Fort Yukon sits on the banks of the Yukon River in Interior Alaska, 8 miles north of the Arctic Circle.
ABOUT FORT YUKON (GWICH'IN ATHABASCAN: GWICHYAA ZHEH)
Fort Yukon, the state’s largest Athabascan village, is home to about 560 people and is located 145 miles northeast of Fairbanks. Access to the village is primarily by air from Fairbanks, although in summer the Yukon River serves as a freeway of sorts for riverboats transporting friends and family between the many villages scattered along its length.
Fort Yukon is one of the older non-Native settlements in Alaska, founded as a fur-trading outpost in 1847 by the Hudson Bay Company. To this day, many residents earn their livelihoods through fur trading.
THINGS TO DO
Many visitors to Fort Yukon are there to connect with outfitters and guiding companies that run trips in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to the north. Viewing wildlife is one of the main reasons many visitors head to the refuge for extended wilderness trips. Air taxi operators also offer one-day flightseeing trips to spot caribou in both the refuge and the areas surrounding Fort Yukon. Rafting is another popular activity in the refuge, and Fort Yukon is a major staging area for guiding companies who run raft trips on the Kongakut, Sheenjek, Canning, and Hulahula Rivers.
Seeing and crossing the Arctic Circle is also a big draw. Flightseeing tours out of Fairbanks take visitors for a flight across the Arctic Circle and then land in Fort Yukon for a tour of the community and to see the town’s historic Episcopal Church, which was built in 1899. In winter Fort Yukon’s location above the Arctic Circle and the wide-open terrain make the village an exceptional place to witness the northern lights.
Within Fort Yukon is a replica of Hudson Bay Company fort built by the British trading company in the mid-1800s for protection against the Russians. The village has limited visitor services, including a grocery store, B&B, health center, and post office.
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