Gates of the Arctic National Park & Preserve

Gates of the Arctic National Park & Preserve Overview

Situated just north of the Arctic Circle, Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve is an untamed wilderness. The park does not contain any roads and is only accessible by plane so there are very few visitors. In fact, Gates of the Arctic is the least visited national park in the entire NPS. There is no denying the scenic beauty that this park offers but to explore it, you have to be willing to travel afoot. There are no maintained trails so visitors must backpack over dense vegetation and frequent river crossings to get to where they want to go. Caribou, grizzly bears, wolves, and other mammals are all very prominent in the park. Because of its size and remoteness, visitors should carefully research and plan their trip.

Nearest Metro AreaFairbanks, AK
Area Size8,472,506 acres
EstablishedDecember 2, 1980
Hiking Trails0 miles

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*There are no established trails

Sun on the landscape
Sun on the landscape, Photo by National Park Service, Alaska Region

There are no official trails in Gates of the Arctic, but there are countless ‘game trails’ established by animals. When feasible, use game trails as much as possible, not only for minimizing your impacts on the vegetation, but also for ease of travel. When hiking where no game trails exist, walk in a fan formation, rather than a single file straight line, to avoid creating social trails. Trekking poles are very useful on the uneven and tussock-covered terrain.

Featured Image: Gates of the Arctic National Park & Preserve, Photo by NPS Natural Resources

Don’t forget to stock up on the essentials before you plan your next hiking or camping trip! We have recommendations on: