Quick Facts

  • Current Population 113 (2012 Alaska Department of Labor Estimate)
  • Legislative Districts (link to State Legislature page):
    • Senate District T
    • House District 39
    • Judicial District 4
  • Latitude: 65.8256
  • Longitude: -144.0606


Circle is located on the south bank of the Yukon River at the edge of the Yukon Flats, 160 miles northeast of Fairbanks. It is at the eastern end of the Steese Highway.


Circle has a continental subarctic climate, characterized by seasonal extremes in temperature. Winters are long and harsh, and summers are warm and short. Summer temperatures range from 65 to 72 °F. Winter temperatures can range from -71 to 0 °F. Annual rainfall averages 6.5 inches, and annual snowfall averages 43.4 inches. The Yukon River is ice-free from mid-June through mid-October.


Circle (also known as Circle City) was established in 1893 as a supply point for goods shipped up the Yukon River and then overland to the gold mining camps. Early miners believed the town was located on the Arctic Circle, and named it Circle.

By 1896, before the Klondike gold rush, Circle was the largest mining town on the Yukon, with a population of 700. It boasted an Alaska Commercial Company store, eight or ten dance halls, an opera house, a library, a school, a hospital, and an Episcopal Church. It had its own newspaper, the Yukon Press, and a number of residential U.S. government officials, including a commissioner, marshal, customs inspector, tax collector, and postmaster.

The town was virtually emptied after gold discoveries in the Klondike (1897) and Nome (1899). A few hearty miners stayed on in the Birch Creek area, and Circle became a small, stable community that supplied miners in the nearby Mastodon, Mammoth, Deadwood, and Circle Creeks. Mining activity continues to this day.


The population of Circle is predominantly Athabascan, but there are several non-Native families. The Circle Civic Community Association was formed in 1967. It cooperates with the traditional council in maintaining the sign area and public boat launch and in preserving historic sites.