Fast Facts


  • Yukon Flats has the highest density of nesting ducks in the state. Between 1 and 2 million ducks breed in the Yukon Flats each year.
  • The Yukon Flats contributes significant populations of several species of waterfowl to all four of the continent's flyways, including 10-25 percent of the North American breeding population of canvasback ducks.
  • Waterfowl banded on the Yukon Flats have been recovered in 11 foreign countries, eight Canadian Provinces, and 45 of the 50 United States.   
  • Waterfowl aren’t the only birds that visit the Yukon Flats-- 147 species of birds utilize the refuge. 
  • A songbird banding station on the refuge has recorded one of the highest capture rates in Alaska. 
  • The refuge provides habitat for 33 mammal species including grizzly bears, black bears, lynx, marten, river otter, and wolves. You’ll have to travel to the north coast of Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to see a polar bear, though.
  • Eleven rivers flow through the refuge and support three species of salmon and 15 species of freshwater fish. Salmon that migrate from the Bering Sea through the Yukon Flats to Canada must swim nearly 2,000 miles upstream before spawning.

Learn More about Wildlife in the Yukon Flats 

Bird Gallery

Mammal Gallery


  • The Yukon Flats Refuge is the nation’s third largest national wildlife refuge, larger than the states of Maryland and Delaware combined. The boundary of the refuge encompasses more than 11 million acres. 
  • There are so many water bodies on the Yukon Flats that a person could explore four each day for the next 14 years.
  • The refuge’s topography may be divided into three major categories:
    • Lowlands a broad area of wetlands and rivers (the “Flats”) that accounts for roughly 50% of the refuge 
    • Uplands a halo of land surrounding the lowlands, approximately 25% of the refuge 
    • Mountains the northwest and southern boundaries of the refuge, about 25% of the refuge  
  • The Yukon Flats refuge has one designated Wild and Scenic River (Beaver Creek), one river recommended for national wild river designation (lower Sheenjek River), and one area recommended for protection as a national wilderness area (White and Crazy Mountains).

View a Refuge Map

Landscape Gallery

Learn More about Management Areas 

Learn More about Habitat  


  • The Yukon Flats experience extreme annual temperatures. In July, the average maximum temperature from 1938 – 1989 was 73.2° F (22.8° C). The average minimum temperature during January, 1938-1989 was -27.8° F (-33.2° C).
  • The coldest ever recorded temperature on the refuge was–75° F (-59° C), just shy of the state record. The warmest temperature, 100° F (38° C), is the highest recorded temperature in Alaska.
  • In the summer season, daylight is continuous for 84 days. In the shortest days of winter, the sun does not rise at all.
  • From 1938 -1990, the average annual precipitation in Fort Yukon was 6.57 inches and the average annual snowfall was 41.9 inches.
  • Summer storms play an integral part in maintaining habitat for wildlife. As storms pass over the refuge, lightning strikes ignite dry tundra and other fuels. If very little or no rain accompanies the lightning, wildland fires will start - often burning more than 100,000 acres.
  • As many as 2,000 lightning strikes have been recorded in a single day, sparking the highest incidence of naturally occurring wildland fires in Alaska.

Learn More about Fire on the Yukon Flats

See What the Weather Looks Like Today!