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Directions to Gates of the Arctic National Park & Preserve

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LocMap Gates of the Arctic National Park

LocMap Gates of the Arctic National Park (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Gates of the Arctic National Park & Preserve literally is a gate to the Arctic, so as you may have guessed it’s not really within driving distance of most visitors. Another (very important) point is that there are no roads or trails through the Gates of the Arctic National Park & Preserve, there aren’t even any roads to many of the communities which are the most popular entry points to the park. Driving is largely out of the question, but there are other ways of reaching the Gates of the Arctic National Park & Preserve.

One of the easiest and most popular methods of visiting Gates of the Arctic National Park & Preserve is to fly in from Fairbanks. Popular entry points include;

  • Bettles
  • Anaktuvuk Pass
  • Kotzebue
  • Coldfoot
  • Dalton Highway Corridor – one of the few routes which is accessible by vehicle.
You can get a commercial flight from Fairbanks to any of the top four communities on the list.
  • Bettles, Coldfoot and Kotzebue – you can fly from these communities into the park using an air taxi service. Where you land within the park really depends on which community you choose to fly from.
  • Anaktuvuk Pass Airfield – you can hike into the park directly from this airfield. You must, however, remember that the airfield plus the surrounding property is all privately owned so you’ve got to be sure that you’re actually in Gates of the Arctic National Park & Preserve before setting up camp.
  • Dalton Highway – this is possibly the cheapest method of gaining access to the Gates of the Arctic National Park & Preserve. You can either drive to Coldfoot before flying into the park (see above) or alternatively hike directly into the park from the highway (the cheapest option).

Traveling Tips in Gates of the Arctic National Park & Preserve
Before you set off on your wilderness adventure of a lifetime, it’s important that you take on board just a few traveling tips.
  1. I’ve said it before but feel the need to say it again – there are no trails into the Gates of the Arctic National Park & Preserve – none. There are river crossings from both the Dalton Highway and the Anaktuvuk Pass.
  2. Remember that you won’t be able to travel as quickly through the bush as you can on a recognized hiking trail. A flexible schedule is needed to take into account the weather and whatever else may be thrown at you on your adventure.
  3. You must contact the Park before your trip for advice on any updates. Wherever you access the park stop by the Visitor Center or contact station and check in with a ranger. One important thing you need to check out is the Bear Resistant Food Containers you’ll need for your trip, you will also become a “Guardian of the Gates” – a kind of “Gates-Keeper” if you like.

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