Basic Information

Airport Road
Bettles, AK 99726

Gates of the Arctic is a wilderness park, with no roads or trails into the park lands, so visitors must fly or hike into the park. Access begins in Fairbanks, Alaska & there are several small airlines that provide daily flights into the communities of Bettles and Anaktuvuk Pass, and Coldfoot. Most visitors access the park by air taxi or hike in from the Dalton Highway or from the village of Anaktuvuk Pass. River crossings are necessary from both locations.

Park & Preserve are always open

No closed times or seasons for Gates of the Arctic National Park & Preserve

Standard Hours

  • Sunday: Open 24 hours
  • Monday: Open 24 hours
  • Tuesday: Open 24 hours
  • Wednesday: Open 24 hours
  • Thursday: Open 24 hours
  • Friday: Open 24 hours
  • Saturday: Open 24 hours

The climate of Gates pf the Arctic National Park & Preserve is generally classified as arctic and sub-arctic, with exceptionally cold winters, relatively mild summers, low annual precipitation, and generally high winds. The weather is influenced by many different systems, and can change rapidly.

Entrance Fees:

Entrance Fee - $0.00

There is no entrance fee for Gates of the Arctic.

Bettles Ranger Station and Visitor Center

The Bettles Ranger Station is situated outside of the boundaries of Gates of the Arctic National Park & Preserve, in Bettles, Alaska. This small ranger station and visitor center has exhibits, free movies, backcountry ranger programs and trip-planning opportunities.

Anaktuvuk Pass Ranger Station

Ranger contact station. Outside display is open year-round; call for summer ranger station hours.

Arctic Interagency Visitor Center

Multi-agency visitor center located on the Dalton Highway in Coldfoot, Alaska

Fairbanks Alaska Public Lands Information Center

Explore world-class exhibits, watch a free informative movie, and receive assistance on your trip planning needs while at the Alaska Public Lands Information Center, located inside of the Morris Thompson Cultural & Visitors Center in Fairbanks, Alaska.

 
 
camp over looking a river valley

Stephen Lias - 2012 Artist in Residence

 

Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve was created to preserve and protect 8.4 million acres of the diverse arctic ecosystems of Alaska's central Brooks Range. It is acknowledged as the premier Wilderness park in the national park system and serves as the headwaters for six Wild Rivers.

It protects a functioning arctic, mountain ecosystem in its entirety and provides habitat of world importance for naturally occurring plant and animal populations.In consultation with local rural residents Gates of the Arctic protects habitats and resources to provide subsistence opportunities on lands that have supported traditional cultures and local residents.

While the park provides visitors with opportunities for solitude and challenging wilderness adventures within a remote and vast arctic landscape, it also preserves and supports a 12,000-year record of human cultural adaptations to high latitude mountain environments and an unbroken tradition of living on the land. While it may seem untouched, you are not the first one to travel here.

That said, traveling in a remote wilderness park requires visitors to be self sufficient and flexible.
You're on your own. This is the number one message preserve visitors must know and apply to their visit to Gates of the Arctic. There is no cell phone service and there are no amenities or services in the preserve. When you depart Fairbanks, Bettles, or Coldfoot, you may not see another person until your return to civilization or your pilot comes to pick you up. Visitors must be self-reliant and able to execute self-extraction and communication, should an emergency situation arise.
Learn more about planning a trip to Gates of the Arctic.

 
Planning

Read our Backcountry Trip Planning Guide in preparation for your trip and download a free outdoor gear checklist (1.57mb PDF). As the majority of our visitors travel by river, whether it be floating whitewater or canoeing a gentle river, we have developed a River Trip Planning Guide for Alaska, to help you be better prepared for your adventure. If your trip involves hiking or crossing waterways, from small creeks to major rivers, read our Backcountry River Crossing (621kb) PDF to learn safe techniques to get you to the other side and back again.

Leave a detailed trip plan with friends & family and describe to them what you are doing, where you are going, and what to do if you do not return by a certain date. Make sure they understand the inherent unpredictability of remote Alaskan transportation in regards to weather.

Download a free detailed backcountry trip plan (59kb PDF) and leave one at home, bring one with you, and leave another with your pilot, if you are flying.


Access

If you are relying on air travel for your visit, be aware that air taxis are often times unable to fly in inclement weather. Bring a few extra days of food and allow for 'weather days' in your trip plan to accommodate poor weather. Learn more about transportation to public lands (300kb PDF) in Alaska and chartering aircraft (450kb PDF).

Many visitors to Gates of the Arctic travel by boat during the fall hunting season. Read our Hunting Resources (830kb PDF) and Boating Safety PDFs to learn more about planning a successful and enjoyable trip to the preserve.

Communication

Unlike many other satellite communication tools which operate on satellites that do not provide reliable service as far north as Gates of the Arctic, satellite phones are an excellent method of two-way communication in Alaska's backcountry, as they function on satellites that orbit the earth north to south and vice versa, providing excellent coverage in Alaska's wilderness areas. Consider renting a satellite phone in Fairbanks before your trip to the preserve.

Land Ethics

Follow the wilderness ethic of others and leave this wild land as you found it, or better, for future generations. Learn how to do this by reading about Leave No Trace in Alaska's Backcountry (570kb PDF). Visitors in the park must practice minimum impact camping techniques by adhering to Leave No Trace principles, follow backcountry safety guidelines, and be aware of the fragile ecosystems and private lands (460kb PDF) within the park.


Bear Safety

Watch a short video on staying safe in bear country to learn safe and responsible practices for recreating on Alaska's wild lands. Learn more about bear safety through the Alaska Public Lands Information Centers' bear safety page.

Bear-resistant food containers are required for your overnight visit to Gates of the Arctic and are provided free of charge at the Bettles Visitor Center. No reservations can be taken as they are provided first come, first serve. Gates of the Arctic provides both steel drum BRFCs with locking lids for river travel and backpacker BRFCs.

If you are hiking, packrafting, or kayaking in Gates of the Arctic, you can also visit the Alaska Public Lands Information Center in Fairbanks to rent a backpacker BRFC. Be aware these backpacker barrels are rented for hiking, packrafting, and kayaking only, where the large steel BRFCs are impossible to use.

For more links on safety and planning your trip to Gates of the Arctic, visit the Fairbanks Alaska Centers website.

 
 

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 30
Bettles, AK 99726

Phone:

(907) 692-5494
This is a summer seasonal phone that will be answered from June 1 - September 30, seven days a week. From October 1 to May 31, please contact the Alaska Public Lands Information Center in Fairbanks, Alaska at (907) 459-3730.

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