"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.
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.
When the ice first breaks in summer several species of whale migrate near the shoreline at Barrow. This bearded seal... more travel advice
Barrow's reigning "Miss Top of the World" and a young friend are seen here modeling winter wear at the Inupiat Heritage... more travel advice
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