Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge

Quick Facts

Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge


(907) 543-3151

Map Directions

Things To Do



The present day Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge, incorporating the previously established Clarence Rhode, Nunivak and Hazen Bay Refuges, was consolidated in 1980 under the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act. Here, the waters of the Yukon and Kuskokwim rivers flow through a vast "treeless plain," or tundra. Almost 70% of the refuge is below 100 feet in elevation, and consists of a broad, flat delta stitched through with rivers and streams and dotted with countless lakes, sloughs and ponds. Bordering the expanse of tundra and wetlands are 2.5 million-acres of forest and shrub habitat, and uplands sporting mountains more than 4000 feet high. The refuge also includes two large islands - Nelson and Nunivak. The Yukon Delta is the most important shorebird nesting area in the United States. Birds from six major flyways, from the Atlantic Ocean to the east coast of Asia, nest on the refuge or stop to rest and feed on their way to more distant nesting grounds. The Yukon and Kuskokwim rivers, and their many tributaries that weave their way through the refuge, provide hundreds of miles of spawning and rearing habitat for fish. The drier upland habitats boast populations of both brown and black bears, caribou, moose and wolves. Offshore, Nunivak Island supports a herd of muskoxen introduced in 1935 to successfully re-establish the species in Alaska. Muskox can also be found on Nelson Island and occasionally on other parts of the refuge. Along the coast of the refuge, the waters of the Bering Sea host a variety of marine mammals, including harbor, ribbon and bearded seals and walrus. Several species of whales pass along the refuge's coast during migration.

Map of Yukon Delta NWR

Latitude, Longitude: 61.382252, -163.706589



  • Boating

    Boating opportunities are available.

  • Fishing

    A total of 44 species use the refuge's fresh and marine waters; including all five North American Pacific salmon, Dolly Varden char, northern pike, sheefish, arctic grayling, several species of whitefish, burbot and rainbow trout. Subsistence fishing far exceeds sport fishing use throughout the refuge, although all of Yukon Delta's waters are open to fishing consistent with state and federal regulations. A State of Alaska fishing license is required to fish on the refuge. Several rivers provide angling opportunities for all five North American species of Pacific salmon, rainbow trout, grayling and other species. Aircraft, power-boats and river rafts are the most common vehicles for accessing the refuge to fish.

  • Hunting

    All refuge lands are open to all hunting consistent with state and federal regulations. A State of Alaska hunting license is required for all hunting activities on the refuge. Opportunities for big game hunting are limited because of low populations, reflective of the available habitat on the refuge for these species. Several big game guides do provide opportunities for bear, caribou, and muskox hunting. Waterfowl hunting is allowed with appropriate State and Federal Duck Stamps along with a State of Alaska hunting license.


Open year-round, Monday - Saturday.



You cannot drive to the refuge since no roads lead into Bethel, the location of the refuge headquarters.


Various airlines provide regular commercial flights to and from Bethel. Upon arriving in the airport in Bethel, drive 2 miles along the only paved road in town, the Chief Eddie Hoffman State Highway, to the refuge office and visitor center. The office is located across from the hospital (a structure known locally as the "yellow submarine"). From Bethel, most non-local visitors travel into the refuge by small aircraft.

Phone Numbers


(907) 543-3151