We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Arctic Circle/Dalton Hwy Tour - You need to do this!”
Review of 1st Alaska Tours

1st Alaska Tours
Book In Advance
More Info
and up
Fairbanks City Highlight Tour
More Info
and up
Northern Lights Lodge Viewing in Fairbanks
More Info
and up
Northern Lights Murphy Dome Viewing in Fairbanks
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: 1st Alaska Tours is a Fairbanks based touring and sightseeing company that operates year round. Explore the tundra on an Arctic Circle or Arctic Ocean/Prudhoe Bay tour and receive a certificate to commemorate your journey. Relax in the famous Chena Hot Springs or take a Fairbanks City Tour to learn about the Golden Heart City. Enjoy the Northern Lights on one of our many Aurora Viewing Tours.Dog Mushing is the Alaskan State sport and is incredibly fun. Visit our Iditarod racing Dog Musher, Sven Haltmann of Arctic Winter Adventures, for a 1 hour Dog Sledding/Dog Mushing highlight. Summer or winter, we have an Alaskan adventure for everyone! We speak English, Mandarin & German.
Reviewed March 12, 2014

If you are in the Fairbanks area and can spare a whole day/night for a great tour, you need to sign up for this one. Its something you should see and experience at least once. This tour was worth every cent and every minute of travel time. This was the "winter tour program" Arctic Circle/Dalton hwy/aurora viewing tour and the tour time was from 2:00 pm to about 4:00 am.

Note: I would not recommend driving on the Dalton Hwy yourself under any circumstances during winter for the following reasons A.) its a dangerous road made of gravel and ice, B.) no rental car company will allow you to drive on the Dalton (and probably the Eliot Hwy too) with a normal style rental car, C.) there is no cell phone coverage out there and you must rely on CB radios and SAT phones if you need to call out in an emergency, D.) There are almost no facilities of any kind along most of the road, E.) a tow from even the first few miles into the Dalton start at about $1K and can go up to $2 - 3K quickly from there. Its best to just take a tour with an experienced driver in a big vehicle that has emergency supplies and a CB radio and SAT phone. Leave the driving to them and just relax and enjoy!!!!

Jim was our driver that day and after pickup at the cultural center, we were well on our way by 2:00 pm. (Note: they do serve you a nice sandwich and snacks later that night, but I recommend that you eat a good lunch before the tour just to hold you until then). Jim was really entertaining and educated us about a lot of Dalton Hwy and Alaska facts. The time went by really quickly as we were having fun and watching some nice winter scenery from the van. We made a few stops at some scenic points along the way while it was daylight. It was strange to see truckers passing us like we were driving slow! Those guys go crazy fast and don't slow down for anything.

Much of the scenery was like a winter wonderland and it looked really nice as the sun was setting. The sun was almost down by the time we reached the Yukon river. Then after a while we reached the Arctic Circle and everyone took lots of pictures of the sign including some funny ones. Jim also gave us our Arctic Circle certificates so that made us feel like legitimate explorers! He also broke out the hot tea, coffee and hot chocolate for anyone that needed a little something warm to drink. By that time it was getting pretty cold and Jim estimated it to be about -20 to -25 F.

We then started the journey back and at about 10:45 pm Jim noticed the beginnings of an aurora band. We pulled over at the Yukon river stop and saw the band expand across the sky and then intensify, then streamers popping out and dancing every now and then ...very exiting!!!! We stayed there for a while then kept driving to the next pull off area down the road. The aurora was getting more intense and we got some nice views and pictures at that stop as well. This was the highlight of the trip for us. Even though the aurora activity was actually low that night with Kp = 0, we were still able to get a great show because we were were so far North of Fairbanks and the auroras were basically overhead. The people at our lodge back in Fairbanks did see a faint show that night but not nearly as good as we saw. Being this far North really helps your chances to see the auroras even when there is low activity, so if you want to see the lights and have a just a few days in Fairbanks, this tour is a great way to increase your odds of a successful viewing!

You need to do this tour!

3  Thank Scotts_Travel_Tips
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review
Reviews (438)
There are newer reviews for 1st Alaska Tours
See the most recent reviews
Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year
  • More languages

354 - 358 of 439 reviews

Reviewed March 10, 2014 via mobile

We didn't know what to expect on our Artic/ Aurora viewing tour. Joseph was our driver and what a great guy he is so knowledgeable about Alaska and very willing to answer all your questions, even the basic tourist question he probably hears every day. The bagged lunch was sufficient, of course we brought our own snacks which paid off big time. Joseph was very entoustiatc about finding the aurora and continuously attempted to find the aurora for us. We did see the aurora but it was very faint. Van was clean and new. Overall great trip and experience.

