When you walk along the beach at Nome, it’s hard to imagine this place was once covered in tents, stretching for 30 miles up and down the coast. This place lured thousands who hope to strike it rich on the glittering sands. Today, miners still dredge off-shore, and beachcombers find their own riches in sea glass and driftwood.
Pilgrim Hot Springs is a green oasis for Nome residents who yearn for trees and the sound of leaves rustling in the wind. Pilgrim has historic value too, first as a gold rush resort and later as a Catholic mission. Then there are the springs themselves. At 178 degrees F, they are a literal hot spot in the Arctic north.
As you continue north, Dorothy Creek flows out of mountains to the left past the red cabin on the far bank of the Nome River. About one mile up the creek is a scenic waterfall. While there is no trail, some people visit the waterfall by crossing the open tundra on the south side of Dorothy Creek and clambering down the steep incline either just above or below the waterfall.
Anvil Rock perches above Nome, an early landmark for gold miners and an easy hike for those who want to take in spectacular views of Nome, the Bering Sea, and the Kigluaik Mountains. Its resemblance to a blacksmith’s anvil generated names for many nearby landscape features, including Anvil Mountain and Anvil Creek. The hike also promises a good chance to see musk oxen, a variety of birds, and maybe even reindeer or red fox.
“Nomehenge,” as some of the locals call the four towering antennas on Anvil Mountain above Nome, operated during the height of the Cold War to link remote parts of Alaska with the rest of the country. These are the last of 71 White Alice structures, and serve as important historic and geographic landmarks in Nome.