Vast in size and largely undeveloped, the 49th state is filled with rural towns and villages that have less than 500 to 1000 year-round residents. Many with remote locations and limited access, these areas throughout the last frontier are scarcely inhabited. Living in the wild, away from the hustle and bustle, is a way of life for many Alaskans – but it definitely comes with some sacrifices. For starters, you can’t walk out your front door without running into someone that you know. Here are 17 tiny towns in Alaska where everyone knows your name.
The tiny town of Adak is located on the Aleutian Islands, which are a chain of 14 large volcanic islands and 55 smaller ones belonging to both the U.S. and Russia located in SW Alaska. The most recent population is said to be around 326 year-round residents. People that visit Adak enjoy birding, hiking, fishing, viewing marine wildlife, walking on black sand beaches and hunting.
Flickr - Bemep
Cantwell is located off the George Parks Hwy heading north from Anchorage towards Denali. The latest population was said to be around 219 year-round residents. Visitors that go to Cantwell enjoy fishing, wildlife safaris, checking out sled dogs, riding ATVs and sightseeing tours.
Chickaloon is located in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough. The population is around 272 year-round residents. The Alaska Native people of Chickaloon are a mixture of Ahtna and Dena'ina Athabaskan. Chickaloon is located at Mile 76 of the Glenn Highway and is surrounded by the Talkeetna and Chugach mountains with the beautiful Matanuska River running right by it.
4. Cooper Landing
Cooper Landing is located on The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground. It is about 100 miles south of Anchorage, and is home to the Kenai River, Kenai Lake and Russian River. The tiny town was first settled in the 19th century by gold and mineral prospectors, and has become a popular summer tourist destination. The latest population shows that about 289 year-round residents live here. However in the summer, you will see that number grown substantially as tens of thousands of people come to fish the world-renowned rivers.
Gustavus is located in the Hoonah-Angoon area of SE Alaska. The latest population shows approximately 442 year-round residents living in Gustavus. This town is the gateway to Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve and visitors here can enjoy kayaking, fishing, hiking, whale watching and even golfing. Oh, and you guessed it… glacier viewing is a pretty phenomenal here too!
Kake is a beautiful beachfront village located in southeast Alaska. It is just 38 miles from the town of Petersburg in the Inside Passage. The latest population was around 557 year-round residents. Kake sits at the edge of the Tebenkof Bay Wilderness and features the world’s largest totem pole, wildlife viewing, world-class fishing and remarkable whale watching.
McGrath is a small village in Western Alaska. The latest population was around 346 year-round residents. Despite its small population, the village is an important transportation and economic hub for the area. The town of McGrath is one of the 26 checkpoints in the annual Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race and the annual Irondog snowmobile race.
8. Moose Pass
Moose Pass is an unincorporated community of just over two hundred people on the Kenai Peninsula. The latest population was said to be roughly 219. Surrounded by the Chugach National Forest, Moose Pass is located 100 miles south of Anchorage and 30 miles north of the town of Seward. Visitors to Moose Pass can enjoy hiking, flight-seeing, fishing, yummy food, delicious homemade fudge and wonderful hospitality.
Naknek is located in the Bristol Bay Borough of Alaska. The latest population number was around 544 year-round residents. The local economy is almost entirely based on world-class salmon fishing. In the summertime the population will boom well into the tens of thousands as visitors come to take (responsible) advantage of the extraordinary fisheries.
10. Old Harbor
Flickr - Joint Hometown News Service
Old Harbor is a city located on Kodiak Island in southern Alaska. Kodiak is separated from mainland Alaska by the Shelikof Strait. The latest population from 2010 shows about 224 year-round residents. Visitors to Kodiak Island can enjoy taking in the rich history as well as activities such as fishing, hunting and wildlife viewing.
11. Port Lions
Port Lions yet another tiny city located on Kodiak Island in the Kodiak Island Borough of Alaska. The population is said to be around 194. Port Lions was built to house the inhabitants of Ag'waneq from the neighboring island of Afognak and Port Wakefield from Raspberry Island, after their villages were destroyed by the Good Friday earthquake in 1964. Fishing, hunting and hiking are great activities to tackle when in Port Lions.
Seldovia a happy and sprightful town located on the Kenai Peninsula, just a boat-ride away from the town of Homer. The year-round population of Seldovia is around 255 but in the summertime this number grows as visitors come to enjoy to unique town. There is no road system connecting the town to other communities, so all travel to Seldovia is by airplane or boat. Activities in Seldovia include hiking, fishing and kayaking.
Flickr - Timothy Wildey
Talkeetna is a quaint and quirky town located off the George Parks Hwy as you head north from Anchorage to Denali. The latest year-round population was said to be around 876. The historic village of Talkeetna is nestled at the base of North America's tallest peak Mt. McKinley (Denali). Activities in Talkeetna include float trips, riverboat tours, slight-seeing, fishing, hiking, ATV tours and more. A local brew, delicious slice of pizza and a journey through the many shops is also a “must” for anyone visiting Talkeetna.
Teller is a very rural town located in the Nome area on the Seward Peninsula. The population is around 229. This small village relies on a subsistence based lifestyle to survive. Main activities here include hunting and fishing.
15. Trapper Creek
Trapper Creek is charming town located in the MatSu Borough. The year-round population is said to be around 423. Mining and gold prospecting are major activities in this small town. Recreation country in the foothills of the Alaska Range provide great opportunities for hiking and exploring the back-country.
Whittier is a remote fishing town located south of Girdwood heading towards the Kenai Peninsula. The population is roughly around 217 residents, almost all of whom live in a single building within the town. Whittier is by far the most visited gateway to the mesmerizing wilderness of Prince William Sound. In the summer months you will frequently see huge cruise ships pulling into the dock and a town booming with Alaska enthusiasts. With regal mountains and glaciers surrounding you, visitors can enjoy activities including fishing, hunting, birding and hiking.
Yakutat is a delightfully small village located on the beautiful Monti Bay, which is the only sheltered deep water port in the Gulf of Alaska. Yakutat is about 225 miles northwest of Juneau with a population around 662. Visitors here can enjoy world-class steelhead, salmon and halibut fishing. Others come to enjoy the miles of untouched sandy beaches, incredible wildlife viewing, kayaking, glacier viewing and a plethora of hunting trips.
From remote islands and tiny villages to areas only accessible by plane, train or boat – Alaska is filled with tiny towns where everyone knows your name. Getting away from the “rat race” and living off the land is a lifestyle that many Alaskans strive to embody. Even if it means that you can’t go to gas station or grocery store without bumping into a handful of people you know. Have you ever been to any of these tiny towns or others throughout Alaska?