A Refuge Journey

Most web visitors may never physically visit the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge because of its remoteness and the expense of getting there. It's a magnificent area with outstanding scenery, wildlife, and wilderness. Join us on a brief journey to explore this special place.


The far northern portion of the Refuge is a low, tundra covered coastal plain. We're now looking south toward the Brooks Range mountains.
Refuge coastal plain and mountains


Each summer, caribou of the 160,000 member Porcupine Caribou herd feed with their calves on the Refuge coastal plain.
caribou cows and their calves


The Refuge is sculpted in snow and ice for up to nine months each year.
winter snow


Tundra plants and permafrost features are found throughout the Refuge coastal plain.
short tundra plants


Biologists work throughout the year to study wildlife and plants within the Refuge. Here they are taking biological samples from a muskox bull they have darted.
biologists working on muskox


Numerous wild flowers help paint the landscape during the long summer days.
wildflowers along a river


Snowy owl numbers in the Refuge fluctuate with the size of the lemming population.
Snowy owl in flight


Visitors are captivated by the immensity of the Refuge and the awesome beauty of its features.
tents dwarfed by mountains


The rugged and remote Brooks Range mountains extend for hundreds of miles across the middle of the Refuge.
Brooks Range mountains


Most visitors come to the Refuge in the summer, many to float its rivers.
river rafts


With no established trails in the Refuge, hikers must find their own way.
hiker crossing river


Dall sheep rams keep a lookout for predators.
Dall sheep rams lying on hillside


Spruce trees are found throughout the southern part of the Refuge.

spruce forest