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The Best Arctic Circle Tour From Fairbanks in 2023

What is the best Arctic Circle Tour from Fairbanks? Is it worth taking a day trip to the Arctic Circle? Which guided tour should I choose? Can I organize a trip to the Arctic Circle from Fairbanks on my own? You can find the answer to all these questions and more in our article. We share our best experiences and tips with you.

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Arctic Circle Tour From Fairbanks - Agnes and Chris

Arctic Circle Tour from Fairbanks – Introduction

If you’re planning an Alaska itinerary, you can also go to Fairbanks. From this most famous city in northern Alaska, a trip to the Arctic Circle is worth it. This is a great adventure that you should be well prepared for. You can do it on your own, and we’ll tell you how to get to the Arctic Circle on your own. Or you can join an Arctic Circle tour with a guide from Fairbanks, and we’ll also recommend which tour you should consider. Since the trip to the Arctic Circle via Dalton Highway is very demanding, it may turn out that a guided tour is the better and even cheaper solution. Below we describe both options step-by-step so that you can choose the best one for you.

Dalton Highway - Arctic Circle Tour From Fairbanks
Dalton Highway - Arctic Circle Tour From Fairbanks

Arctic Circle Tour From Fairbanks – Our Experiences

The Arctic Circle crosses eight countries: Denmark (Greenland), Iceland (Grímsey), Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia, the USA (Alaska), and Canada. So far, we have crossed the Arctic Circle in five of them. We crossed the Arctic Circle in Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Canada while traveling through Dempster Highway to Tuktoyaktuk. Last summer, we crossed the Arctic Circle in Alaska on our Dalton Highway travel from Fairbanks to Prudhoe Bay. And we must tell you that the views and the thrilling drive from Fairbanks to the Arctic Circle were fantastic! Opportunities to spot wildlife and the fragile arctic environment were the best in Alaska!

Our Pick #1

Arctic Circle Adventure from Fairbanks

During this Full-Day Guided Tour to the Arctic Circle, you will experience marvelous vistas of northern Alaska, with the Yukon River. You will hike the incredible rock formation of Finger Mountain, and you can admire Trans Alaska Pipeline System along the adventurous Dalton Highway.

What is the Arctic Circle?

The Arctic Circle does not have a fixed location. It is now assumed to be the area located 66° 33′39″ north of the equator. It limits an area called the Arctic, which is one of the most remote and cold lands in the world. Only about 4 million people inhabit the area beyond the Arctic Circle, 10% of whom are indigenous. It is incredible to see this remote and harsh land.

Is it Worth Crossing the Arctic Circle?

Crossing the Arctic Circle is worthwhile if you love adventure and nature. If you like driving gravel routes and want to admire the changing landscape and vegetation of different climatic zones, a guided tour from Fairbanks to the Arctic Circle is for you.

We are always honest with you and only describe our experiences – this is not a trip for everyone. If you don’t like long and tiring driving on a gravel road or have motion sickness, it may turn out that this is not the route for you. Perhaps it would be better to consider a scenic flight from Fairbanks over northern Alaska and the Brooks Range mountains.

Arctic Circle wildlife
nature arctic circle alaska

How Far is the Arctic Circle from Fairbanks?

From Fairbanks to Arctic Circle Sign on the Dalton Highway is 184 miles and about 5 hours of driving one way, as it’s mostly gravel highway. With stops along the route to stretch your legs and take photos in the picturesque scenery, you should plan on at least 14 hours. And that’s how long a full-day guided trip from Fairbanks takes.

How to Organize the Arctic Circle Tour from Fairbanks on Your Own?

Firstly, the Arctic Circle is located on the most remote road in the US, on the Dalton Highway. It is considered one of the most dangerous routes in the US and the world, as it is a technical road built for truck deliveries for the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System, which runs over 800 miles from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez. Arctic Circle is located on mile 115 of Dalton Highway. The road is gravel and bumpy. Driving comfort depends on weather conditions, which change quite often and unexpectedly at this latitude. Even if you are going on a trip in the summer, check out how to pack well for your Alaska trip.

