‘Into the Wild’ bus finds home at Fairbanks Museum

An Army National Guard Chinook helicopter carries a dilapidated Fairbanks bus away from its former resting place near the Teklanika River, close to Denali National Park. (Alaska National Guard)

The ‘Into the Wild’ bus where Christopher McCandless died will likely find a home at the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Museum of the North.

The Department of Natural Resources announced that it would likely be putting the bus in the museum, located on the UAF campus, in a press release on Thursday.

DNR commissioner Corri Feige said that the Museum of the North best met the department’s conditions, which included that the bus be preserved in a way the public could experience it safely and without profiteering.

The bus was popularized by Jon Krakauer’s 1996 book ‘Into the Wild,’ about the life of Christopher McCandless, who died in the bus in 1992 at the age of 26. The trek along the Stampede Trail to Bus 142, as it was known, has been the site of numerous rescues and two deaths, most recently in 2019.

The bus originally operated in Fairbanks and began housing mining crews in the 60s.

Last month, DNR airlifted the bus to a “secure but undisclosed location” using a Chinook helicopter at the request of the Denali Borough mayor.

Feige said that the museum was the only Interior site that is an official repository for state-owned objects, and has experts who can help restore the bus, which had been reportedly vandalized since McCandless’s death.