Nome, Arctic Alaska

Located on the southern side of the Seward Peninsula along the Bering Sea coast in Arctic Alaska, Nome is an interesting destination that combines Alaska’s gold rush history with rich Inupiat culture, great fishing, and plentiful wildlife. The city is best known today as the ending point for the 1,049 mile long Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, which begins on the first Saturday in March in Anchorage. The first dog teams typically start arriving in Nome around 8 days after the start of the race. 

Though the Seward Peninsula and the area surrounding Nome has been home to Inupiat people for centuries, the town itself was only established in 1901, three years after gold was discovered at Anvil Creek in 1898. The gold rush that followed brought nearly 20,000 people to Nome through the early 1900s, but by 1910 the gold rush dwindled, and the population fell to around 2,500. In January 1925, an outbreak of diphtheria threatened to wipeout the town. A heroic relay team of dog sleds transported life-saving diphtheria antitoxin serum across the 674 mile trail from Nenana to Nome braving gale force winds, -85 degree temperatures, and whiteout conditions across the remote Alaskan Interior. The life-saving serum was delivered to Nome in a record-breaking 127.5 hours, without a single broken vial. This event is now known as the 1925 Serum Run.

Given its remote location, Nome is only accessible by sea or air. However, from Nome there are over 350 miles of roads that connect to other communities on the Seward Peninsula. There are reminders of the gold rush everywhere, including abandoned dredges, turn-of-the-century steam engines, old mining claims, and old railroad tracks and decaying trestles, as well as abundant wildflowers and tundra plants, herds of musk ox and reindeer, and other wildlife like bears, moose, foxes and wolves. In the summer, there are several guided tours and activities in the region including history and cultural tours, hiking, birding, photography, wildlife viewing, flightseeing and ATV tours. In winter, visitors can visit sled dog kennels and go for a ride, go cross country skiing, and view the northern lights. The Pilgrim Hot Springs, which features several natural hot springs soaking pools, cabins, campsites, and historic buildings, is also a popular destination throughout the year. 

 

 


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