wander lake trail in fairbanks, alaska

wander lake trail fairbanks

I saw something the other day that said “I’m somewhere in the seasons between OMG and WTF,” and honestly, that spoke to me. While much of the lower 48 is experiencing those first sings of spring, Alaska’s winter season is holding us close in her grips. Now, we’re supposed to have a bit of a warmup in the latter half of this week, which we’re so excited about, but we’re definitely ready to be done with the cold mornings! We needed to get out this past weekend though, so we made our way over to Wander Lake Trail in Fairbanks, and it was just what we needed: simple, fresh air, and time with great friends.

Wander Lake Trail in Fairbanks

If you know anything about interior Alaska and Fairbanks, specifically, you likely know that we’re not hailed for the gorgeous mountains in other areas of this massive state. We have some nice mountains, and we have some great views (like those views from Murphy Dome), but overall, our trails are fairly flat compared to much of Alaska.

Wander Lake Trail in Fairbanks is actually right smack dab in the middle of town. Yet, somehow, it’s sort of nestled back there behind all the things. So, if you don’t know it’s there, or you don’t care to hike, you’ll likely never find it. It popped up on my AllTrails though, and since we made a last-minute decision to get out there, it absolutely fit the bill for a simple, kid-friendly walk in the woods.

wander lake trail fairbanks

easy trails fairbanks

fairbanks alaska trails

Fairbanks Hikes and Trails

The beautiful thing about the trails in Fairbanks is that most of them are actually quite beginner-friendly, in large part because we don’t have that massive elevation gain that much of the rest of the state has. The ones we do have are pretty flat, generally close to the town center, and a great way to help kids get their proverbial hiking legs.

Fairbanks actually hosts a yearly Fairbanks Winter Trails Challenge, too, where participants can register for free to claim prizes upon completing the trails advertised. They offer the same challenge in the summer, too, but we just barely started tackling the little ones nearby. I love that I can tell the kids they aren’t really a hike per se, because they’ve done much harder ones, too.

fairbanks alaska trails

fairbanks alaska trails

fairbanks alaska trails

What to Know About Wander Lake Trail

In the summer, I have to imagine this is a real gem for local summer days. In the winter, we had the trail entirely to ourselves. We didn’t arrive until about 10:30, and we didn’t see another soul on the trail – except for a moose that ran right across the trail and across the lake in front of us. It’s a simple trail, goes right around the lake and loops right back to the parking lot, so there’s really no way to get lost. There’s also a bird-watching area, multiple benches, and lookouts that will definitely be a hit in the summer months.

hiking with kids fairbanks

kid-friendly hikes fairbanks


Tips for Visiting Wander Lake in Fairbanks

Address: 212 Wedgewood Drive, Fairbanks, AK 99701

Trail Length: It’s a flat 1.4 mile loop from start to finish

Parking: You’ll be parking in an apartment complex, so when your GPS dumps you there, don’t get confused like we did.

To Get to the Trail: There are two gates perpendicular to one another. Enter the one directly across from the parking lot, follow the signs, then loop around and you’ll end at the other.

Tips: No dogs are allowed because it’s a wildlife sanctuary. There are no facilities, but you’re in town and close to plenty of public restrooms, etc.