Second only to Wrangell-St. Elias National Park in size, Gates of the Arctic covers 13,238 square miles, sprawls 800 miles from east to west and is entirely north of the Arctic Circle. Most of the park is a maze of glaciated valleys and gaunt, rugged mountains covered with boreal forest or treeless slopes of Arctic tundra north of the divide. It is a habitat for grizzly bears, wolves, Dall sheep, moose, caribou and wolverines. With the exception of the Dalton Highway (the Haul Road), the park is far from any roads and is home to only one village, Anaktuvuk Pass. Eight more Native villages dot the perimeter but all have less than 400 permanent residents. In the simplest terms, Gates of the Arctic is a vast wilderness the size of Switzerland that contains no National Park Service facilities, visitor centers or campgrounds. The only trails are those made by the Western Arctic caribou herd, the largest in Alaska at 490,000.
© Tom Gilmore Photography