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Far North
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Far North


The Brooks Range

James Dalton Highway (AK11)—Livengood to Prudhoe Bay

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve

Anaktuvuk Pass

Noatak National Preserve

The North Slope

Kaktovik (Barter island)

Deadhorse (Prudhoe Bay)



Location: 10 miles south of Point Barrow, Chukchi Sea coastline, 180 miles west-northwest of Prudhoe Bay. Arctic, 5"/yr. precip., 20"/yr. snowfall, -56°F–78°F.

Population: 4,234 (65 percent Inupiaq Eskimo).

Travel Attractions: Northernmost community on continent, midnight sun, air access to North Slope.

Getting There: Regular air service from Anchorage, Nome, and Fairbanks; small aircraft from elsewhere; coastal boat; winter overland access possible.

Information: City of Barrow, P.O. Box 629, Barrow, AK 99723, 852-5211, www.linkupalaska.com/rolodex/local/barrow.

This traditional Inupiaq Eskimo village is the center of government and economy for the Arctic Slope Native Corporation and North Slope Borough. The modern settlement was named for Sir John Barrow, second secretary of the British Admiralty. Ukpeagvik is the native name for the town, which roughly means "a high place for viewing"—so named because Cape Smythe achieves the lofty local elevation of about 30 feet. Oil support services, government, subsistence, and tourism occupy most workers. Barrow is where Will Rogers and Wiley Post died in a plane crash in 1935.

Barrow is a tourist destination of choice because it represents the northern tip of the United States and the northernmost community on the continent. Some travelers erroneously believe that they must go to Barrow to experience north country phenomena like the midnight sun, which occurs at least one day a year anywhere north of the Arctic Circle; and the aurora borealis, which is easily viewed in Fairbanks and can even be seen in the continental United States. Still, there is something special about standing at the tip of Point Barrow at midnight on summer solstice.

At 71 degrees north latitude, Barrow enjoys 84 continuous days of sunlight in the summer and suffers 67 continuous days of darkness in the winter. The reason those numbers aren’t the same relates to the thickness of the sun. If one looks at when the midline of the sun is on the horizon at its lowest or highest point, the numbers would be an equal 75.

Other than a trip to the point and the natural wonders of being in the Arctic, there are no specific attractions here—though guided tours include native demonstrations. See the appendix for tour options.

Where to Stay and Eat

Top of the World Hotel, (800) 882-8478, (800) 478-8520 (AK only), 852-3900. Modern, full-service hotel and restaurant. Tourist-rate rooms $160–$180.