Known the world over as the Golden Heart City, Fairbanks is just 198 miles from the Arctic Circle, 400 miles from the North Slope oil fields and 260 miles from the pipeline terminal in the port of Valdez. The city has a rich and colorful history extending from the gold rush era of the early 20th century to the sizzling pipeline construction days of the 1970s. Settled by chance due to low rivers in 1901, Fairbanks incorporated in 1903. Though it began as an isolated, middle-of-nowhere mining boom town, the present city has theaters, stores, restaurants, churches, bars, libraries and public services such as you would find anywhere in a U.S. city of 30,000-plus people. The difference comes in the wildness that starts just outside town — wild country, free-roaming wildlife, mountains, rivers and wilderness trails unmatched anywhere in the Lower 48.