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 lies on the south bank of the Skwentna River at its junction with Eight Mile Creek, a 70-mile flight from Anchorage.
Although 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 Trail here in 1908 on the way to Nome from Seward. 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.
Things to do
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. It is also a stop for the Iditarod Trail Invitational, a 350-mile race that combines skiing, mountain biking and snowshoeing. Throughout the winter Skwentna is a popular spot for weekend snowmobile and cross-country skiers who stay at many of the fly-in lodges.
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 with most located on the Talachulitna River, Lake Creek and Fish Creek. Guests target king salmon from June to mid-July and then concentrate on 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.