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|Popular For:||Walking trails, wildlife viewing, snowshoe, ski|
|Distance:||1.25-1.4 mile loop – Connects to Creamer’s Field Trails|
|Difficulty:||Easy – ADA accessible trails (unpaved)|
|Location:||Wedgewood Resort – Fairbanks, Alaska|
Overview – Wedgewood Wildlife Sanctuary
The nature trails at the Wedgewood Wildlife Sanctuary are a wonderful quiet spot to walk around Wander Lake. It receives much less foot traffic than the trails at Creamer’s Field that these trails connect to! It’s an excellent place for a relaxing stroll around the lake. There are multiple benches along the path to rest and a photo blind to watch for birds near a nesting island. There are typically a lot of gulls here, sometimes nesting near or on the blind, so you might get dive-bombed trying to walk out to it.
It’s important to remember that these trails are on private property, owned and cared for by the Wedgewood Resort. While I hope that everyone is always respectful and practice Leave no Trace principles in the outdoors, it’s especially important to pay attention to regulations in privately operated areas so they don’t get shut down. There are no dogs or bikes allowed in the sanctuary and they ask that you always stay on the trails.
The staff at Wedgwood do a fantastic job at maintaining these trails, let’s not give them any extra work to do!
The Wedgwood Resort is just off of the east end of College Road in Fairbanks. The most accessible place to park is probably in the lot of the Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum, signs around the resort will lead you there. Many of the other parking areas are for guests of the resort and residents. The Auto Museum is another place to check out if you’re into old cars while visiting Fairbanks! A quick walk along the side of the building past a few of the auto museum displays brings you to the trailhead.
Alternatively, you can access the trails from the Creamer’s Field Trails or Joy Elementary. Take a small connector trail on the north end of the lot and then turn right on the trail that runs along the woodline.
Taiga Loop Trail – Wedgewood Wildlife Sanctuary
Once you pass through the wooden gates, the trails are straightforward to follow and are well marked. The Taiga loop (0.65 miles/1 km) stays mainly in the boreal forest, only skirting the lake for a short section before ducking back into the woods. Wide wooden bridges are cross over Isabella Creek on both sides of the loop. You are likely to see lots of birds and red squirrels, but always be on alert for moose!
There are many well-done infographics around explaining the local ecosystem, geology, plants, and animals. And insects, something I should mention. Come prepared for mosquitoes May-July. They tend to start getting a little more tolerable in mid-July, but they’ll still be around until the end of August.
Wander Lake Loop – Wedgewood Wildlife Sanctuary
Walking the whole Wander Lake Loop adds about 0.8 miles/1.25 km to the Taiga Loop Trail. It’s well worth the walk and easy to forget that the Fairbanks shopping district is just through the trees. There are many benches lining the trail, so you never need to go far to find a place to rest or watch for wildlife.
On the far side of the lake is the photo blind for bird watching. There often many seagulls and other migratory waterfowl nearby. You might even see predatory birds like osprey, bald eagles or hawks. Like Creamer’s Field, the Wedgewood Wildlife Sanctuary is a perfect spot in town for birding.
If you would like to find out more about the Wedgwood Wildlife Sanctuary and Resort check out info on their website here: Fountainhead Hotels: Things to Do.
If you have recently hiked these trails, feel free to leave a comment below about any wildlife you saw (and maybe what the bug situation was like)! Be sure to leave the time of day you were there. Thanks!