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Overview

Alaska's largest Native settlement, the town of Kotzebue is home to 3,000 people, many of whom are Inupiat Eskimos. The town sits near the mouth of the Noatak, Kobuk, and Selawik Rivers, with shallow Kotzebue Sound just to the west. Many residents work at massive Red Dog Mine, 100 miles north of here. It's the biggest zinc mine in the world, on land owned by NANA, the regional Native corporation. The country around Kotzebue has few trees (it's 30 miles north of the Arctic Circle), and wet tundra and a multitude of lakes make summertime travel difficult. A dirt road extends a few miles east to a lake that serves as Kotzebue's water supply, ...

Alaska's largest Native settlement, the town of Kotzebue is home to 3,000 people, many of whom are Inupiat Eskimos. The town sits near the mouth of the Noatak, Kobuk, and Selawik Rivers, with shallow Kotzebue Sound just to the west. Many residents work at massive Red Dog Mine, 100 miles north of here. It's the biggest zinc mine in the world, on land owned by NANA, the regional Native corporation. The country around Kotzebue has few trees (it's 30 miles north of the Arctic Circle), and wet tundra and a multitude of lakes make summertime travel difficult. A dirt road extends a few miles east to a lake that serves as Kotzebue's water supply, but access beyond this is by air or boat. Alaska Air provides daily flights from Anchorage to Kotzebue. Newly opened in 2010, the National Park Service's excellent Northwest Arctic Heritage Center is a focal point, with exhibits and information on Native cultural traditions and the region's natural history. Also of interest are the cemeteries in Kotzebue, with colorfully decorated gravesites. Kotzebue's lodging and food options are limited and expensive. Visitors head out from Kotzebue to immense Arctic wilderness areas, including Cape Krusenstern National Monument, Noatak National Preserve, Kobuk Valley National Park, and Bering Land Bridge National Preserve.

Don Pitcher
About the Expert

Don Pitcher has written or photographed 10 travel guidebooks to Alaska, Wyoming, Yellowstone-Grand Teton, and the San Juan Islands for Avalon Travel Publishing, Random House, and Sasquatch Books.

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Situated on a 3-mile long spit in the northwest corner of Alaska at the tip of the Baldwin Peninsula, situated over 500 miles northwest of Anchorage.
  • Research: Wikipedia | Arctic Alaska
  • Weather: Rainfall | Daylight
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    July and August