Located on the southern side of the Seward Peninsula along the Bering Sea coast, Nome is an interesting place that combines Alaska’s gold rush history with rich Inupiat Eskimo culture, great fishing and plentiful wildlife.
The city is perhaps best known today as the finish line for the 1,049-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. The race begins the first Saturday in March in Anchorage and the first dog teams begin arriving in Nome as soon as nine days later. Nome's Iditarod Festival begins a week after the start and continues as the mushers trickle in.
Things to do
Nome may only be accessible by air or sea, but once there you can explore 350 miles of roads that connect to other communities on the Seward Peninsula and wind through tundra, mountains and coastal plains along the way. You will see artifacts of the gold rush everywhere, including abandoned dredges, turn-of-the-century steam engines, old mining claims, and old railroad track and decaying trestles. Abundant wild flowers and tundra plants blanket the landscape while herds of musk oxen and reindeer graze within sight of the road. Other resident critters include bears, moose, fox, beaver, wolves, wolverine, lemmings, voles and shrews. The road system passes through a variety of habitats from beach to boreal forest, each boasting its own bird populations. Summer provides great fishing in one of the many streams and rivers or in the Bering Sea.
A stop off at the Carrie M. McLain Memorial Museum is worthwhile. Daughter of a prospector, Carrie McLain arrived in Nome when she was eight and grew to become the town historian and one of Nome's leading citizens. The museum showcases the lives of the gold prospectors and presents the art and lifestyle of the Bering Strait Eskimos with rare artifacts and photos.