The legendary Iditarod National Historic Trail, known historically as the Seward-to-Nome Mail Trail, encompasses 1,000 miles (1,609 kilometers), although there are 1,300 miles (2,092 kilometers) of alternate routes and connecting trails not part of the primary historic route. Connecting a point 50 miles (80 km) north of Seward to Nome, the once 1,150-mile (1,850-kilometer) long trail was used as a trade route year-round, by gold-seekers in the twentieth century and by dog mushers carrying large freight in the winter. While portions of the Iditarod Trail were used by the native Inupiaq and Athabaskan peoples before the 1800s, the most prolific use of the trail was during the Gold Rush to transport gold from the Iditarod Mining District and connect Alaska’s interior with its ports.
Today, the Iditarod National Historic Trail is separated into five sections: Seward to Girdwood (Kenai Peninsula); Girdwood to Eklutna (Anchorage); Eklutna to Skwentna (Mat-Su Valleys); Skwentna to Kaltag (Southwest); and Kaltag to Nome (Northwest). As it is primarily a winter trail it is popular for snowmobiling. Additionally, it is well-known for the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, an annual long-distance, nine-days-or-more dog sled race that traverses the Anchorage to Nome section of the Iditarod. It’s also a great place for spotting wildlife like moose, caribou, brown bear, bison, wolf and Dall sheep as well as seals, walrus and polar bear near the Bering Sea coast.
Note that those who want to hike the Iditarod National Historic Trail will have limited options, including 30 miles (48 kilometers) from Girdwood to Eagle River and the beginning of trail north of Seward.