Quick Facts

  • Current Population 77 (2012 Alaska Department of Labor Estimate)
  • Legislative Districts (link to State Legislature page):
    • Senate District T
    • House District 39
    • Judicial District 4
  • Latitude: 62.9617
  • Longitude: -141.9372


Northway is located on the east bank of Nabesna Slough, 50 miles southeast of Tok. It lies off the Alaska Highway on a 9-mile spur road, adjacent to the Northway airport. It is 42 miles from the Canadian border in the Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge. Northway presently consists of three dispersed settlements: Northway Junction (milepost 1264), Northway (the airport), and the Native village (2 miles north).


Northway lies in the Continental climate zone, with long, cold winters and relatively warm summers. Temperatures range from -27 to 70 °F. The average low temperature in January is -27 °F; the average high during July is 69 °F. Extreme temperatures have been recorded from -72 to 91 °F. Average precipitation is 10 inches per year; snowfall averages 30 inches annually.


The area around Northway was first utilized by semi-nomadic Athabascans who pursued seasonal subsistence activities in the vicinity of Scottie and Gardiner Creeks and Chisana, Nabesna, and Tanana Rivers. The Native settlement of Northway Village is located 2 miles south of Northway. The Native village was named in 1942 after Chief Walter Northway, who adopted his name from a Tanana and Nabesna riverboat captain.

The development and settlement of Northway was due to construction of the airport during World War II. The Northway airport was a link in the Northwest Staging Route, a cooperative project between the U.S. and Canada. A chain of air bases through Canada to Fairbanks were used to supply Alaska during World War II and the construction of the Alcan Highway. A post office was first established in 1941.


The area was traditionally Athabascan, though road construction and the airport have brought a permanent non-Native population.

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