No one ever said that living in the Last Frontier was going to be easy. After all, having an abundance of wild natural resources and a plethora of raw uninhabited land has to come with its drawbacks, right? Sure, the tranquility of the endless secluded land is nice and the natural beauty is beyond breathtaking. But, as the saying goes, you can’t call yourself a local until you’ve survived a winter or two. If you’re stuck in any of these 16 coldest, darkest towns in Alaska – you are destined to have quite the challenge ahead of you.
During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.
The northernmost town in America is located right here in Alaska, and it's dark and cold for 65 days out of the year. Could you survive a winter here? You might be surprised to learn that over 4,000 people call this largest city in the North Slope Borough home.
As if the name is warning enough that this is one of the coldest places in Alaska, the record low temp for Coldfoot is -74 degrees Fahrenheit, which occurred on January 22, 1971. It looks like a population of around 10 people are able to brave this chilly weather, yet many travel here to enjoy the epic Northern Lights viewing opportunities.
Alaska's 'Golden Heart City' of Fairbanks is home to a bustling population of around 100,000 year round residents. This brave group of people endures average temps well below 0 degrees Fahrenheit. The coldest recorded temp was −66 °F which happened on January 14, 1934.
Located in the North Slope Borough, Deadhorse is home to between 25 and 50 year round residents that endure average temps around 12 degrees Fahrenheit. The lowest temperature ever recorded here was −62 °F which happened on January 27, 1989.
It's hard to find anything not to love about this charming city located along the south bank of the Yukon River. However, the wintertime temps can be quite hard to handle. The lowest temp recorded here was -70 degrees Fahrenheit, which occurred on both January 5 & 6, 1975.
With a tiny population of around 10 year round residents, this historic mining town on the Middle Fork Koyukuk River in the Brooks Range is used to seeing wintertime temps that sit well below 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
7. Prudhoe Bay
The place where all the 'slopers' go is not an easy lifestyle to manage. Industry workers here have to endure strenuous outside labor with temps averaging below 5 degrees Fahrenheit. Winters on the 'north slope' are very cold due to its location above the Arctic Circle.
This tiny little gold prospecting town is pretty much a total ghost town during the winter due to extreme temps and heavy snowfall causing the roads to close. In fact, the lowest temp recorded here was -72 degrees Fahrenheit, which occurred on December 31, 1999.
9. Manley Hot Springs
In a town with a population of around 80 residents, it's hard to believe that they can deal with such cold temps for months on end. The coldest temp recorded was -73 degrees Fahrenheit which occurred on January 2, 1989.
The lowest temperature ever recorded here was -75 degrees Fahrenheit which happened on January 27, 1989.
11. North Pole
Home to about 2,100 residents, winter temps here average below 5 degrees Fahrenheit for months on end.
12. Prospect Creek
Said to be one of the coldest places on planet earth, the coldest temperature ever recorded here was -80 degrees Fahrenheit which happened on January 23, 1971.
Located in the Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area, this tiny town has an approximate year round population that sits just over 300 residents. The record low here was -76 degrees Fahrenheit, which occurred on January 27, 1989.
Tok is the first and happiest greeting point in America after crossing the Canadian border on the Alcan. The coldest temp ever recorded here was -71 degrees Fahrenheit which happened on January 5, 1965.
This rural town located on the Colville River about 140 miles southwest of Deadhorse in the Arctic Circle is home to only rotational workers who are not permanent residents. Winter storms are frequent here and temps can be well below -10 degrees Fahrenheit for days and months on end.
On January 5 & 6, 1975 this tiny town in the Yukon-Koyukuk Census Are with a population just over 470 residents saw a low temperature of -70 degrees Fahrenheit. Winter temps averaging below -25 degrees Fahrenheit are not uncommon.