Few places in America remain as pure, as inviting and as untouched by modern society as Alaska. There’s something so invigorating about saying you’re going on a trip to Alaska. Friends are envious, and they wish you’d bring them along. When you trek to Alaska, you trek into the wild, the remote, the awe-inspiring. Alaska is the home of bears and salmon, of enormous glaciers and crystal lakes, of adventure and exploration.
In the northern quadrant of this frigid corner of the world, smack in the heart of the Frontier State, there is Gates of the Arctic National Park, where diverse landscape abounds, and where you can find remnants of the Ice Age still frozen in place and tundra that stretches as far as the eye can see.
Stepping into the frontier
This massive national park covers roughly 8 million acres of north-central Alaska, and sprawls across several unique ecosystems and biospheres. The northernmost national park in the U.S., Gates of the Arctic is nearly the size of Switzerland and is a product of millennia of freezing over and melting, freezing over and melting, etc. and so forth. Volatile conditions for eons have led to the creation of breathtaking views and copious activities, from hikes to the Arrigetch Peaks in the Brooks Mountain Range to kayaking and rafting on the Kobuk River.
When you arrive at Gates of the Arctic National Park, you’ll find that there’s little in the way of predictability. Even in the summer, swirling weather patterns can lead to either sweltering heat or prolonged snowstorms. So when they say Gates of the Arctic is perhaps the wildest of all national parks in the United States, they mean it. You’re in for a true naturalistic journey when you venture out into the last frontier.
Getting to Gates of the Arctic
Making your way to Gates of the Arctic National Park is no easy task, at least in relation to parks in the continental U.S. Visitors of Gates of the Arctic can arrive only on foot or by bush plane — no motorized vehicles are allowed, so be sure to set your travel arrangements accordingly!