Curious what people do in interior Alaska on a cold, snowy, sunny day in the early winter? It’s pretty obvious, honestly. Snow sports! And when I say snow sports, I mean everything snow-related. Snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, snow tubing, and just plain sledding. All of it. We’re pretty lucky to have a sled hill right behind our house (literally), but we’re always down for a good adventure and kicking it things up a notch, so we spent an afternoon at the UAF sledding hill for a change, and it. was. awesome.
Why You’ll Love the UAF Sledding Hill
One thing worth noting here in Fairbanks is that there isn’t a specific paid sledding hill, per se. There are plenty of places to do snow sports and even snow tubing, but we’ve yet to find an actual paid sledding hill. The UAF sledding hill, however, absolutely fills that otherwise gaping hole.
Located right by the recreation complex on UAF, the sledding hill is a popular among locals and visitors, alike. It’s still engrained in me to anticipate huge crowds, so when we went, I expected a huge amount of people. And, to be fair, there were a fair number of people at the sledding hill, but there weren’t a ton on a late Sunday afternoon, and it was well worth the trip. The sledding hill is huge, there is ample space for multiple people to sled at a time, and it’s free. Yes. Free.
The Best Sledding in Fairbanks, Alaska
Now, let me save you some time. If you’re doing a cursory Google search for “sledding in Fairbanks, Alaska,” you’ll get a million search results for dog sledding in the area but actual sledding, per se, won’t show up among those first searches. I think that this is primarily because you can basically sled just about anywhere and with on any hill with access out here. Needless to say though, we’d heard from our friends that this was the best sledding in hill Fairbanks, so we decided to go.
Where else can you sled in Fairbanks, you ask? If you’re on Fort Wainwright, there are a couple of really good sledding hills.
- At the back of the Chena Bend/North Town neighborhood, there is a sledding hill backed up against the Chena River
- In Tanana Trails, there is a small sledding hill right at the heart of the neighborhood
- By Denali Elementary on Lathrop Street, there is a kid-friendly sledding hill
- Small hill at the park between 22nd and 23rd Streets
- For the adventurous, locals recommend the pipeline on the backside of Moosecreek Bluff
What You Need to Know About Sledding in Fairbanks
I never knew there was so much to consider about sledding…but here we are! Apparently, it gets so cold in interior Alaska that you actually have to put some conscious thought and effort into the “how” and “when” you sled parts of it all. I thought sleds were just, well, sleds. If you ask a local though, it goes a bit deeper than that.
You know those plastic sleds; the hard plastic ones we all used growing up? Well, they’re here, too, but because it’s so cold, they actually get brittle and break a lot. In fact, we saw a lot of broken sled shards all over the UAF sledding hill. So, we have foam sleds. They’re more durable and, thankfully for my old butt, offer a little cushion on brutal hills.
Tips for Visiting the UAF Sledding Hill
Address: 1916 Tanana Loop E, Fairbanks, AK 99775
Level of Difficulty: It’s a solid trek up the sledding hill – about 50 feet if we had to hazard a guess. And yes, you sled down, but this is an unmanned hill, so you will need to trek up the hill each time. The hard pack also makes it a bit slippery. But yes, it’s worth it!
Cost: Free! You can park at the rec center and overflow lots, but note that if you park there on weekdays prior to 5 PM, you will have to pay a fee to park.
Dogs: Yes! Dogs are allowed on-leash.