Quick Facts

  • Pronounced (ROO-bee)
  • Current Population 185 (2012 Alaska Department of Labor Estimate)
  • Legislative Districts (link to State Legislature page):
    • Senate District S
    • House District 38
    • Judicial District 4
  • Latitude: 64.7394
  • Longitude: -155.4869


Ruby is located on the south bank of the Yukon River, in the Kilbuck-Kuskokwim Mountains. It is about 50 air miles east of Galena and 230 air miles west of Fairbanks. Ruby lies adjacent to the Nowitna National Wildlife Refuge.


The area experiences a cold, continental climate with extreme temperature differences. The average daily high temperature during July is in the low 70s; the average daily low temperature during January ranges from 10 to below 0 °F. Sustained temperatures of -40 °F are common during winter. Extreme temperatures have been measured from -53 to 98 °F. Annual precipitation averages 17 inches, with 66 inches of snowfall. The river is ice-free from mid-May through mid-October.


Ruby’s current residents are Koyukon Athabascans of the Nowitna-Koyukuk band, a nomadic group who followed game with the changing seasons. There were 12 summer fish camps located on the Yukon River between the Koyukuk River and the Nowitna River. Ruby developed as a supply point for gold prospectors. It was named after the red-colored stones found on the riverbank that prospectors thought were rubies. Two gold strikes, one at Ruby Creek in 1907 and another at Long Creek in 1911, attracted hundreds of prospectors to the area.

At one time, over 1,000 white miners lived in Ruby and the nearby creeks. Placerville, Poorman, Sulatna Crossing, Kokrines, and Long Creek were some of the area’s boom settlements. A post office was established in 1912, and Ruby incorporated as a city in 1913. Initially, the city was governed by miners’ meetings, then later by Pioneer Igloo Number 5. After the gold rush, the population declined rapidly.

By 1939, there were only 139 residents. During World War II, the mining operations were shut down, and most of the white residents left. After the war, the remaining residents of nearby Kokrines relocated to Ruby, and the population began to increase. Ruby incorporated as a second-class city in 1973. A clinic, a watering point, and schools were constructed in the 1970s. During the 1980s, telephones and television services were provided.


The traditional Athabascan culture and subsistence practices are the focal point of village life.

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