Dalton Highway - on the road to the Arctic Circle
Dalton Highway - on the road to the Arctic Circle
Dalton Highway - on the road to the Arctic Circle

Your Car

Secondly, you need a 4WD car well prepared for this route. If you plan to rent a car, you must know that not every rental company allows you to drive the Dalton Highway. We rented a car from a local rental company in Fairbanks. We can highly recommend them, and we prepared a detailed review of this rental because we were happy with the car we got from them for this route and their service.

Your Safety

Thirdly, read our tips for safe driving on the Dalton Highway and check what you should pack and how to prepare your car for this route. Where are the gas stations and other services located, as there are not many of them on Dalton.

Time Required

Finally, it is quite a challenging route to cover in one day for one driver. You should plan at least 12-14 hours for the trip there and back. But don’t worry, in the summer months, it is still light in the middle of the night, due to the midnight sun. If you want to break the Arctic Circle tour into two days, check where it is best to stay overnight along the Dalton Highway. We recommend the campground on the Arctic Circle the most. Staying overnight at this Arctic Circle Campground can be a great end to the trip.

Please note that on a full-one-day trip, you will only reach the Arctic Circle at mile 115 of the Dalton Highway. There is no way to get to Coldfoot, Wiseman, Prudhoe Bay, and the Arctic Ocean in such a short time. 4-5 days are at least needed to do all Dalton Highway route with exciting stops along the way. We had ten days for the Dalton Highway road trip.

Is it Worth Taking an Organized Arctic Circle Tour from Fairbanks?

A guided full-day adventure tour to the Arctic Circle from Fairbanks is worth it. This tour is fantastic and fun. Arctic Circle Tour is an excellent choice for those for whom riding on an unusual route is an adventure in itself. Few people choose this route due to its difficulty. It’s one of the most remote roads in the world and the USA. We find more pros than cons. Pack sandwiches, sweet snacks, water, and coffee in a thermos, and set off on this exciting tour from Fairbanks.

Tour Pros

  • guided tour
  • small group
  • hotel pickup and drop-off
  • scenic drive with great stops along the Dalton Highway: Yukon River, Finger Mountain, Alaska Pipeline, Arctic Circle Monument
  • “Cross the Circle Certificate”

Tour Cons

  • long drive via gravel highway
  • drinks and snacks are not included
  • not suitable for children under 5 years
Chris on Finger Mountain on the trip from Fairbanks to Arctic Circle
Dalton Highway

For Who do we Recommend a Guided Arctic Circle Tour from Fairbanks?

  • If you have a short time for your Alaska vacation, want to see as many attractions as possible, and have an exciting adventure, choose an organized tour from Fairbanks to the Arctic Circle.
  • Also, if you don’t know if your car is well equipped for the Dalton Highway, or if you have a problem renting a car for this challenging route, choose an organized tour to the Arctic Circle.
  • If you don’t have enough experience driving on a mountain gravel road – choose a trip from Fairbanks to the Arctic Circle.
  • Choose an organized trip if you want to focus on admiring the view and not avoiding holes in the gravel road.
  • If you want to learn as much as possible about the northern part of Alaska, the construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System, and nature around the Arctic Circle – choose an organized trip from Fairbanks.
Arctic Circle Sign - Alaska
wildlife on Dalton Highway

What is the Best Arctic Circle Tour from Fairbanks in 2023?

The tourist season in Alaska is relatively short, from mid-June to mid-September. And these months are the best for an Arctic Circle tour from Fairbanks because the drive is very demanding. During the winter and spring, extreme conditions prevail here, and this route is not recommended for independent travel.

We have two suggestions for your Arctic Circle Tour from Fairbanks, depending on when you plan to visit Fairbanks.

wildlife on Dalton Highway
 Arctic Circle Tour From Fairbanks - Yukon River

The Best Arctic Circle Tour from Fairbanks in Summer 2023

Wild nature, fantastic route, great views of the roughest part of Alaska. All this, combined with the stories of a local guide who will introduce you to the history of the northern part of Alaska, talk about the construction of the Dalton Highway and the Trans Alaska Pipeline System. You’ll marvel at the Yukon River (but pack mosquito repellent), a short hike to Finger Mountain, and Arctic vegetation and wildlife.

