Bettles Lodge is located 35 miles north of the Arctic Circle, in the foothills of the Brooks Range along the Koyukuk River. The Arctic is known as one of the last true pristine wilderness areas in the world. Our location is a fly-in only adventure, unless you prefer to travel when the Ice Road is open during the months of February & March.
Bettles Lodge has specialized in custom trips to the Brooks Range for the past 30 years. Creating a unique experience, Bettles is far from the beaten path, a real Alaska Lodge with plenty of character and characters! Bettles Lodge offers all-inclusive Summer and Winter Tours; Hotel, Restaurant, Gift Shop, Bar, and Aviation Fueling & Parking for those who travel in their own airplane. We specialize in accommodating your modern adventures.
Bettles was named after Gordon C. Bettles, who founded Bettles in 1898 during the last great gold rush in Alaska. Gordon, who had been a newspaper writer like his friend Jack London the famous author, established a trading post at the junction of the John River and the Koyukuk River. Large steam-powered paddle boats brought miners and their supplies into the region. The paddle boats traveled up the Yukon and onto the Koyukuk River to arrive at Bettles. Supplies and miners were transferred to horse-drawn barges for the last 100 miles of travel to where the gold fields were located on the middle fork of the Koyukuk. As the gold rush came to an end and aircraft replaced the riverboat as the main mode of transportation, the community migrated to the airstrip built up-river, 6 miles from the original location.
The first building in New Bettles was the Bettles Lodge. Wien Airlines built the Lodge for the many travelers who passed through Bettles. Wien Airlines was established by the most famous bush pilot in Alaska history, Noel Wien. This Historic Lodge was the first of several Wien Lodges around the state and is on the National Historic Register. The Koyukuk River, on which Bettles is located, was the traditional dividing line between the Inupiaq Eskimos and the Athabaskan Indians. Located adjacent to Bettles is the Native Community of Evansville which is unique by being both an Indian and Eskimo Village. The Native Community continues to live the subsistence life style of their ancestors gathering local berries and harvesting fish from the Koyukuk in the summer months. During the fall, locals from both Bettles and Evansville gather their yearly meat supply by hunting moose and caribou. Skins from these animals are used to make various clothing and native arts. During the winter season, trapping of small, fur-bearing animals is done, with the furs either being sold “raw” or made into hats, gloves, and other clothing. Native crafts are available for purchase in the Bettles Lodge gift shop.
During the 1970’s, the United States Congress recognized the uniqueness of the Brooks Range and set aside approximately 8½ million acres of wilderness, designated as the Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve. Named by the famous naturalist Robert Marshall, The Gates of the Arctic National Park is five times larger than Yellowstone and encompasses an ecosystem so unique that much of it has been designated a World Ecological Zone. Located within the boundaries of the park are the Arrigetch Peaks which are a spectacular display of granite peaks. The name Arrigetch means ‘fingers of the outstretched hand’ in the Inupiat language. The Arrigetch Peaks is a popular location for more experienced hikers and rock climbers. The Arrigetch also offers spectacular flight seeing opportunities.