The Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve is a United States National Park in northwestern Alaska. It is the northernmost national park in the U.S. and the second largest at 8.4 million acres (3,400,000 ha), larger than Belgium. The park includes the northernmost extent of the Brooks Range mountains and part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
A large part of the park is protected in the Gates of the Arctic Wilderness which covers 7.4 million acres (3,000,000 ha). The wilderness area adjoins Kobuk Valley National Park and together they form one of the largest internationally protected areas in the world. There are no roads or trails in Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, and no visitor facilities.
Camping is permitted throughout the park, and there are three designated backcountry camping zones. Backcountry travelers must apply for permits. Despite its extensive size, the park sees few visitors, with an average of just over 10,000 per year. Most visitors arrive in the park during the summer months and fewer in the winter. The park headquarters is located in the town of Kotzebue, outside the park.
The park was first established as a national monument on December 1, 1978, and then redesignated as a national park and preserve on December 2, 1980. The park consists of both mountains and lowland tundra, as well as frigid rivers and ocean coastline. The major rivers include the Kobuk, the Noatak, and the Tinayguk. The park is home to a variety of wildlife, including grizzly bears, caribou, Dall sheep, wolves, and foxes. It is also home to a variety of birds, including ptarmigans, ducks, and geese. The park is one of the best places in the world to see the aurora borealis, also known as the northern lights.
The park is open all year, but the best time to visit is during the summer months when the weather is warmer and there is more daylight. During the summer, visitors can enjoy activities such as hiking, camping, fishing, and kayaking. Winter activities include cross-country skiing and dog sledding.
Photos of Gates of the Arctic National Park
Fog obscuring mountain peak on road in Gates of The Arctic National Park and Preserve (unsplash.com)
A small lake at the foot of a mountain in Itkillik Preserve (National Park Service, Public Domain)
Aerial view of the Mountain Range in summer at Gates of The Arctic National Park and Preserve (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Public Domain)
Arctic landscape from the road in Gates of The Arctic National Park and Preserve (unsplash.com)
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Gates of the Arctic National Park
How to get to Gates of the Arctic?
There is no road access to Gates of the Arctic National Park & Preserve. The only way to get there is by small plane or by hiking/backpacking.
Can you drive to Gates of the Arctic National Park?
The only way to reach Gates of the Arctic National Park is by airplane or foot. There are no roads that lead to the park.
Where is Gates of the Arctic National Park located?
Gates of the Arctic National Park is located in the north central region of Alaska, near the towns of Bettles, Anaktuvuk Pass, and Kobuk.
What to do in Gates of the Arctic?
There are many different things that one can do in Gates of the Arctic. Hiking, camping, fishing, and bird watching are all popular activities in the area. There are also many different educational opportunities available, as Gates of the Arctic is home to a variety of different cultural and historical sites.
Average weather in Gates of the Arctic National Park