Nome Scenic Drives

No other place in Bush Alaska has a road system like Nome. Three gravel highways, each around 75 miles long, showcase dramatic and very different landscape. They wind through a wilderness of tundra, mountains, coastline, rivers, and valleys littered with abandoned gold dredges and railroads. This area is one of Alaska’s least-known treasures. If you’re in Nome during the summer (when the roads are passable), take three days and explore three ways!

Three Days - Three Ways, Exploring Nome's Road System

In half the time it would take you to drive from Anchorage to Denali, you can fly by jet to Nome, rent a car, and journey deep into a wilderness all your own.

What you’ll find is some of Alaska’s most captivating landscapes—a wilderness that draws you in quickly and holds your attention. Up here, fewer than 150 miles from the Arctic Circle, there aren’t many trees, so you can see forever. The rivers are sparkling clear, not gray with glacial silt. It’s a perfect place to fish, view wildlife, mountain bike, camp, or enjoy historical artifacts.

The sense of history on Nome’s roads is inescapable—and awesome. Thousands of years ago, of course, this was the Bering land bridge that served as the conduit from one continent to another. More recently was the last great Gold Rush in the American West, and you’ll see evidence all around: wooden railroad trestles, collapsing dredges, railroad cars, and other iron-cast mining relics.

The wilderness is some of Alaska’s most beautiful, with some 200 species of Arctic wildflowers, including hillsides endlessly carpeted with rare flowers like Kamchatka Rhododendron, Lapland Rosebay, and Siberian Iris. Get out, put your nose right down into the tundra and you’ll smell the rich, organic scent. Come in mid-August, and you can fill your car with berries—the berry-picking is some of Alaska’s best.

Wildlife, too, is a big part of any drive around Nome. The birding is world-famous: there are more than 180 species here, including Asiatic birds rarely seen in North America. And birds are everywhere—you don’t even have to get out of your car. But they’re not the only species in love with this area: also be on the lookout for bear, moose, reindeer, and musk oxen.


  • There are limited car rental options in Nome, so you should make arrangements in advance.
  • Guided tours are available – and recommended – to learn about natural and historical points of interest along the way.
  • Don’t have time for all three roads? Each one has its own unique attractions. View our detailed pages on each road to help you decide.

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Scenic Drives

Nome — Coun­cil Road spans 72 miles (East) and takes 2 hours one-way with­out stops. For spec­tac­u­lar bird­ing, sweep­ing coastal views, and the famous Last Train to Nowhere,” explore the Nome — Coun­cil Road. Addi­tion­al high­lights include the Safe­ty Road­house, which is the last stop on the Idi­tar­od Sled Dog Race, and the small com­mu­ni­ty of Coun­cil, which boast­ed a pop­u­la­tion of 15,000 in its heydey.

The Nome – Teller Road brings you with­in 55 miles of Rus­sia, and is as close as you can dri­ve to the Bering Strait Land Bridge. The road trav­els 73 miles north­west and takes about 2 hours one-way with­out stops. You end at Teller, an authen­tic Inu­pi­at vil­lage of few­er than 300 peo­ple who sur­vive on a sub­sis­tence lifestyle.

When locals want to see trees, they head north on The Nome — Tay­lor Road (also called Beam Rd. or Kougarok Rd.) The 85-mile grav­el road runs north-south and takes 2 hours one-way with­out stops. The route winds past many old min­ing claims, the pop­u­lar Salmon Lake, and offers a side trip to his­toric Pil­grim Hot Springs.