Wide Open Spaces
Wide Open Spaces
Wide Open Spaces
Wide Open Spaces
Experience the Energy of Alaska
Experience the Energy of Alaska
Cultural Connections Await
Cultural Connections Await
Cultural Connections Await
Cultural Connections Await
Cultural Connections Await
Cultural Connections Await
Cruise the great rivers of the Last Frontier

Your three-hour tour will take you into the heart of Alaska and introduce you to a family who has made the rivers of Alaska their way of life for five generations.

Chena Indian Village Living  Museum

Be immersed in frontier living first hand with a guided walking tour of an Athabascan Indian village. You’ll see an Athabascan Indian village with cabins made of spruce logs, a cache used for storing supplies, a primitive spruce bark hut and fur pelts. Our guides will explain how the wolf, fox, martin and beaver were used to provide food and protection in the harsh Arctic climate. They will also share how the Athabascans skillfully survived for over 10,000 years and how they adapted to village life and Western culture in the past century.

At the end of your guided tour, you will have time to explore the village on your own, interact with our guides and visit dogs from Susan Butcher’s Trail Breaker Kennel.

Bush Pilot Demonstration

See an Alaskan bush pilot takeoff and land right next to the boat! Our pilot will share his stories of village life and explain the vital role planes play in remote Alaska.

Trail Breaker Kennel

Visit the home and kennel of the late four-time Iditarod champion Susan Butcher as we pass Trail Breaker Kennel along the Chena River. Learn first hand about kennel life and the challenges that go into making a champion dogsled team. Dave and Tekla Monson, Susan’s husband and daughter, share stories of life on the trails as puppies play in anticipation of joining the team. Keep your cameras ready; you will not want to miss the dog mushing demonstration!

Steamboat Landing

Trading posts in the early days of Western contact were popular with people in Alaskan Villages, and that tradition continues with the Discovery Trading Post (on-board Discovery III) and Steamboat Landing (onshore). Both stores offer gifts and products that are unique to Alaska and the Native culture. To this day, we strive to follow Captain Jim’s commitment to give visitors “the best value at the best price” by offering Fairbanks’ largest selection of Alaskan souvenirs and gifts.

Captain's Corner Grab & Go Lunch

If you are hungry, stop by the Captain's Corner located inside Steamboat Landing. We have fresh made sandwiches, wraps and salads ready each day. Enjoy your lunch on our beautiful outdoor deck as you soak in the sun and enjoy views of the Chena River. Beer, wine and snacks are also avliable for sale aboard Discovery III.

A family business

The Binkley family’s steamboating tradition goes back over 100 years and five generations. In 1898, when Charles M. Binkley hiked over the Chilkoot Pass with other stampeders, he was not so much in search of gold as he was the chance to build and operate boats on the Yukon and its tributaries. He became a respected pilot and boat builder in the North. His son, Captain Jim Binkley, Sr., followed in his father’s footsteps and piloted freight vessels on the Yukon and Tanana Rivers in the 1940's.

As transportation systems changed in the north, railroads and airplanes began to carry much of the freight. In 1950, noting the coming changes in the freighting business, Captain Jim and his wife, Mary, began a river excursion business focusing on sharing their love of Alaska and its culture with visitors. Over the coming years, Captain Jim and Mary B’s business grew from the Godspeed, a 25 passenger vessel, to the Discovery III, a 900 passenger vessel. Today, Captain Jim’s grandchildren run the company and Mary B is still active in the business.

In addition to growing their sternwheel business, the Binkley’s have added a gold mining attraction: Gold Dredge 8. The family has developed a tour in the heart of the gold fields where the first gold strikes attracted miners from the Klondike. They have incorporated large scale industrial mining and the smaller 'Mom and Pop' side of mining into an all-encompassing tour that also features the Trans Alaska Pipeline and a replica of the Tanana Valley Railroad.

Our Story
Recommended and environmentally friendly
Check out our other experiences
Strike it rich — guaranteed! Join the Binkley family for a trip through Alaska’s gold mining history at Gold Dredge 8.
Sustainable, wild-caught salmon from the Southeast Alaskan ocean waters; filleted, smoked and packaged to be enjoyed around the world.