Barrow

The northernmost community in the United States

Utqiaġvik 

Population: 4,500

Barrow is the northernmost community in the United States and is located in the Arctic Circle on the Chuckchi and Beaufort Sea coast. It is the largest village on the Arctic Slope with around 4,500 residents.  

Barrow’s climate is cold and dry; winter weather can be extreme with the combination of the below zero temperatures and wind. The annual precipitation is 4.5 inches.

Traditionally, Barrow is known as Utqiaġvik, but in 1825, the town was named after Sir John Barrow of the British Admiralty. Frederick William Beechey, a British Navy Captain gave the village its English name. At the time, Beechey was plotting the Arctic coastline in search of the Northwest Passage.

An important archaeological and anthropological site discovered in Barrow is the Birnick site, which contains dwelling mounds of a culture believed to have existed between 500-900 A.D. These scientific discoveries are further evidence of the prehistoric culture that populated Alaska’s northernmost coast.

Many in Barrow continue to rely on subsistence hunting, fishing and whaling. Although Barrow is a modern community, the traditional bearded seal skin boats, also known as umiaq, continue to be used today for hunting bowhead whales.

Community amenities include three primary grocery stores, a Wells Fargo branch, a handful of restaurants, and several churches.