White Mountain, Alaska is a tiny Kawerak Eskimo village 60 miles east of Nome, in northwestern Alaska. It sits on the Fish River, in the middle of the forest, at the head of a coastal delta. As with many rural Alaskan communities, White Mountain has no roads leading to it and is only accessible by plane, boat in the summer, or snowmobile in the winter. The climate is extreme, with winter lasting a full six months out of the year.
White Mountain has plenty to offer you and your fur-pup. This is a place for you to spend lots of time outdoors in good weather, full of opportunities for wilderness hiking and camping. While there are no established trail systems, there are certainly plenty of trails used by the residents to get around, and guides can be helpful in navigating them. The Fish River or nearby Niukluk River feature boating, paddling, swimming in the summer, fishing and exploring in hopes of spying some of the indigenous wildlife. The scenery is stunning, and there are lots of woods and waterways to explore.
Your fur-baby will likely be welcome most anywhere in and around the village, on leash or under good voice control. Be aware that Alaskan law does allow the shooting of any dog who is caught chasing other animals, who bites someone, or is running wild in the village. While its freedom and yours are respected, tolerance toward misbehaving pets is limited.
There is no veterinarian in White Mountain, but there are 2 in Nome, about 60 miles away, which can be reached by boat or air. The Natchirsvik Health Clinic may also be able to help stabilize a well-loved pup in a dire emergency, or try Veterinary Outreach in Anchorage.
Whatever your reason for being in White Mountain, you're sure to encounter furtastic vistas and lots of wilderness to explore! Because of Alaska's vastness and terrain, attractions are widely separated by forest and tundra, but for those willing to make the effort, they're worth it!
White Mountain is an Alaskan tribal village and subsistence living is the norm, so there are no luxury resorts or even restaurants in town. The White Mountain IRA Tribal Center maintains two bed & breakfast rooms for guests. Winter Trail runs into town from the northwest along the river and becomes Elementary School Road. It branches off twice on the other side to the southeast, heading to the river from Charles Boulevard, and then becomes Winter Trail again at the village boundary. Winter Trail is part of the route for the famous annual Iditarod dog-sled race, which runs every March for two weeks. White Mountain is a mandatory eight-hour stop on the Iditarod. The village is the last stop before its end in Nome, so it's a great place to watch the race and admire the strength and commitment of the pups pulling the sleds. Arf!
Deering is a small town on Alaska’s north coast near the Arctic Circle, and it is where you’ll find the road that is closest to the Bering Land Bridge National Preserve, a vast, remote area north of White Mountain on the upper edge of the Seward Peninsula. The preserve contains a remnant of the Bering Land Bridge, a destination for adventurers coming for the majestic terrain and hot springs that it features. Transportation in and out of the Preserve is by air, snow machine, boat or backpacking, because there are no roads or trails going directly into it. Hiking into and through the preserve is rigorous and not for the faint of heart. Its almost 3 million acres feature extinct volcanoes, massive cracks in the earth, maars that have filled with water, many stone outcroppings and rolling uplands with meadows and wildflowers in summer, snow and ice in winter. This is a fantastic, pawsome land where your healthy fur-pup could provide you with some fine company as well as warmth, and a few days here will provide you with lifetime memories!
St. Michael, southeast of White Mountain across Norton Sound, is an access point for the huge Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge, which covers 19 million acres and stretches from St. Michael south to Togiak, where it connects with the Togiak National Wildlife Refuge. With less than 5% of its land covered in forest, and a third with water, the refuge provides an ideal habitat for many species of waterfowl, as well as mammals like whales, seals, muskox, elk, bear and moose. The acreage that is covered with trees is pawtastic hiking with your fur-pup, looking for birds and smaller mammals, and the waterscape will provide many hours of pawsome paddling. Woofderful!
Togiak is a small village on Bristol Bay that is home to the Togiak National Wildlife Refuge that features hiking, camping and water travel on the plentiful rivers of its 4 million acres. Caribou, bears, moose and 45 other land mammal species call this park home, along with 17 marine mammals like whales and seals. Back-country hiking and primitive camping are off-the-beaten-track activities you and your fur-pup will enjoy, with no organized trails or campgrounds. Also, fishing both from shore and on the river is a popular pastime for visitors. Togiak itself is a native village whose residents pursue hunting, fishing and gardening for their primary livelihoods, and many provide guide services as well. Furtastic!
Bethel is a city on the Kuskokwim River, north of Togiak and inside the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge. This city is where you can find the area’s only pet-friendly hotel, the Long House Bethel Hotel. In a great location right on the river, the hotel features 39 non-smoking rooms that welcome up to 3 pups of any size per room for a small additional fee. With its rustic décor and pawrfect location downtown, it’s the place to go with your fur-baby when you’re visiting Bethel and the surrounding area, which offers snow machining, cross-country skiing, kayaking and other furtastic outdoor activities!