ANVIL ROCK, elevation 1062.

  • Difficulty: Easy, though you gain about 600 feet of elevation.

  • Distance: About 1 mile, round trip.

Nome’s original name was "Anvil City," after this distinctive rock, some 4 miles north of downtown. You can drive to it, but why would you want to, when a hike to the summit takes you through one of the world’s most renowned wildflower locations.

From Nome, drive north onto the Teller Road. After the road curves west, about 3-1/2 miles from town, watch for a turn to the right, labeled "Glacier Creek Road." If you pass Nome-Beltz High School, you’ve gone ¼ mile too far. Glacier Creek Road takes you directly onto Anvil Mountain.

After the road veers left (west) along the side of the hill, look for a convenient place to park. For the safety of others, ensure that your parked vehicle is well visible from both directions.

Hike directly up, avoiding rocky and steep areas. At the top, you’ll enjoy an excellent view of the Kigluaik Mountains to the north, as well as the entire Nome basin.

Around the rock you’ll notice concrete, remains of a World War II gun emplacement. To the east are the four huge parabolic antennas of the White Alice Communications System, which the Air Force built in 1957 and turned off 14 years later. This connected arctic missile radar sites with Fairbanks via several hops. The easternmost antennas (one of which is currently used as an amateur radio repeater) point to Granite Mountain, in the central Seward Peninsula. The western antennas communicated with Northeast Cape on St. Lawrence Island, which then relayed signals to Tin City, about 90 miles northwest of Nome. The Anvil Mountain location could communicate with Tin City directly, but a beam from Anvil Mountain would have continued over Soviet territory and would have been vulnerable to Russian interception. 

By:Tom Busch