The call of the wild rings out in Alaska, where caribou outnumber people and brown bears hunt salmon like eager fishermen. Once considered a frozen wasteland, this is America’s last frontier.
The Gates of the Arctic in Bettles (200 miles northwest of Fairbanks), Alaska provides the opportunity of a lifetime for the ultimate extreme wilderness experience. Recreation activities such as: backpacking, hunting, river running, mountaineering, dog mushing, and nature watching are all on the cards, though you will have to bring along your own equipment, you can conveniently rent gear in any of the surrounding cities. The park spans over approx 8,500,000 acres and no other national parks are found beyond this northern point. This is the truest definition of the wild and great outdoors.
When I say extreme, I really do mean it, this is not for the fainthearted or inexperienced wannabe outdoor adventurer. Once you depart from the city you’re unlikely to encounter another human being for the duration of your trek.
This is pristine untouched wilderness as you have never experienced. Visitors must fly or hike in to the preserve as there are there are no roads or trails in to the park. There are local air carriers that depart from Fairbanks and you will find a number of experienced local guides that are willing to lend their expertise on your trip (at a cost of course).
Mother nature can be terribly unforgiving and without local knowledge you are putting your life at risk. Moose, bear and wolf attacks on humans are very real dangers here, though fatalities are rare, you may encounter these animals and if so it’s imperative that you keep your distance at all times and take the necessary safety precautions. We strongly advise taking up the services of a local experienced guide who knows the terrain and the dangers it can pose.
You are on your own once you enter the park and this means that you are at the mercy of Mother Nature. There is no cell phone service and you are responsible for making your own extraction arrangements. This is not a trip to be taken lightly and it requires meticulous advanced planning and preparation. I cannot stress this enough. With all that said, if you do plan a trip to the preserve you are in for a once in a lifetime unforgettable outdoors experience that you will cherish for the rest of your life.
Needless to say you won’t find anybody manning a booth or shack waiting to punch your ticket at the entrance to the park as this is about as remote as it gets travelling in the US. Access to the park is free of charge and the park is managed by the National Park Services but there are no support services located in the park.
Accessible year round but we strongly advise hiking or travelling during daylight in Spring and Summer.