Iditarod National Historic Trail

Quick Facts

Iditarod National Historic Trail

Alaska

(907) 267-1293

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

The Iditarod National Historic Trail is a network of 2,037 miles of trails once used by ancient Alaska Natives and early 20th- century prospectors. The vegetation varies from coastal Sitka spruce to the alpine tundra of the Chugach Mountains and Alaska Range. Wildlife is plentiful and includes moose, caribou, black bear, brown bear, lynx, beaver, otter, marten, bald eagle, and all types of waterfowl. Fish species include salmon, steelhead, Dolly Varden, trout, and arctic graying. The Iditarod received its Historic Trail designation from Congress in 1978 for its historic importance. The Trail is also the route for the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

Over 1,500 miles of the historic winter trail system are open today for public use across state and federal lands. The Bureau of Land Management, under the National Trails Act, is the designated Trail Administrator, and works to coordinate efforts by federal and state agencies on behalf of the entire Trail. BLM maintains about 150 miles of the Trail, including four public shelter cabins. The remainder is managed primarily by the State of Alaska, or crosses private Native lands on public easements.

Map of Iditarod Nat'l HistoricTrail Rec. Management Area

Latitude, Longitude: 63.877576, -160.775213

READ MORE

Activities

  • Bicycling

    Winter cycling is popular on the Iditarod.

  • Camping

    There are four public shelter cabins along the trail primarily for winter travelers. The Bureau of Land Management maintains the shelter cabins primarily for winter travelers. The Tripod Flats and Old Woman shelter cabins are found on the heavily traveled Kaltag Portage between Unalakleet and Kaltag. The Tripod Flats cabin is 35 miles from Kaltag and the Old Woman shelter cabin is 15 miles further on the trail. The Bear Creek and Rohn shelter cabins are between Nikolai and Rohn in the remote Farewell Burn. The Big Yetna shelter cabin is on the Iditarod-to-Anvik section of the trail. Use of these cabins is free, and no reservations are required. Due to the potential for extreme weather conditions, users are expected to share the cabin with others if necessary. Each cabin is equipped with bunks, a woodstove, and outhouses.

  • Hunting

    Hunting is permitted on parts of the trail.

  • Winter Sports

    Winter sports are common on the Iditarod since it is mostly a winter trail. Most federal and State lands along the Iditarod are open to snowmachine use. It is best to check with the administering agency prior to travel to see if any temporary closures have been implemented. There are a few rules about use and some may have to obtain a permit. Casual users who do not charge fees for transporting or supporting other users, or who do not organize competitive events on the trail are not required to obtain a permit. Persons who organize or benefit from commercial or competitive activities are required to obtain a Special Recreation Permit for use of federal lands.

Seasonality/Weather

The Iditarod is primarily a winter trail and summer use is limited. The first several miles of the trail north of Seward can be hiked during the summer as can the approximately 30 miles from Girdwood to Eagle River. Visitors to Nome can hike east along the trail near the Bering Sea coast for approximately 30 miles.

Park Partners

Directions

Flying

It is possible to reach the trail via Anchorage's international airport. Small towns and villages along the trail such as McGrath, Unalakleet, and Galena have regularly scheduled air transportation, but are somewhat limited in other support facilities.

Public Transportation

The cities of Anchorage, Nome, Seward, Girdwood, Eagle River, and Wasilla all provide numerous opportunities for food, lodging and transportation. North of Wasilla, however, the trail enters an essentially roadless wilderness with very limited service and support facilities.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(907) 267-1293

Links