After visiting Denali National Park we headed further north to Fairbanks, the second largest city in Alaska, to celebrate the longest day of the year, the Summer Solstice. The Midnight Sun is one of the hallmarks of Alaskan and Arctic summer travel, and we were excited to get the full experience at the Midnight Sun Festival before traveling north to the Arctic Circle and beyond to see what 24-hour sunshine is really like!
You can find pretty much anything you need in this town, and our truck was in need of an oil change which was our first priority. We found a place to dry camp downtown a short walk to the Chena River, which was wonderful because temperatures were reaching 90 degrees Fahrenheit each day. Our arrival here coincided with the Summer Solstice … which for a town so far north, means lots of sun.
Life in the Midnight Sun
Midnight Sun Run
The race starts from the University of Alaska Fairbanks Patty Center and ends at Pioneer Park, and shuttles were available from the course’s finish area to bring participants to the UAF campus. Camping for RVs is available right in the Pioneer Park parking lot (Campendium site link) if you’re looking for a very convenient (albeit busy) camp spot for the event.
Throughout the run, the neighborhoods it winds through throw block parties and hand out plenty of goodies along the way. We ended up running much more of the race than we thought we would just because of the cheers and enthusiasm of the entire community around us – whether they were running the race or not! We got sprayed with water, invited to random parties and even ballroom danced along the course. We finished the race shortly before midnight under a beautiful orange and pink sunset that lasted for hours! Water, fruit, and celebration met us at the finish line.
Midnight Sun Festival
Dalton Highway & Trans Alaska Pipeline
This highway was built for one purpose: oil. The Trans Alaska Pipeline runs from Prudhoe Bay on the Arctic Ocean to Valdez, Alaska on the coast, and this road was used to build it in the 70’s. Shortly north of Fairbanks we started following this amazing feat of engineering. The pipeline is 48” in diameter and carries oil at a current pace of 2-3 MPH 800 miles from the drill site to the ships. It crosses extremely challenging terrain, endures yearly temperature swings of over 120 degrees Fahrenheit, and crosses hundreds of rivers and streams, including the mighty Yukon River. Because it is built on permafrost, many challenges had to be overcome. Perhaps the most noticeable challenge is keeping the ground frozen.
Dalton Road Conditions
Back to Canada
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