"Barrow, Alaska: Northernmost City in North America" Top 5 Page for this destination Barrow by Stephen-KarenConn

Barrow Travel Guide: 93 reviews and 142 photos

Situated 330 miles north of the Arctic Circle, Barrow is the northernmost incorporated city in North America and the largest Inupiat Eskimo community in the world. It is the seat of government for the North Slope Borough, and serves as regional center for the sparsely populated 89,000-square-mile borough - the largest municipality on earth. In land area the North Slope is larger than the states of Ohio and Pennsylvania combined.

Barrow was called Utqiagvik by it its Inupiat founders, meaning "The place where we hunt snowy owls." Because of its key location at the junction of the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas on the Arctic Ocean, Barrow became an important whaling site. The town remains a center of subsistence whaling and harvesting of other land and water species.

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The City has a population of around 4,500 people, unconnected to any other community by road. Within the 21-square-mile city limits are 28 miles of roadway, none of them paved. There are three distinct areas of settlement: the traditional Inupiat community of Barrow, the former Naval Arctic Research Laboratory (NARL), and portions of the former Distant Early Warning (DEW) Line station.

This is the high arctic, a true land of contrasts. Although considered a desert, with less than five inches of precipitation per year, summer finds the ground covered with ponds and puddles of water because melting snow cannot penetrate the permanently frozen ground below. Also in summer the "Midnight Sun" does not dip below the horizon for 82 consecutive days. In winter the sun will not appear for 64 days. Yet even in winter Barrow is not completely dark because the northern lights dance across the sky and light from the moon and stars illuminates the snow with an unbelievable brightness.

  • Last visit to Barrow: Aug 2004
  • Intro Updated Jul 28, 2005
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Reviews (24)

Comments (33)

  • Nov 22, 2009 at 12:24 PM

    seems kind of expensive. I just had two eggs,home fries, scrapple. orange juice, toast and coffee for 4.95. Very good too

  • Ericasmurf99's Profile Photo
    Jan 29, 2009 at 7:39 AM

    Great Barrow page. We are moving to Anchorage this summer and Barrow is def on our "must do" list. :)

  • May 21, 2008 at 9:52 AM

    Your Barrow information is truly amazing. Many thanks

  • matcrazy1's Profile Photo
    Jan 5, 2007 at 6:18 AM

    Excellent page. Imaiqsaun Cemetary looks great. Haha, whenever I go to Barrow I'll try to become the next Polar Bear Club member :-)

  • ian-uk's Profile Photo
    Aug 7, 2006 at 7:11 AM

    Great page on Barrow Alaska, from Ian in Barrow UK

  • RickinDutch's Profile Photo
    Aug 1, 2006 at 10:14 AM

    Excellent Barrow page!! Spent an afternoon there stuck indoors at a meeting. Meeting ran over sked and we just rushed back to the airport. Need to return.

  • yelli's Profile Photo
    Apr 28, 2006 at 2:25 PM

    wading in the arctic ocean! Hm, maybe only a few degrees colder than Barton Springs here in Austin... :)

  • victorwkf's Profile Photo
    Mar 8, 2006 at 4:57 AM

    Wonderful information & photos of Barrow! Did not reach this far north when I was in alaska, only managed to reach anaktuvuk pass :)

  • arcticpreacher's Profile Photo
    Aug 6, 2005 at 1:25 PM

    Great Barrow page! I have never been there, but would love to sometime.

  • easyoar's Profile Photo
    Jul 2, 2005 at 2:43 AM

    Excellent page! So you missed out on being Parson (and on sleeping in the lobby!). I loved the forest and the whalebone arch!

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