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Gates of the Arctic Wilderness

General Location Maps Contacts Area Management Wilderness Laws Trip Planning Images

Recreational Opportunities

Gates of the Arctic is our nation's largest wilderness area with a management focus emphasizing self-reliance, remoteness and wilderness stewardship. Recreational opportunities abound and are usually accomplished via non-motorized watercraft or backpacking. There are six Wild and Scenic Rivers encompassed by the Park and access to them provides a high quality wilderness experience. There are incredible opportunities for solitude, wilderness camping, river travel, wildlife viewing, photography, etc. For trip planning purposes you may wish to visit the Gates of the Arctic website:

Climate and Special Equipment Needs

Gates of the Arctic is in an arctic and sub-arctic ecosystem. Weather is extreme in both summer and winter. Most visitors visit the park in the summer months of June through September. Summer weather can include snow and rain, or 90 degrees and drought. Winter is dark and cold with temperatures plunging to 40 degrees below zero and colder in December and January. Most visitation during winter conditions occurs in March and April when there is 12 hours and more of daylight and daytime temperatures from 20 below to 20 above. Visitors must come prepared for a wide range of temperatures and conditions at any time of the year. Be sure that you have good gear that is warm even when wet. Bring additional food in case your air taxi is delayed for several days due to poor weather. Visitors must be skilled in the use of map and compass/GPS.

Safety and Current Conditions

Park Rangers are on staff at all three visitor centers to give you current conditions (if available) for the area that you are interested in visiting. However, the park is a remote wilderness and conditions are subject to rapid and unpredictable change. A backcountry safety orientation is availabe in person at the visitor centers, or online at, or through the mail with a on-loan DVD.

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