After nearly three weeks of temperatures well under -20F for the high(!!!) daily, we’ve had a proper warm-up here in interior Alaska, and we are absolutely savoring it. It’s funny though because, while most of those in the lower-48 are starting to celebrate the first signs of spring, the same rules absolutely do not apply to Fairbanks. Nevertheless, we’re enjoying over eight hours of daylight per day now, and our temps have been over 0F every day for the past week, so we decided it was the perfect time to try snowshoeing with kids on the Chena River.
Snowshoeing in Fairbanks, Alaska
If you’ve followed my blog for some time, you might remember that we’ve actually gone snowshoeing with the kids once before while we lived in Washington. The boys were much younger then, and we spent a day snowshoeing Myrtle Falls in Mt. Rainier National Park.
Now, however, the boys are older, more proficient, and more adept, so it felt like high time to try again. Plus, interior Alaska is the perfect outdoor playground for snowshoeing, skiing, and more, and we have trails and open spaces everywhere. Snowshoeing in Fairbanks, Alaska is especially popular in the middle of winter when we have more daylight and the ice is very thick.
Snowshoeing with Kids on the Chena River
I’ve had snowshoeing on my Fort Wainwright bucket list for a while, but I’ll admit that this winter definitely took the wind out of our sails a little bit. Spencer’s been really struggling with this cold-reactive asthma this winter, so we had to wait for the temps to lift a bit to properly enjoy the great outdoors again. Since it was 25F the other day, it was the perfect time to try snowshoeing with kids on the Chena River.
If you live on Fort Wainwright, there are multiple places to get down to the Chena River and, since the ice depth is at least 12 inches, it’s safe for us to go on the river. We can actually get down to the river about 100 feet from the house, which made it super easy. And, since we just saw the Yukon Quest pass by the other day, we were pretty confident that it was safe to traverse the river, and it was. We were lucky in that we didn’t have to carve our own path, and our snowshoes were just a good addition for balance while we followed the musher’s tracks on the river.
Where to Get Snowshoes in Fairbanks, Alaska
We’re big fans of secondhand gear over here, and it’s no secret that everything in Alaska is expensive. Thankfully, because Fairbanks has a steady stream of visitors and short-term residents thanks to the military, so there’s never shortage of secondhand gear.
Here are some of the best places to get snowshoes in Fairbanks:
- Buy used or new snowshoes at Play it Again Sports (this is where we got ours!)
- Rent snowshoes at Trax Outdoor Center
- Rent snowshoes at the Fort Wainwright Outdoor Recreation Center
- Buy new snowshoes at the REI Co-Op
Mieke has her own snowshoes, too, but since she wasn’t feeling it the day we decided to try, I pulled her on the sled. With a dog leash and a bungee cord. And yes, you can absolutely do this more, well, appropriately, but I had zero desire to buy my nearly-5-year-old a chariot since she’ll be walking next time. This worked for the day, and it was so much fun!