• Image of mountains and river

    Gates Of The Arctic

    National Park & Preserve Alaska

Selecting a Wilderness Campsite

Relaxing at a gravel bar camp in the midnight sun.

Relaxing at a gravel bar campsite

NPS Photo

Arctic tundra is surprisingly fragile and slow to recover. It is best to camp on durable surfaces. Gravel bars make excellent campsites since they often have fewer mosquitoes than other sites, and high water will erase signs of your presence. Remember that water levels can rise at any time, so locate your camp well above current water levels. If you must choose a vegetated site, select a location with hardier vegetation such as grasses and sedges, rather than more fragile lichens and mosses. You can also help preserve the ecosystem by moving camp every 2-3 days or before signs of your presence become noticeable. Wearing soft-soled shoes around camp gives your feet and the vegetation a break.

Did You Know?

A July snow dusting tents in the Itkillik valley.

It can get below freezing and snow in Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve any month, even in July.