Utqiagvik, Alaska

Photo via Flickr

Where in the West Should I Go? • 52 Places to Visit in 2022

The Whale Bone Arch is found on the beach near the Cape Smythe Whaling and Trading Station in Utqiagvik, which is home to one of the largest Inupiaq settlements in Alaska. The town of Utqiagvik (formerly called Barrow) is the northernmost town in the United States and the ninth northernmost town in the world. The arch, which is popularly known as the “Gateway to the Arctic,” is believed to have existed since the 19th century and to have been constructed out of a bowhead whale’s jawbone.

This unique destination, which is only 320 miles from the Arctic Circle, affords adventurers a spectacular view of the Arctic Ocean and beyond when they peer through this reconstructed jaw. 

Surrounding the arch, travelers can enjoy exploring the many remnants of whale bones and traditional whaling boats while they take in a gorgeous sunset, depending on the time of year.

The Whale Bone Arch is worth visiting because its impressive size and placement allow it to be the perfect backdrop for pictures. Additionally, this cultural landmark sheds some light on the Inupiat people’s traditional whaling history.  

The history of the whaling in the area where the Whale Bone Arch resides far predates this town’s inclusion in the States by centuries. This rich cultural history attracts travelers and explorers from all over the world. Although commercial whaling is prohibited, the Inupiat people are still allowed to harvest 24 whales each year, and visitors can learn more about their practices when they visit.