Barrow Travel Guide
  • Photo: Askme9 |


The northernmost community in the United States, Utqiaġvik—previously known as Barrow—sits 1,300 miles south of the North Pole, and 10 miles south of the Beaufort Sea and Point Barrow. In 2016, residents voted to change the town's name from "Barrow" to its traditional Inupiaq name; "utqiagvik" refers to a place to gather wild roots. Point Barrow was named in 1825 by British captain Frederick William Beechey, who'd been ordered by the British Navy to map the continent's northern coastline. Beechey wished to honor Sir John Barrow, a member of the British Admiralty involved in exploring the Arctic.

About 4,400 people reside in Utqiaġvik today, making it easily the largest community on the North Slope. Nearly two-thirds of the residents are Inupiaq people who remain deeply rooted in their culture. The community does have a public radio station, cable TV, and Internet access, along with a recreation center. In Utqiaġvik, as in much of Bush Alaska, basketball is the favored sport, played year-round by people of all ages.

Utqiaġvik is the economic and administrative center of the North Slope Borough, which encompasses more than 88,000 square miles, making it the world's largest municipal government in terms of area. The village is also headquarters of the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, formed in 1971 through the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, as well as the Ukpeagvik Inupiat Corporation, which economically and politically represents the community of Utqiaġvik. Several village councils are also headquartered in the town.

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