And yes, we assure you that you will be tired after this 14-hour driving gravel tour. This road will wipe a lot of energy out of you (pack some snacks and sweets), as it’s bumpy. It won’t be easy, but very few tourists get here, and you have a chance to see places off the beaten track. Alaska does not spoil and often shows its moody face on this route. Even if the weather forecast looks excellent, pack warm clothes, wear layers, and bring a raincoat. Check what more you should add to your Alaska packing list. But we also assure you that the Arctic Circle trip from Fairbanks is one of the best adventures and one of the best Alaskan experiences.

What Other Travelers Said About the Arctic Circle Tour?

Our guide Justin was great. Very knowledgeable. Good driver. Unfortunately, we only saw one red fox during our trip, but the weather was a factor. It was rainy and drizzly. Dalton Highway was muddy and had a billion potholes, but Justin got us to the Artic Circle and back, all safe and sound.

The Best Arctic Circle Tour from Fairbanks during Aurora Season (Northern Lights)

It is assumed (because you never know exactly when this phenomenon occurs) that the Aurora Borealis season in Fairbanks, Alaska, is from August 21 to April 21. So you can see this phenomenon in all four seasons and nine months of the year. If you plan your trip in late August and the first half of September, you can admire Northern Lights. From mid-August, it’s possible to see Aurora in the area of the Arctic Circle.

But keep in mind that no tour operator can guarantee you’ll see the Northern Lights. Sometimes Aurora dances in the sky night after night, and sometimes it’s gone for weeks. But whether you see it or not, the Arctic Circle tour from Fairbanks is a fantastic adventure that provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to admire the beauty of one of the wildest parts of Alaska.

This tour included:

  • Pickup and drop-off from major hotels in Fairbanks
  • Sandwiches and sweets
  • Hot drinks

Pack some snacks and sandwiches anyway because your appetite won’t be lacking on this trip from Fairbanks to the Arctic Circle. The weather on this route can be nasty, so dress in layers, pack a raincoat and warm clothes, and wear comfortable shoes.

Customer Reviews

It was amazing. We saw literally “everything”! Our tour was supposed to be 14 hours long but ended up being a 20-hour thing due to unfortunate weather conditions. But the tour guide and the other tour members kept us company, and it didn’t feel like 20 hours at all. We saw sun, rain, snow, sunset, sunrise, and most importantly, we saw beautiful dancing auroras on our way back.

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Arctic Circle Tour from Fairbanks


  1. As much as I would love to see the Arctic Circle, I’m not sure I could stomach it sadly. I suffer badly from motion sickness so spending that long on the road wouldn’t be great for me. I do love the adventure side to it, and it looks so remote that you would have it all to yourself! I need to strengthen my disposition first lol.

  2. I really hope to make it to Alaska one day. I would love to see the northern lights and all the beauty Alaska has to offer.

  3. As always, totally fascinating. I’m not driving, and after I’ve read about the conditions and all your recommendations and warnings, I’m actually quite happy that I don’t. Also, I understand that one can visit this amazing place on an organized tour?!? Sounds great, count me in!
    Either way, thanks for another inspiring post from your big trip!

  4. A trip to the Arctic Circle sounds like a hell of an adventure! I’d love to do that someday, probably even without a guide, but it’s good to hear that there is such an option when needed. It does sound like a challenging and demanding trip and I’m sure it must be tiring to drive that gravel road for so many hours. But it sounds like it’s really worth it! 🙂

  5. I know I will take a tour if I want to do the Arctic Circle. The thought of if something happens to the rental along the road and nobody’s driving by for hours is enough said. Hah. It looks adventurous and it will be great if I get to see the Northern lights.

  6. We certainly would visit Fairbanks on an Alaska visit. We have crossed the Arctic Circle a few times and this year we crossed the Antarctic Circle both ways. So in Alaska we would definitely want to plan a trip to cross the Arctic Circle. Maybe even plan a 2 day visit with an overnight stop.

  7. Ivread your tripntonthevArctic Circle on Dempster Highway. As you know i also did that trip on our RV. Which of the 2 hughways would you recommend? Should i have done the Dalton Highway, too?

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