Gates Of The Arctic National Park Location And How To Reach It

Located in northern Alaska, Gates of the Arctic National Park is a national park and preserve managed by the United States Department of Interior. The park is the northernmost national park in the United States and is located entirely north of the Arctic Circle, making it the world’s northernmost national park. The park has an area of 8,472,506 acres, making it the second-largest in the United States and slightly larger than Belgium.

Originally designated as a national monument on December 1, 1978, Gates of the Arctic was redesignated as a national park and preserve in 1980, following the passage of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act. A large portion of the park is further protected by the Gates of the Arctic Wilderness, which covers 7,167,192 acres and provides additional protection. The wilderness area is bordered by the Noatak Wilderness Reserve. They combine to form the largest contiguous wilderness area in the United States of America.

There are no roads or trails in this vast expanse of undeveloped land. Visitors can explore ecosystems that have remained intact for thousands of years because people have coexisted with the land. Untamed rivers meander through glacier-carved valleys, caribou migrate along centuries-old trails, and the endless summer light fades into the aurora-lit night skies of the Canadian Arctic in the winter. With the exception of the forces of nature, it has remained virtually unchanged.

Entrances and how to reach Gates of the Arctic National Park

Due to the fact that Gates of the Arctic is a wilderness park with no roads or trails leading into the parklands, visitors must fly or hike into the park to get there. The park’s entrance is located in the city of Fairbanks, Alaska. There are a number of small airlines based in Fairbanks that operate daily flights to the gateway communities of Bettles and Anaktuvuk Pass, as well as flag, stops to Coldfoot and other destinations.

Small aircraft equipped with floats or tundra tires transport the majority of visitors to and from the park via air taxi. Hiking into the park from either the Dalton Highway or the village of Anaktuvuk Pass is another option for getting into the park from the outside. There are no trails leading into the park and preserve from any point, and river crossings are required from both Anaktuvuk Pass and the Dalton Highway to get into the park and preserve.

A list of authorized air taxi providers operating in the Gates of the Arctic National Park is found here.

From Bettles

It is necessary to fly into Bettles on one of the daily flights from Fairbanks because there is no road leading to this small ‘bush’ village. Bettles is home to a number of air taxis, outfitters, and lodges, as well as a small grocery store and post office. This is where the park’s visitor center is located. Visitors can fly into the park from Bettles, which is located nearby.

From Anaktuvuk Pass

The following is a statement from Anaktuvuk Pass: “As of April 20, 2021, the Village of Anaktuvuk Pass has updated their recreational access into the community in response to COVID-19 concerns.” If you intend to use the Anaktuvuk Pass to gain access to the Gates of the Arctic National Park, you must first obtain permission from the Village Council through email. Those with questions should call 907-459-3730, which is the number for the Fairbanks Public Lands Information Center.

The Anaktuvuk Pass is not accessible by road. Travel by plane to this small Nunamuit village on one of the daily flights from Fairbanks, then take a short walk to the park from the village’s small airport. The airstrip is surrounded by native land that stretches for several miles around it. In order to gain access to the park, visitors are welcome to cross over those lands, but they should seek permission before camping on native lands if they do so. In Anaktuvuk Pass, you’ll find a wonderful Nunamuit History Museum, as well as a small store and a post office.

From Coldfoot

For those traveling from Fairbanks to Coldfoot, they can either drive the 280 miles north on the Dalton Highway or fly in via one of the small commercial airlines based in Fairbanks. Coldfoot is home to an air taxi, a motel, a store, a cafe, and a post office, as well as hiking trails and camping areas. In the nearby community of Wiseman, there are two lodges to choose from. Visitors can either fly into the park or hike in from the highway to get to the park.

Dalton Highway

The Dalton Highway runs parallel to the park’s eastern boundary, and it is possible to hike into the park from the highway. The Dalton Highway passes through some breathtaking scenery, but it is not without its own set of difficulties to navigate. Between Fairbanks and Coldfoot, there is a two-lane industrial road that is mostly unpaved and devoid of amenities or services.

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