March 05 2015
Written By
Paul Jaworski
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The Great 59 - Part 18: Gates of the Arctic National Park

The Great 59 is a series on America’s National Park Service.

Gates of the Arctic National Park

State: Alaska

Created: December 2nd, 1980

Size: 7,523,897

If you're looking for solitude, this National Park is where to find it. The Gates of the Arctic is the northernmost park in the entire national park system, there are no established roads or trails in the park, and it's bigger than the entire country of Switzerland. This park is only recommended for true outdoor adventurers. 

Gates of the Arctic is one of the few places on earth that has been left relatively untouched by the hands of man. Visitors here can truly reap the rewards of self-reliance. If you visit, you'll need to bring everything you need for your stay. If you run out of supplies, you won't be able to restock anywhere in the park. 

What To Do:

Fly in– Getting to the park is an adventure all of its own. Most people fly in on a bush plane and are dropped off. How many national parks can you say that about?

Hike – With 7.5 million acres at your feet, you can do a helluva lot of hiking here. 

Camp – There are no reservations to be made or permits to pay for here. You just bring your tent and camp wherever you deem safest. There are definitely Grizzly Bears and other animals that live here, so you must be hyper-aware of your surroundings at all times. 

Things Of Interest:

Rivers - "Rivers have been byways for wildlife and humans for centuries. They are the veins and arteries through the heart of the Gates of the Arctic wilderness" - NPS. There are six beautifully serene rivers in the park that you can experience.

Mountains – The entire region is mountainous and you'll have plenty of opportunities to photograph and hike the mountainsides if you should visit. 

Animals – This park is the epitome of wilderness. You'll be able to see wolves, foxes, bears, birds, and so much more here. 

Due to the parks geographical location it receives 30 days of continuous sunlight in the summer. In the winter, you have long stretches of near darkness and freezing temperatures. Make sure to plan your trip around these natural occurrences. 

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