An Iditarod dog team in Skwentna Alaska
Photo Credit: ATIA, Chris McLennan



The isolated village of Skwentna isn’t on Alaska’s road system, but it’s a major thoroughfare for dogs – the village is a checkpoint on the famous Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.


Skwentna has a population of about 30 people and lies on the south bank of the Skwentna River at its junction with Eight Mile Creek. This small village is located west of the Mat-Su Valley and is a 70-mile flight from Anchorage.


Several fly-in wilderness lodges and cabins are located in the Skwentna area catering to visitors who want to get off the beaten track for fishing, hunting, snowmobiling, and boating. Most lodges will arrange private air taxi service on a float plane or bush plane that will take you directly to their property.

Skwentna is an official checkpoint on the annual Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race from Anchorage to Nome each March, as well as a gas stop for the Iron Dog Snowmobile Race in February. The Iditarod Trail Invitational, a 350-mile race that combines skiing, mountain biking, and snowshoeing, also makes a stop in Skwentna.

The area drained by the Skwentna and Yentna rivers has many lakes and small streams that support all five species of salmon in Alaska. Taking advantage of the fine fishing are a number of fly-in fishing lodges located mostly on the Talachulitna River, Lake Creek, and Fish Creek. Guests target king salmon from June to mid-July, pink and sockeye salmon July and early August, and silver salmon August to early September. Rainbow trout, grayling, Dolly Varden, and northern pike are also plentiful and frequently caught.


Dena'ina Athabascans fished and hunted the Skwentna and Yentna rivers for centuries. Permanent settlers did not show up until after the Alaska Road Commission cut the Iditarod National Historic Trail in 1908, connecting Seward to Nome. Roadhouses were later constructed along the trail, including the Old Skwentna Roadhouse, to service the prospectors, trappers, and Alaska Natives who used sled dogs to transport goods over the trail.


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