Interior Alaska is a great tilted plateau between the crests of two long mountain ranges, the Alaska Range and the Brooks Range. The mighty Yukon and Tanana Rivers are the main features of this region, but vast expanses of rolling hills are usually in view. Interior Alaska has one fair-sized city, Fairbanks, several small towns, and a number of bush villages, the most interesting along the rivers but some beside the highways.
Much of the region is expensive or inaccessible to visit without your own vehicle, but great adventures await on the many wild and scenic rivers, in the wildlife refuges, and in the national parks, especially spectacular Denali National Park.
One of the wonderful aspects of Alaska’s Interior is its vastness. A few places—Talkeetna, Fairbanks, and most notably the entrance to Denali National Park—are packed with travelers all summer long, but it’s amazingly easy to escape the crowds and find yourself in a land that seems unchanged from time immemorial. Take the time to pull off the highway and fish a bit on one of the creeks or climb a hill for the view. You won’t regret it!
This is a place of exceptionally harsh winters, but those long winter nights bring something else, the mysterious northern lights. Winter weather is often clear over Interior Alaska, and scientists can now predict the aurora activity level with relative accuracy up to a month in advance. Some lodges around Fairbanks make a special effort to accommodate aurora lovers, and so many Japanese people visit that Japan Airlines even has nonstop flights from Tokyo all winter.
© Don Pitcher from Moon Alaska, 10th Edition