfortable indoor seating, and a fourth top deck with open-air seating. The large red paddlewheel splashing at the stern propels the boat on its journey down the Chena River. It's right on the water shortly after leaving Steamboat Landing that guests see their first Alaskan demo. A bushplane on floats takes off alongside the boat, banking in a long arc until it loops back and lands again. The pilot talks about the wild life of bush flying in Alaska before the boat continues downstream. The next stop is an exuberant sled dog demo at the riverside kennels of late four-time Iditarod musher Susan Butcher.
Upon reaching the confluence of the Chena and Tanana Rivers, guests disembark for a walking tour of a Chena Indian Village. Native Alaskan guides lead groups to see spruce cabins, caches, smokehouses, and crafts created by Athabascans native to interior Alaska. After spending time further exploring the village on their own, guests board the boat for a return ride up the Chena River.
The Riverboat Discovery Cruise includes a bush plane demo, sled dog demo, and Chena Indian Village tour. There is a small giftshop and galley selling snacks, drinks, ice cream, and hearty lunch boxes on the boat. The tour returns to the Steamboat Landing where guests can visit the Discovery Trading Post, the largest Alaskan souvenir shop in Fairbanks.
What to Bring
Wear comfortable clothes and dress in layers. Most of the tour is conducted outside, so bring a light coat or rain jacket if necessary.
Guests must check in at the Steamboat Landing station at least 30 minutes prior to the tour departure to exchange their voucher for a boarding pass.
Transfers & Meeting Points
The Riverboat Discovery Cruise is just five minutes from the Fairbanks airport and 20 minutes from downtown Fairbanks. Many local hotels offer shuttles to the Riverboat Discovery. Guests must coordinate their own transportation to the tour.
With the 2021 summer season still taking shape, some tour providers may not yet have their operating dates set. Availability on AlaskaTravel.com reflects the most current information and is updated daily. Please contact us if you have questions about this tour.
Select a departure below to see current availability. If your desired date is sold out (red) we will do our best to find an alternative, but we may not be able to accommodate your request.