An Alaska travel experience would not be complete without an opportunity to experience firsthand the vast wilderness expanses and fascinating cultures that make up the wonder of Alaska's Arctic. Founded in 1987, Northern Alaska Tour Company pioneered Arctic Circle touring on Alaska's Dalton Highway. Based in Fairbanks, the Alaskan-owned company provides unparalleled travel and touring experiences in the Arctic while maintaining the highest standards of safety and commitment to traditional culture and the environment. Their grassroots tour programs strengthen the local economies in the Arctic communities and help preserve the wisdom of knowledgeable local guides, who are able to share their unique understanding of Alaska based on their personal experiences. One-day and multi-day ground and/or flight excursions are available during summer and winter, allowing the traveler to experience this region in a comprehensive yet economical way. Touring is done in small groups utilizing a 10 or 25-passenger tour coach and flights are typically conducted in 8-passenger aircraft. In the spirit of the remote wilderness, overnight accommodations along the Dalton Highway consist of very basic, clean rooms that are extremely rustic by urban standards. There are private toilet and shower stalls in separate men's and women's facilities that are shared among guests. At Coldfoot, guests typically stay at famed Coldfoot Camp, which features two twin beds in each room and private bath facilities, a luxury in the remote wilderness of Alaska's Arctic.
A wide variety of tour options and destinations are available. Several of the multi-day tours are in the $300 to $400 range and the full-day Arctic Circle Drive Adventure runs a very affordable $169 per person. This round trip tour begins in Fairbanks and travels the rugged Dalton Highway, allowing for great views of the remarkable Trans-Alaska Pipeline. Guests visit the Arctic Circle Trading Post in the rural community of Joy and marvel at the majestic beauty of the mighty Yukon River, learning of the river's storied past. When visitors cross the Arctic Circle in ceremonious fashion, they receive an official Arctic Circle Adventure Certificate. A tour highlight is the opportunity to explore the arctic tundra and feel the veins of ice just beneath the surface. Another option is to take the Arctic Circle Fly/Drive Adventure, which ends the ground tour experience at Coldfoot with a flight back to Fairbanks, providing a breath taking aerial view of the vast Alaska wilderness.
The Gold Rush heritage of historic Nome, situated on the Bering Sea coast, highlights another tour. Participate in a dogsled demonstration on the world-famous Iditarod Trail and re-live Nome's Gold Rush history by panning for gold, or fly to the Inupiat Eskimo village of Barrow for a firsthand glimpse of the Arctic Coastal lifestyle with a tour of the village. Walk the shores of the Arctic Ocean near the northernmost point in North America, then meet the Inupiat while enjoying a cultural program featuring ceremonial song and dance, traditional games and demonstration of local native crafts.
The Fairbanks by Air Adventure is a 30-minute morning flight over Fairbanks and the wilderness of the Tanana Valley, featuring fascinating remnants of the gold mining era that still continues more than 100 years after the initial gold rush. Other options include flying north to the Nunamiut Eskimo village of Anaktuvuk Pass, nestled in the heart of the majestic Brooks Mountain Range, or visiting the famous Prudhoe Bay oil fields to dip your toes in the frigid waters of the Arctic Ocean.
Winter Tours include the Arctic Circle by ground or air. Experience the Aurora, dog sledding and the magnificent Brooks Range from the base camp at Coldfoot, one of the world's best aurora viewing areas. Thrill at the excitement of witnessing North America's tallest mountain – Denali – from the air. The multi-cultural Yukon River Beaver Village is a popular winter destination and has become available in the summer as well.
For more details please visit the Northern Alaska Tour Company website at www.northernalaska.com. They may be contacted at PO Box 882991-W, Fairbanks, Alaska 99708; E-mail: email@example.com; Toll Free: (800) 474-1986; Phone: (907) 474-8600; Fax: (907) 474-4767. Due to Alaska's short summer visitor season and the high quality nature of small group excursions, it is very important to contact the company early in the itinerary planning process.