Administrative buildings in Anaktuvuk Pass, Coldfoot, Bettles and Fairbanks are accessible.
Gates of the Arctic is a remote wilderness, and travelers should be fully competent in outdoor survival skills and flexible enough to deal with common weather delays.
Visitors are reminded there are no facilities within Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve and they should be fully self-sufficient and flexible at all times.
There are no roads or established trails within the Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve.
Hikers should practice Leave No Trace techniques, be aware of backcountry safety guidelines, and remain aware of the fragile ecosystems and private lands within the park.
Basic Visit Recommendations
Gates of the Arctic is one of several conservation units located in the Brooks Range. Many of these units were established for wilderness recreation activities such as: backpacking, river running, mountaineering, dog mushing, and others. The remote location and extreme climate of the Brooks Range requires travelers to have strong wilderness skills and flexibility to adjust plans. The Dalton Highway offers a road accessible Brooks Range experience for those not prepared for a rugged wilderness journey.
Visitors are strongly encouraged to practice minimum impact/ leave no trace camping guidelines at all times. Fires should be used only when regulations permit and if possible, kept on river bars below the high water line.
Visitors are reminded there are no facilities within the preserve and they should be self-sufficient at all times.
The Brooks Range is home to both black bears and grizzly bears. Black bears primarily inhabit the forested areas of the park, grizzly bears live mainly on the open tundra, but may be encountered in all areas of the park.
See the Bear Guide Page for more information.
The entire Noatak River drainage, of which the headwaters are in Gates of the arctic is internationally recognized as a biosphere reserve in the United Nation's "Man in the Biosphere" program.
A total of 133 species of birds have been observed in the park and preserve over the past 25-30 years. Nearly half of those recorded are normally associated with aquatic habitats.
Raptors inhabiting the park include species of eagles, hawks, falcons, and owls, three jaegers, and the northern shrike. Because of their place high in the food chain, raptors are more susceptible to environmental disturbance and population fluctuations. Arctic peregrine falcons, a threatened species only recently removed from the endangered list, nest in the area.
See the Bird Guide Page for more information.
There are no campgrounds in the park although there is a campground managed by BLM at Dalton Highway Milepost 180 (5 miles north of Coldfoot). The campground is open from June through mid-September. It is the responsibility of the visitor to obtain all of the necessary information and avoid private property.
See the Camping Page for more information.
No admission or user fees for non-commercial users.
Fishing is permitted in both Park and Preserve with a valid Alaska State Fishing License. Applicable sportfishing regulations can be found in the Alaska state fishing booklets where licenses are sold.
The Park encourages catch and release fishing as a means of preserving the diversity and numbers of species. Short growing seasons and long winters mean slow growth for many of the fish found in the Brooks Range. Fisherman are encouraged to use barbless hooks and be familiar with proper releasing techniques. For a pamhlet on these techniques please contact the Visitor Use Assistant at the Bettles Ranger Station. Be sure to indicate which type of fish you are seeking.
See the Fishing Guide Page for more information.
Food and Supplies
Supplies are generally not available within the Park. Visitors must plan to be self-sufficient.
There are no roads or established trails within the Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve. Hikers should practice Leave No Trace techniques, be aware of backcountry safety guidelines and remain aware of the fragile ecosystems and private land.
For more information, see the Hiking Page.
A valid state license is required to hunt, fish, or trap on any Gates of the Arctic lands. All such activity must be done in accordance with state and federal laws.
See the Hunting Guide for more information.
There is no commercial lodging in the park.
Local facilities are available at:
For more information, see the Lodging Page.
The park has a required backcountry orientation program for all recreational travelers. The backcountry orientation will be offered at the: Bettles Ranger Station, Coldfoot Visitor Center, and Anaktuvuk Pass Ranger Station. Backcountry users not passing through one of these locations should call the Bettles Ranger Station.
The Coldfoot Visitor Center offers evening programs during the summer. While in Coldfoot check out the ruins and cemetery of "Old Coldfoot" or visit the historic village of Wiseman just 13 miles up the road.
For more information, see the Calendar Page.
Hours: 8:00 am - 4:30 pm - Monday - Friday
Bettles Ranger Station
Hours: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm - Daily - from mid-May to mid-Sep
8:00 am - 5:00 pm - Mon - Fri - mid-Sep to mid-May
Coldfoot Visitor Center
10:00 am - 10:00 pm - Daily - Jun / Aug
The Anaktuvuk Pass Ranger Station, Bettles Ranger Station, and Coldfoot Visitor Center have backcountry orientation displays. Bettles Ranger Station has an interactive CD-ROM program on site. The Coldfoot Visitor Center has scheduled evening programs during the summer.
For more information, see the Calendar Page.
The central Brooks Range has long severe winters and relatively short cool summers. The entire region receives continuous sunlight during the summer for at least 30 days.
The south side of the Brooks Range below 2,500 feet is generally a subarctic climate zone. Precipitation is low, averaging 12 to 18 inches in the west and 8 to 12 inches in the east. Snow falls 8 or 9 months of the year, averaging 60 to 80 inches. The average maximum and minimum July temperatures are 70� F and 46� F, respectively. Average maximum and minimum January temperatures are -10� F and -30� F. Thunderstorm activity is common during June and July, and generally June through September is the wettest time of Year. Prevailing winds are out of the north.
The north side of the Brooks Range has an arctic climate. Mean annual temperatures are colder than on the south side. Maximum and minimum February temperatures range from 33� F to -47� F. The warmest month, July, has 60� F maximum and 40� F minimum. Precipitation is extremely light, about 5 to 10 inches a year, making this essentially an "arctic desert." Snow has been recorded in every month of the year, and the annual average is 45 inches. Prevailing winds from the east in summer and west in winter are greatly modified by local terrain.
See the Weather Page for current weather and other weather data.
While comprehensive data have not been collected in this region, the air quality of the park and preserve and surrounding area is generally considered excellent. Smoke from forest and tundra fires can degrade air quality from June to August.
Wild River Information
At the Arctic Divide the rank reverse as the tundra stretches to the Arctic Ocean. Six national wild rivers - that Alatna, John, Kobuk, Noatak, North Fork Koyukuk, and the Tinayguk - are among the numberless waterways transecting the park.
See the Wild Rivers Guide for more information.
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