Why a Reindeer Walk Is One of Fairbanks’ Best Activities

Two people walking with two reindeer

If you’ve never heard of a reindeer walk, you may be wondering what makes it so special. In a state filled with incredible wildlife activities, from whale watching to dog mushing, it can be difficult to figure out which attractions are worth fitting into your vacation. We’re here to explain why TripAdvisor has ranked Running Reindeer Ranch as #2 on its list of things to do in Fairbanks and why you should come meet our herd.

Since we’re the first experience of this kind anywhere in the United States, let us explain what exactly our Reindeer Walk entails! You might be thinking that the name is self-explanatory and that a reindeer walk involves a few four-legged friends and a stroll through the neighborhood. Maybe you’re envisioning a worst-case scenario with a group of forty people or so all huddled around an animal that has only been let out of its cage for this experience. Perhaps you think this is just a show created for tourists and that we don’t actually care for our reindeer. All of the above couldn’t be further from the truth!

First and foremost, our tours are designed to be a friendly, intimate introduction to both reindeer and life in the boreal forest more generally. We’ll start with a brief safety talk and give you an overview of what to expect, as well as how to behave around our reindeer. They’re part of our family, after all, so we want to make sure they’re well taken care of! Then, after getting to know each other and explaining a bit about why we decided to become reindeer parents, we’ll head out to meet the stars of the show. Our herd currently includes eleven of these goofy characters — Buttercup, Cosmos, Daisy, Jasper, Juniper, Margarita, Olive, Poppy, Rocket, Sapphire, Toby — and you’ll have the chance to meet a few of them! If you’re lucky (and if it’s the right season), you might even spot a few calves trotting about with their mothers.

Next, one of our guides will put the “reins” in reindeer and put on their harnesses to prepare them for the walk. Then, we’ll start the adventure that gives this unique Fairbanks experience its name. While ambling through the beautiful boreal forest, our guide will explain the A to Zs of reindeer, from how they’ve adapted to life in such cold temperatures, to their quirky personalities, to what makes them so different from other types of deer. We’ll discuss why the Arctic is a reindeer’s ideal natural habitat, all while surrounded by the beautiful birch and spruce trees emblematic of Alaskan forests. Other members of the Running Reindeer Ranch herd may also join our group, either bounding through the trees or strolling lazily alongside their family. Much of the experience varies based on trail conditions, seasons, and even the mood of the reindeer, so no two reindeer walks are alike!

Since this is an interactive experience, you’ll have the opportunity to get up close and personal with these creatures by joining the herd, feeding them, or even petting them (if they let you, of course!). Because our reindeer are tame but not trained, they’ve been known to engage in some goofy behavior — so make sure to have your camera out and ready at all times! Each member of our herd has their own unique personality, and we never know what wacky trick they’re going to come up with to make visitors chuckle.

As the walk comes to a close, you may be thinking that the tour is over and that you can return home. However, we’d rather invite you into our home for some hot drinks and world-famous homemade cookies! Gather ‘round, and listen to Jane and Doug share their love of all things Alaska, as well as share what made them choose a life with so many reindeer. You’ll have the chance to have any of your reindeer questions answered and get the low-down on life at Running Reindeer Ranch. You can even ask for tips about what to do in Fairbanks if you’re looking for other ideas on what to explore, since Jane and Doug have all the insider tips.

If goofy reindeer, great conversation, and gorgeous forest views sound like your idea of a perfect afternoon, check out our Reindeer Walks page to reserve your tour now. Add Running Reindeer Ranch to your list of Fairbanks attractions, and get ready for an experience like none other.

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