State Parks near Fairbanks, AK

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State Parks

Chena River State Recreation Area, AK

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Chena River State Recreation Area started as a small hot spring destination for the residents of nearby Fairbanks. The first visitors to Chena Hot Springs claimed that it had healing powers, spurring numerous additional visitors in search of better health. The U.S. Army built a small road into the area, which soon grew as a logging and mining resource in the early 20th century. Following statehood, Alaska set aside just over 15,000 acres for protection as a state recreation area. Oil was discovered in the region only one year later, and the Chena River faced a risk of massive oil development. Residents lobbied for further protections of the area, and in 1975, the original 15,000 acres grew to over …

White Mountains National Recreation Area, AK

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Affectionately known as ‘the Whites,” the White Mountains National Recreation Area was originally a mining region during the early 1900s’ gold rush. Even today, the remnants of these mining operations can be seen in various spots along creeks and rivers: long-abandoned dredges, shanties, and gravel tailings. Today, the White Mountains National Recreation Area’s primary industry is outdoor recreation. The region sees a few thousand people every year keen to explore the pristine wilderness and test their survival skills.

The closest town, Fairbanks, is about 60 miles south. Fairbanks is the second-largest city in Alaska (Anchorage being the first), and it boasts many modern amenities like fast-food restaurants, theaters, and museums. Though one can drive from Anchorage to Fairbanks, due …