Ruby is an Athabascan village of 160 residents nestled in the Kilbuck-Kuskokwim Mountains along the Yukon River in Alaska’s Interior, about 230 miles west of Fairbanks.
About Ruby (Koyukon Athabascan: Tl'aa'ologhe)
As is typical of Alaska’s rural communities, Ruby is not on the road system and access to the village is only by riverboat in the summer, snowmobile in the winter, or small airplanes, which provide service year-round. The village provides basic services to paddlers floating nearby rivers and also serves as a stop along the northern route of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.
Things to do
Ruby is located on the south bank of the Yukon River. The village is on the western border of Nowitna National Wildlife Refuge and is one of two villages (Tanana is the other) that serve as staging points for expeditions into the 1,560,000-acre preserve. Recreation activities in the refuge include river trips, fishing, hunting, wildlife viewing, and photography.
Ruby provides limited services and supplies to paddlers floating the Yukon River and is an entry point for several other float trips in Nowitna National Wildlife Refuge. A common canoe expedition is to begin at Sulatna Crossings, reached from Ruby via the Placerville Road, and float the Sulatna River to the Nowitna River. Follow the Nowitna into the Yukon and pull out at Ruby for a 230-mile trip.
Ruby serves as a check point the along the northern route of the 1,100-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. Every other year the village of Ruby comes alive when a large group of mushers, press, and volunteers arrive for the event in March.
The Koyukon Athabascans, a nomadic people who moved with the seasons and migrations of game and fish, were the only inhabitants of the area until the mid-1800s. The village of Ruby was established as a supply point for gold miners and was named after the red-colored stones found on the riverbank that prospectors thought were rubies.
Two gold strikes fueled the growth of Ruby and at one point more than 1,000 miners lived in the village. Mining operations ceased during World War II and only a handful of residents remained in the village. Ruby rebounded when the residents of nearby Kokrines relocated there after the war.