Staying Safe at Gates of the Arctic National Park

A vast and rugged national park situated in northern Alaska, Gates of the Arctic National Park lies entirely north of the Arctic Circle. An utterly remote destination, the park attracts visitors who are willing to explore its untouched wilderness. It’s important to take the necessary safety precautions when visiting Gates of the Arctic National Park. 


The vast Alaskan wilderness can be unforgiving, so it’s essential to be prepared. Bring plenty of layers to keep you warm in harsh temperatures. Weather conditions in the park can be extreme and there are no official lodgings, so you’ll need to make sure your camp is able to withstand whatever inclement weather you’re met with, including snow storms at any time of year.


You’re likely to experience your share of wildlife when visiting Gates of the Arctic National Park, in particular, bears. Know what to do if you encounter a bear and be sure to keep your food, trash, and scented items stored properly in a bear-proof container. Always keep a safe distance from wild animals and never feed or approach wildlife. 

Other Concerns

Gates of the Arctic is truly remote and completely untouched. It’s important for visitors to the park to recognize that they are genuinely on their own and be prepared to self-rescue in case of emergency. It’s essential to bring sufficient food, water, and supplies, including extra just in case. There is no cell phone service, no amenities, and no infrastructure in the park, meaning that travelers take a significant risk when visiting the park and must be completely self-reliant. 

If you plan to fly in and out of the park, make sure to bring a few days’ worth of extra food and supplies, as weather conditions often inhibit pilots’ ability to fly in the area. Consider renting a satellite phone for your journey. Make sure to file a plan with the park service before you go so that someone knows where you are and where you’re supposed to be. 

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Points of Interest at Gates of the Arctic National Park

Situated in northern Alaska, Gates of the Arctic National Park is defined by vast, rugged wilderness that seems to stretch on and on. The entire park is located above the Arctic Circle, so conditions can be harsh and unforgiving. Visitors to Gates of the Arctic National Park will want to explore the main points of interest. 

Arrigetch Peaks

The Arrigetch Peaks are a grouping of rugged granite peaks in the Endicott Mountains. These scenic peaks can be seen around the head of the Kobuk River and the tributaries of the Alatna River.  

Alatna National Wild and Scenic River

This gorgeous winding river is popular for float trips due to its calm nature and breathtaking landscapes. Said to be one of the most beautiful rivers in the country, the Alatna River is a can’t miss on any trip to Gates of the Arctic National Park. 

Walker Lake 

This glassy lake feeds the powerful Kobuk River. Walker Lake holds both cultural and historic relevance and has been designated as a National Natural Landmark. 

Frigid Crags 

A striking mountain in the Brooks Range in Gates of the Arctic National Park, Frigid Crags provides a dramatic frame for the area’s spectacular landscape. The mountain was so named by explorer Robert Marshall in 1929.

Places to Visit After Gates of the Arctic National Park

A truly remote wilderness, Gates of the Arctic National Park is located in northern Alaska. Only the hardiest travelers visit the park to explore this untouched area. The following destinations are relatively nearby for park visitors to continue onto after Gates of the Arctic National Park. 

Bettles, Alaska – Known as the primary gateway to Gates of the Arctic National Park, most visitors begin their journey in Bettles. Here you can explore the wilderness lodges, see the Northern Lights, and the nearby ranger station. 

Fairbanks, Alaska – A wonderful place to watch the midnight sun or catch the Northern Lights, Fairbanks offers the perfect mix of remote wilderness and a charming town. Explore the Alaskan Native culture, local arts community, and host of authentic Alaskan activities.

Kobuk Valley National Park – Similar to Gates of the Arctic National Park, Kobuk Valley National Park is located in the arctic region of Alaska. Here you can explore the Great Kobuk Sand Dunes, hike, fish on the Salmon River, and more.

Denali National Park and Preserve – Home to Denali, North America’s tallest peak, Denali National Park and Preserve covers 6 million acres in southern Alaska. Brimming with glaciers, mountains, and forests, Denali is a popular national park to explore in the region.

Points of Interest at Katmai National Park

Situated in southern Alaska, Katmai National Park comprises a vast, rugged wilderness. This remote location is full of lakes, forests, and mountains. If it’s your first time visiting the park, you’ll want to make sure to hit the main points of interest. 

Brooks Falls

These gorgeous waterfalls are the main point of interest in Katmai National Park. The falls are the primary destination for hundreds of the park’s brown bears to go fishing when they come out of hibernation and the salmon begin to swim upstream to Brooks Lake. 

Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes 

When the Novarupta volcano erupted in 1912, the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes was left in its wake. Characterized by deep gorges, lava flows, and volcanic ash, this valley can’t be missed on any visit to Katmai National Park. Natural steam and gas vents provide the “smoke” that can be seen rising up from this valley.

Places to Visit After Katmai National Park

A vast and remote national park situated in southwestern Alaska, Katmai National Park is defined by a beautiful and unforgiving terrain. Visitors to the park will enjoy hiking and exploring the rugged Alaskan wilderness. Once you’ve had your fill of Katmai National Park, continue on to the following destinations. 

Kodiak Island – Located just across the way from Katmai National Park, Kodiak Island is the second largest island in America. The island is a wonderful place to immerse yourself in nature and explore the wildlife that exists there. 

Anchorage, Alaska – The largest city in Alaska, Anchorage is renowned for its fascinating cultural sites which delve into the history and culture of the state’s indigenous groups. Take in the spectacular scenery as you explore this charming city. 

Denali National Park and Preserve – Covering a whopping 6 million acres on Alaska’s mainland, Denali National Park and Preserve is home to Denali, the tallest peak on the continent. Rife with forests, glaciers, and wildlife, Denali makes for an excellent stop before or after your visit to Katmai. 

King Salmon, Alaska – The closest developed town to Katmai National Park, King Salmon is considered to be the gateway to the park, though it can only be accessed by boat or plane. A former WWII military base, King Salmon has a fascinating history worth exploring before your visit to Katmai National Park.