Iditarod Sled Dog Race

Every year in March, Nome hosts the finish of one of the toughest sled dog races in the world. The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race is a 1,049 mile trek through some of the most extreme wilderness in the nation. The first Iditarod race was held in 1973 and has been extremely popular ever since. During the finish of the race Nome’s population grows by approximately 1,000 people and turns Nome into what people everywhere warmly refer to as the “Mardi Gras of the North”. With hundreds of events to participate in and the ability to rub elbows with some of the most notorious names in the dog mushing industry, the finish of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Nome is an event not to be missed.

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the race start?

The ceremonial start begins in Anchorage on the first Saturday in March. The restart begins the next day in Willow.

When does the first musher cross the finish line in Nome?

Usually nine to ten days after the restart. This can vary depending on weather and trail conditions.

Which route will the race run this year?

The northern route is run on even years, and the southern route is run on odd years.

How do I purchase an AWARDS BANQUET TICKET?

Tickets are sold only after the first musher crosses the finish line. After that time, you may purchase tickets at the Iditarod Headquarters at the Mini Convention Center. Tickets may not be reserved in advance.

When is the finish line “Burled Arch” erected on Front Street?

The first Sunday before the first musher is scheduled to arrive.

All of the accommodations are already booked! Where can I stay?

During the Iditarod, several Nome residents rent out bedrooms or even couch space in their private residence. The Nome Visitors Center maintains a list of renters through an Iditarod Overflow Housing Program.

Are there any special events going on during the sled dog race?

Absolutely! Many local groups and businesses have events going on, and a list of these will be available soon. You will be able to find a link to them in our Events Calendar page. There are also businesses that offer Iditarod related Tours!

How can I become a volunteer during the Iditarod?

Click HERE to go to the Volunteer Page of the Iditarod website. This page lists the types of volunteer positions that are available, and you will also find the names and e-mail addresses of many of the volunteer coordinators.

Can I fly to Russia from Nome?

Nome based Bering Air offers charter flights to Russia, but you may be required to obtain certain documents prior to one of these flights. Bering Air has a Russian Travel page in their website.

How far is it to…?

Check out our Distance Chart to see approximate distances to many of the facilities that are used by visitors during the Iditarod!

For more information on the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race go to www.iditarod.com.

Housing During the Iditarod

The finish of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race is a very popular event; therefore, hotels and B&B’s tend to book up very early, some possibly a year in advance! If you are unable to find a room, the Nome Convention and Visitors Bureau may be able to help.

Each year, several Nome residents will open their private homes to people in need of a place to stay during the Iditarod, and the Visitors Center maintains a list of these individuals. Some residents may rent an entire apartment or home, and some may rent couch or floor space.

If you are unable to secure a room in a hotel or B&B, and would like to be put on a wait list for a room in someone’s private home, please call the Visitors Center at (907) 443-6555, or send an e-mail to visit@mynomealaska.com. Visitors Center staff cannot guarantee being able to place you in a room, but they will do the best they can!

When calling or e-mailing the Visitors Center to be placed on the wait list, please include all of the following:

1. Your Name.
2. Total number of people in your party.
3. Dates of arrival and departure.
4. Any special needs you may have.
5. Daytime telephone number.

6. E-mail address.

Local residents rent out rooms to visitors as a courtesy to enable as many people as possible the opportunity to witness the Last Great Race. If you make arrangements to stay in someone’s home, and you need to cancel, please let your host know so they can rent their room to someone else.

See our Winter Tours and Guides Page for additional activities during your visit to Nome.

Come by the Visitor Center!

Whether you need a map, trip advice, or just some good old conversation, the staff at the Nome Visitor Center are more than happy to help.
Hours: Monday-Saturday, 9am - 5pm, Sunday: 10am - 2pm