Nikolai – Edzeno

Quick Facts

  • Pronounced (ed-ZEE-no / NICK-oh-lie)
  • Current Population 94 (2012 Alaska Department of Labor Estimate)
  • Legislative Districts (link to State Legislature page):
    • Senate District S
    • House District 38
    • Judicial District 4
  • Latitude: 63.0133
  • Longitude: -154.3750


Nikolai is located in Interior Alaska on the south fork of the Kuskokwim River, 46 air miles east of McGrath.


Nikolai has a cold, continental climate with relatively warm summers. Average summer temperature range from 42 to 80 °F, and winter temperatures range from -62 to 0 °F. Annual precipitation is light, averaging 16 inches per year, with 56 inches of snow. The river is generally ice-free from June through October.


Nikolai is an Upper Kuskokwim Athabascan village and has been relocated at least twice since the 1880s. One of the former sites was reported in 1899 to have a population of six males. The present site was established around 1918.

Nikolai was the site of a trading post and roadhouse during the gold rush. It was situated on the Rainy Pass Trail, which connected the Ophir gold mining district to Cook Inlet. It became a winter trail station along the Nenana-McGrath Trail, which was used until 1926.

By 1927, the St. Nicholas Orthodox Church had been constructed. In 1948, a private school was established, and in 1949 a post office opened. Local residents cleared an airstrip in 1963, which heralded year-round accessibility to the community. The city was incorporated in 1970.


Nikolai is an Athabascan community. Residents are active in subsistence food-gathering.

Community profile data provided by the State of Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development.