Nome-Council Road
Wildlife Viewing

Seal poking its head out of the water
Spotted seal. Photo by T. Kohler

This 72-mile gravel road takes you through every habitat type found along the Seward Peninsula road system from coastal beaches and wetlands, through tundra meadows and high dwarf tundra, to a river valley at the western edge of the boreal forest. It also offers glimpses of the region’s early 1900s gold rush, from the “Last Train to Nowhere” to the gold rush era town of Council on the Niukluk River. The wooden tripods that you see along this stretch and down the coast mark the route of the Iditarod Trail and other winter trails.

Some Tips for the Road

  • River crossing: The seasonal community of Council is on the opposite bank of the river and may be reached only by boat or high-clearance 4-wheel drive vehicles in low water - if you know the route. It may be possible to get a ride with a local or follow them across. Otherwise, do not attempt to cross.
  • Safety: Please don’t park on bridges. If you wish to view from a bridge, look for wide shoulders or a gravel pull-out for safe and easy parking.
  • Binoculars: With all roads in the region, it is difficult to identify specific viewing locations for wildlife – particularly grizzlies, moose, muskoxen and reindeer, as these animals are wide-ranging and can be found in a number of habitats. While you may be treated to a close encounter, you will enhance your viewing opportunities tremendously by carrying binoculars and stopping to scan the surrounding countryside, especially in areas where there is a mix of habitat types.
  • Orientation: The mileages listed are measured from the nearest green and white highway mileage markers generally placed at one mile intervals along the road. Some are missing, however, and the distance between them is not always exactly a mile, but they remain the best point of reference.
  • Private property: You will pass by areas with seasonal camps and year-round or seasonal homes. Please respect people’s privacy and keep in mind that, whether inhabited or not, they are private property.

Nome-Council Road by Milepost