Iditarod National Historic Trail

A shelter cabin along the Iditarod
A shelter cabin

Today's Iditarod National Historic Trail commemorates a trail system up to 2,300 miles in length that has been used by pioneers, gold seekers and Native Americans for thousands of years. About 1,500 miles of the historic trail system are open to the public today as they cross a mix of state and federal land. The BLM manages about 150 miles of the trail, including 5 shelter cabins.

What brought the Iditarod to the attention of mainstream America was an incident that happened in Nome in 1925. The was an outbreak of diphtheria in the town and the only way to get the life-saving vaccine there was via dog sled. So in one of the last great feats of dog sledding days in Alaska, 20 teams of men and dog sleds worked together to carry the vaccine from near Seward to Nome, about 674 miles in 127 hours. Most years since there has been an Iditarod Sled Race to commemorate that feat.

Map of the Iditarod National Historic Trail
Click or tap on the image to get a larger version

Photos and maps courtesy of the Bureau of Land Management