Iditarod National Historic Trail Safety Cabins
In the fall of 2010, BLM-Alaska and a number of other groups completed four public safety cabins along the Iditarod National Historic Trail. They were finished in time to commemorate the Centenial of the opening of the trail. All told, 10 total public safety cabins have been recently built in this area. While these cabins are open to the public there is a notable distinction between the average public use cabin in Alaska, which can be rented out exclusively, and these cabins whose primary purpose is to make winter travel and maintenance along the trail safer.
The Iditarod NHT is the only winter travel route available to many Alaskan villagers between Nikolai and Nome. It also hosts the Iditarod Sled Dog Race, the Iron Dog Snowmachine race and the Iditarod Invitational Ultramarathons so these cabins are an added benefit to hearty racers who spend up to weeks on the trail.
The cabins are only accessible in the winter (although open year round), with the exception of the Rohn Public Shelter Cabin, which is accessible via aircraft or river float (South Fork of the Kuskokwim River). The Tolstoi Headwaters public safety cabin can also be reached in the warmer months by a 3 or 4-mile cross tundra hike following a drop-off in the lake to the SE of the cabin site (although this isn't recommended). Each cabin includes a wood stove, wooden bunks, benches, tables and an outhouse. Use is non-reservation, and non-exclusive, since they are designed specifically as a public safety resource. Please be considerate of other travelers and lend a hand if needed.
Fuel and lube for snowmachines is available in Nikolai, McGrath, Takotna, Shageluk, Anvik, Grayling, Ruby, Galena, Koyukuk, Nulato, Kaltag and Unalakleet. However, service hours are irregular and usually only on weekdays during business hours. Your best source of information is at the village store(s) or from any local residents.
For more info on what can be found along the trail, you can visit: