The Western Arctic is one of the most remote areas of the United States and home to the Inupiat people who have lived on the land for thousands of years. The area is known for its wildlife, including thousands of caribou and millions of birds that breed and raise their young in the region’s vast wetland habitats.
Landscapes range from coastal plains to high mountain ranges. Here you’ll find few roads, but you’ll have the opportunity to explore wild and scenic rivers, national parks, and wildlife refuges representing one of Alaska’s most diverse regions. The area is home to five national parks, monuments, and refuges — Bering Land Bridge National Preserve, Cape Krusenstern National Monument, Kobuk Valley National Park, Noatak National Preserve, and Selawik National Wildlife Refuge — offering a range of backcountry experiences including hiking, rafting, wildlife viewing, photography, and fishing.
Though remote, the Western Arctic is home to two hub cities that are easily accessible: Nome and Kotzebue. Both cities can be reached by regularly scheduled flight service from Anchorage and air charters from other communities in Alaska. Air charters and taxis in both communities can take visitors out to backcountry areas and villages. Nome is best known for its gold rush history and as the ending point of the world-famous Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. Kotzebue is the jumping off point for backcountry adventures and river trips in Noatak National Preserve, Kobuk Valley National Park, and Cape Krusenstern National Monument.
Western Arctic: Cities & Towns
Western Arctic: Parks
Local Climate & Weather
For Alaska's day-to-day weather, it’s best to plan for a bit of everything. Learn more about weather in this area.