The Steese Highway ends in Circle, Alaska. Old “Welcome to Circle City” sign makes a good photo op. Large unmaintained parking area on Yukon River; boat launch, picnic tables, trash cans, overnight parking allowed. This is a good place to sit and watch river traffic. Information signs on the Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge. From here, you are looking at one channel of the mighty Yukon River and are centrally located in this small town.
Located on the banks of the Yukon River, 50 miles south of the Arctic Circle, Circle City was the largest gold mining town on the Yukon River, before the Klondike Gold Rush of 1898 created Dawson City, YT. The town began as a supply point to the new gold diggings on Birch Creek in 1893, and grew as a hub for Interior gold camps.
The town was named Circle City because the early miners thought it was located on the Arctic Circle. Today, Circle serves a small local population and visitors coming in by highway or by river. Circle School (Pre-K through 12) has 26 students and 2 teachers. A large hotel in Circle remains unfinished; current status unknown. There’s a lot of summer river traffic here. Inquire locally about guided river trips and air service.
Mean monthly temperature in July 61.4°F, in January -10.6°F. Record high 91°F July 1977, record low -69°F in February 1991. Snow from October through April. Monthly precipitation in summer averages 1.45 inches.
Gas, diesel, groceries, snacks and sundries are available at the H.C. Company Store. When the Yukon River flooded most recently on May 18, 2013, 45 inches of water covered the H.C. Company Store. During the Interior’s summer fires in 2009, some 300 firefighters camped out in Circle.
The 2-story log Rasmusson House (privately owned), built circa 1909, is a favorite subject for artists and photographers. The old Pioneer Cemetery, with its markers dating back to the 1800s, is also an interesting spot to visit. To get there, walk west to the gravel road that goes to the right just before the Yukon River parking lot. Keep to the left fork by private homes. To the right, behind some trees, you can see the old Army Wireless Building built in 1908. Continuing on to the cemetery you will have to cross through a private front yard (please be respectful of private property) to get to the trail. Walk straight ahead on the trail, which goes through densely wooded trees (many mosquitoes), for about 10 minutes. The path is to the left of the graves, which are scattered among the trees.