Thank Cru16110
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 8, 2014

I went to Fairbanks, Alaska for 5 days just to see the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights). It was the 3rd week of February and there was no guarantee that I would get to see it. Forecasts for the Aurora were low. How fortunate that the beautiful light displays in the night sky appeared 4 out of the 5 days I was there ! I booked three tours from 1st Alaska School in Fairbanks. The first tour was lodge viewing from 10 pm to 3 am, where we were taken 30 miles out by great guide Sam Brown. The 2nd tour was lodge viewing with dinner; again a super viewing evening with amiable and kind Sam and the added bonus of an Alaska salmon dinner, cooked by Sven, the owner of a dog-sledding business. The Northern Light displayed right across the sky above his cabin ! My last tour was from 4.30 pm to 3 a.m. with friendly guide Lindsay to Chena Hot Springs. First stop the Ice Museum, then dinner on our own in the restaurant (Alaskan crab). The Hot Springs are a great experience, steaming with frozen surroundings !! Then the beautiful Aurora appeared and waxed and waned and curtained and changed over 2 hrs. Thrilling and breathtaking, to say the least, even though we stood outside in minus 35 Celsius. It was crisp and clear, and one can always go indoors for a while to warm up. I would highly recommend 1st Alaska School - Maggie will help you choose the tour for you.

Thank kalgal2005
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 7, 2014

We started our massive USA trip in Fairbanks Alaska in November 2013. Snow everywhere, so for a couple of Aussies from Queensland Australia, driving was not an option. After some quick research we found 1st Alaska and we were not sorry.
Firstly, the booking process was really impressive - we booked a total of 3 tours, would have been 4 but the reindeer tour i wanted wasn't available on the day i wanted, anyway...
The Arctic Circle tour was such a blast! Pick up from our hotel was easy and it was such a pleasure to meet Joseph, our tour guide who is super knowledgable and just a really nice guy!
We drove out of Fairbanks and stopped at the Alaskan Pipeline for some info and photos, then it was on to the Dalton Highway - Ice road truckers!
The drive was long, but there was a lot to see and Joseph was very good at keeping us all interested on the way, not to mention what a good driver he was in the icy conditions.
We finally made it out to the Arctic circle and it was just such a great experience, so quiet and a night sky like we've never seen before!
Side note, sandwich provided on the tour, yum!
If you are thinking of taking this tour, do it! It's a long long day / night but you are after all, driving to the arctic circle - this company is great and we enjoyed our other tours with them - Chena Hot Springs and Fairbanks City Tour

1  Thank blimeytravelbug
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 4, 2014

While in Fairbanks last week, I had a WONDERFUL experience with Chena Hot Springs and Chandalar Ranch for Aurora viewing. Both charged $75 for their viewing trip, and Chandalar included motel pickup in that fee. Chena was too far out to include that service. I thought I would try the 1st Alaska Aurora Dinner for $170 as a treat, and it was a scam. The only good thing about it was the nice lady who picked you up at the motel. The "hearty home cooked meal of Alaskan fare" included a glass of water for your drink, about 3 oz of tough caribou meat, frozen vegetables, fried potatoes, store bought pie and ice cream... Since there were more people than usual (maybe 10) they didn't have enough dishes so they also used bowls/ cups/ etc. There was one poor vegetarian who had to wait until everyone was done to get her plate of scrambled eggs... $170!!!! At 11pm we had to remind them that we were there to see the Aurora and to ask to go to the viewing area. The viewing "lodge" was small and DID NOT have large viewing windows facing North. It was warm (the only plus). The field around the lodge could have been good to see the lights but it was knee deep in snow and could not be accessed easily by the guests. It should have been cleared had this been a reputable (and non-lazy) group. There was a narrow balcony that everyone tried to squeeze on to peer Northward at the narrow end of the balcony. The outhouse was filthy and had no door. The other viewing companies we used had outhouses but at least they kept them maintained.,, and they had doors. 1"st Alaska clearly only had an interest in taking your money. Do not fall into this scam.... It was awful. I felt sorry for the international guests who went away- not seeing an aurora, although when we first arrived there were twinges (makes me wonder if we missed it)- and believing this was a typical class American place!
The employees kept on talking about some musher named Sven who owned the cabin we ate in, and I guess we were supposed to be impressed with that. I wonder if he knows or cares about the awful experience associated with his name!! He was somewhere killing caribou for other future aurora dinners, so buyer beware!!

3  Thank Rena B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed 1st Alaska Tours also viewed


Been to 1st Alaska Tours? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing