Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve
|Camp on Killik River (Photo Copyright © Arctic Treks)|
Anaktuvuk Pass Ranger Station
P.O. Box 21102
Anaktuvuk Pass, AK 99721
Anaktuvuk Pass Ranger Station
Bettles Ranger Station
P.O. Box 26030
Bettles, AK 99726
Marion Creek Ranger Station (Coldfoot)
P.O. Box 9072
Coldfoot, AK 99701
Marion Creek Ranger Station
Coldfoot Visitor Center
Memorial Day Through Labor Day 907-678-5209
Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve is located in the central Brooks Range, about 200 miles northwest of Fairbanks. There are no roads or established trails within in the park, although the Dalton Highway comes within about five miles of the park's eastern boundary. Other than hiking in from the Dalton Highway, between approximately milepost 190 to milepost 276, access is generally by air. Scheduled air taxis from Fairbanks serve Anaktuvuk Pass, Bettles, and Coldfoot. Charter flights may be arranged.
Your guide/air taxi operator will provide you with options, and help you formulate realistic plans and expectations.
The Park and Preserve are open year round. There are no admission or user fees for non-commercial users. The ranger stations' hours vary according to the season, and the Coldfoot Visitor Center is open Memorial Day through Labor Day. Call ahead for specific hours and days. Gates of the Arctic is a remote wilderness, and travelers should be fully competent in outdoor skills. Administrative buildings in Fairbanks, Anaktuvuk Pass, Coldfoot, and Bettles are accessible.
The Anaktuvuk Pass Ranger Station, Bettles Ranger Station, and Coldfoot Visitor Center have backcountry orientation displays. Bettles Ranger Station has an interactive CD-ROM program on site. The Coldfoot Visitor Center has scheduled evening programs during the summer. While in Coldfoot check out the ruins and cemetery of "Old Coldfoot" or visit the historic village of Wiseman just 13 miles up the road.
The most popular activities at Gates of the Arctic are hiking, backpacking, climbing, kayaking, rafting, fishing, wildlife observation, and exploring the wilderness on horseback and snowmachine.
Gates of the Arctic requires a backcountry orientation program for all recreational travelers. The backcountry orientation will be offered at the Bettles Ranger Station, Coldfoot Visitor Center, and Anaktuvuk Pass Ranger Station. Backcountry users not passing through one of these locations should call the Bettles Ranger Station.
Planning your route is an important part of your adventure. The Brooks Range is a vast area and will require you to spend some time with topographic maps. Topographic maps are available.
Camping and Lodging
There is no commercial lodging in the park. Commercial facilities exist in Anaktuvuk Pass, Bettles, Coldfoot, and Wiseman. There is also a campground managed by BLM at Dalton Highway Milepost 180 (five miles north of Coldfoot). The campground is open from June through mid-September. It is the responsibility of the visitor to obtain all of the necessary information and avoid private property.
The backcountry eco-systems of Interior Alaska are very fragile. Visitors should be aware of delicate areas when selecting campsites. Gravel and sandbars offer ideal campsites; they afford breezes which deter insects and allow optimal views, thus discouraging surprise encounters with wildlife. These sites flood during high-water each spring washing away all signs of impact. Visitors are strongly encouraged to practice minimum impact/leave no trace camping guidelines at all times. Fires should be used only when regulations permit and if possible, kept on river bars below the high water line. Visitors are reminded there are no facilities within the preserve and they should be self-sufficient at all times.
Three areas within the park are considered wilderness concerns due to occasional levels of high use. Care must be taken in selecting a campsite in these areas. They are the Arrigetch Peaks, Noatak River, and the North Fork of the Koyukuk.
Food and Supplies
Supplies are generally not available within the Park. Visitors must plan to be self-sufficient.
Rules and Regulations
State hunting and fishing guidelines and regulations must be followed. Sport hunting is allowed in the Preserve areas of Gates of the Arctic. Collection of any artifact is prohibited.
As with any trip, proper planning is essential for a Brooks Range visit. With the remoteness and with no facilities within the park, the visitor must be well-prepared and self-sufficient. Equipment, supplies, and even emergency services may not be available. Wilderness skills are essential. In many areas of the park, it could be weeks before you encounter another person. The best way to enjoy the park is to arrange your trips with an experienced guide.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication