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Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, Alaska

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Built in the 1970s, the Dalton Highway runs almost three hundred miles north of the Arctic Circle through increasingly barren territory. Most people are happy to return south at this point, but the highway continues to climb through the largely unexplored Brooks Range, a 9,000 ft chain mostly held within the Gates of the Arctic National Park.

Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve is a vast region of national parks, monuments, and preserves located north of the Arctic Circle. From the crest at Atigun Pass you descend through two hundred miles of grand glaciated valleys and blasted arctic plains to the end of the road at a place called Deadhorse. You can't camp or stroll here, so your choices are either staying in a hotel or taking a $25 tour of the adjacent Prudhoe Bay oil facility, worth it just for the sight of the Arctic Ocean after the long drive.

Many rivers and glaciers have sculpted large valleys in this arctic wilderness. In other valleys the rivers have carved steep V-shaped canyons. The rugged mountains are covered with forest and arctic tundra. Moose, caribou, Dahl sheep, wolves, and grizzly bears are frequently seen here.

The park is a great refuge for the tourist who is looking for solitude, wilderness travel, and adventure. However, because Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve is a wilderness designated region, there are no National Park Service campgrounds, established trails or other visitor facilities within the Park boundaries.


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