Gateway communities near Arctic Refuge

Gateway communities could be seasonal settlements, villages, towns, or even big cities—but they each have a special role in serving visitors to attractions such as America’s public lands.  Keep in mind that, in gateway communities near Arctic Refuge, residents of these areas may be reluctant participants in hosting you.  Visitors can place pressures upon scant resources in remote locations. Managing those pressures, often unseen by those passing through, can be unrewarding. Though many area residents may be eager for the economic opportunities that can be enjoyed by visitor service providers; others may see your needs as interfering with a way of life they want to maintain. Please arrive at areas that visitors use as access portals prepared for your time in the community, as well as for your remote adventure.  Plan to leave the community with all of your garbage and unused or excess equipment.

Fairbanks is the largest gateway community serving Arctic Refuge visitors, and is home to administrative offices for the three Alaska Refuges north of Fairbanks: Arctic, Kanuti, and Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuges. Offices, housed within the US Courthouse and Federal Building at 101 12th Avenue, have limited public displays. However, we welcome you to stop by our offices during public access hours (8am to 5pm). Our visitor information infrastructure is housed at the Alaska Public Lands Information Center within the Morris Thompson Culture and Visitors Center.

While you’re passing through en route to the point where you will begin your remote Refuge trip, consider connecting with natural and cultural resources in the Fairbanks area:

The following gateway communities serve as the most common rural access points into Arctic Refuge, and are listed by geographic orientation in a clockwise fashion, starting with the northernmost community:

Kaktovik, northernmost community within Refuge boundary on the Beaufort Sea Coast. Visitor information pamphlet (2.1 mb PDF) with map and services list.

Fort Yukon and surrounding villages within Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge along the Yukon River.

Arctic Village, southernmost community within Refuge boundary on the East Fortk of the Chandalar River. Arctic Village hosts a Visitor Contact Station in partnership with Arctic Refuge.

Dalton Highway-accessible gateway communities and services.

  • Coldfoot, 259 road miles north of Fairbanks on the Dalton Highway, in the southern foothills of the Brooks Range mountains.
  • Galbraith Lake, 359 road miles north of Fairbanks near Atigun Gorge and the western boundary of Arctic Refuge.
  • Happy Valley, an airstrip development at Milepost 335 on the Dalton Highway near the Sagavanirktok River.
  • Deadhorse, just under 500 road miles north of Fairbanks, near the Arctic Ocean coast. Note that there is no public access to the oilfield or the ocean.