Dog musher and team on Iditarod Trail near Tripod Flats Public Shelter Cabin

The Iditarod Trail is the only winter trail in the National Trails System and the only Congressionally-designated National Historic Trail in Alaska. The Iditarod National Historic Trail system is comprised of a 1,000-mile main trail between Seward and Nome, and an additional 1,400 miles of side/connecting trails that link communities and historic sites, or provide parallel route.

Congress established the Iditarod as a National Historic Trail in 1978. A May 17, 1978, Senate report noted that the trails comprising the Iditarod National Historic Trail “…offer a rich diversity of climate, terrain, scenery, wildlife, recreation and resources in an environment largely unchanged since the days of the stampeders. It is the isolated, primitive quality of this historical environment that makes the National Historic Iditarod Trail proposal unique. Nowhere in the National Trail System is there such an extensive landscape, so demanding of durability and skill during its winter season of travel. On the Iditarod, today’s adventurer can duplicate the experience and challenge of yesteryear.”

Today, BLM works with partners to maintain and promote the historic qualities that make the Iditarod unique among our nation’s National Historic Trails. As the designated Trail Administrator, BLM facilitates efforts by volunteers and local, state and federal agencies on behalf of the entire trail. BLM maintains about 120 miles of the trail, including five public shelter cabins. The trail segments that cross BLM-managed lands are managed as part of BLM's National Conservation Lands.

Trail Managment

Trail Management

Most of the historic Iditarod Trail is located on public lands managed by the State of Alaska or federal agencies (although some segments pass over private lands). No one entity manages the entire historic trail - management is guided by a cooperative plan adopted in the mid-1980s. The federal Bureau of Land Management coordinates cooperative management of the trail and is the primary point of contact for matters involving the entire trail.

Each year local groups, community clubs and individuals contribute their personal time and money to maintain and improve the Iditarod Trail.  The statewide, nonprofit Iditarod Historic Trail, Inc., helps protect and improve the trail and keeps the "lore of the trail" alive.

Trail Ownership

Who owns the trail? The Iditarod is a complex trail system, stretching from Seward in the south, to Nome on the Bering Sea.  It crosses lands owned by several Native corporations, municipal governments and the State of Alaska as well as federal lands managed by the BLM, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Department of Defense. In all there are 10 institutional land managers and numerous private owners.

Bureau of Land Management
Anchorage Field Office
4700 BLM Road
Anchorage, Alaska 99507

Chugach National Forest
Seward Ranger District
334 4th Ave. P.O. Box 390
Seward, Alaska 99664

Innoko National Wildlife Refuge
101 Front Street
P.O. Box 287 MS 525
Galena, Alaska 99741-0287

State of Alaska Department of Natural Resources
550 W. 7th Avenue, Suite 1260
Anchorage, Alaska 99501-3557

Alaska Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation
18620 Seward Highway
Anchorage, Alaska 99516

For further information about the Iditarod National Historic Trail System, contact the BLM Anchorage Field Office at (907) 267-1246 or toll free at (800) 478-1263.

Trail History


Today’s Iditarod Trail, a symbol of frontier travel and once an important artery of Alaska’s winter commerce, served a string of mining camps, trading posts, and other settlements founded between 1880 and 1920, during Alaska’s Gold Rush Era. Alaska’s gold rushes were an extension of the American mining frontier that dates from colonial America and moved west to California with the gold discovery there in 1848.

Permitted Events

Permitted Events on the Iditarod Trail

The Iditarod Trail has a rich history, but in this modern era it is known race event route.

Major race events that are permitted byt the BLM are: the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, the Iron Dog Snowmachine race, and the Iditasport ultra marathon for skiers, runners, and mountain bikers.

Quick Facts

Congressional Designation
Trail Administrator: BLM
Created: 1978
Length: 2,400 miles


Iditarod National Historic Program
Bureau of Land Management
Anchorage Field Office
4700 BLM Road
Anchorage, Alaska 99507