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Wiseman (population 22) is a village in Arctic Alaska, located 3 miles from the Dalton Highway at Mile 188.


Not to be confused with Wisemans Ferry in Australia.

The town was founded as a mining community by persons who had abandoned the town of Coldfoot in the 1910s (dates vary by source from 1912-1919). In 1930, a stay by noted wilderness activist and novelist Robert Marshall led to the writing of the classic Alaskan novel Arctic Village about the town, labeling it "the happiest civilization of which I have knowledge." In the early 1990s a bridge was finally built over the Koyukuk River, connecting Wiseman with the Dalton Highway.

Remember that everything in the town is private property, so be sure to meet a resident to give you a tour before walking aimlessly about the town.

Get in[edit]

The only practical way of entering Wiseman is via the Dalton Highway. Wiseman can be accessed by taking the highway to Mile 188 and taking a road to the west leading over the Koyukuk RIver.

There is no airstrip at Wiseman. The nearest airstrip is at Coldfoot, which lies 13 miles to the south. There are no car rentals in Coldfoot, nor regular transportation along the Dalton. Visitors who fly into Coldfoot will have to hitchhike with one of the many vehicles which travel along the highway.

For the adventurous, one can enter Wiseman via dog sled, although there is no such regular service with any other town in the region.

Get around[edit]

As the town is very small, the only practical means of getting around is by foot. In winter months, extreme cold can make walking deadly if not dressed appropriately.


The log-built post office at Wiseman, seen here in 1998, has been sinking into the ground for the past century, and is now a couple of feet below ground

The town contains several historic buildings. There is one family in the town which has a pack of sled dogs but have posted signs that say "Do Not Approach Dogs."


While this town is not known for gold panning, the 3rd, 4th, 14th, 17th, & 20th largest gold nuggets ever discovered in Alaska were found here (146, 137, 61, 55, & 42 oz, respectively). The latter sold for $50,000 in 2000. You may wish to try a little gold panning in the vicinity.

Other activities which the region offers include: hiking, camping, fishing, skiing, and rafting/canoeing.


There is nothing to purchase in Wiseman.


There are no restaurants or groceries in Wiseman. Anyone visiting must supply their own food and drink or head 13 miles south on the Dalton Highway to Coldfoot Camp (a restaurant/truck stop in nearby Coldfoot, AK).


There are no places in Wiseman to purchase alcohol. Drinking is not recommended as being intoxicated leads to bad judgment in a land where exposure and dangerous animals pose a grave danger to humans.


Two families offer accommodation.


Go next[edit]

  • Coldfoot Located 13 miles to the south, has an airstrip, restaurant, and a gasoline station.
  • Dalton Highway is an excellent itinerary for persons visiting the region.
Routes through Wiseman
ENDDeadhorse  N  E  ColdfootFairbanks (via )

This city travel guide to Wiseman is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.