The old town of Bettles is located seven miles from Bettles Field and sits on the Koyukuk River in the Alaskan Arctic. It was founded in 1898 during the gold rush by Gordon Bettles who built a trading post here. He sold supplies to the Koyukuk stampeders who came in search of gold and it soon became the northern terminal of the Koyukuk River barge line. Local history tells of an early freeze that led to sixty steamboats getting stuck and left over nine hundred people stranded for the winter. Three hundred of them decided to stick it out, very few ever returned to endure another but the town was firmly established through the incident. The trading post was in operation between 1901 to 1956.
In the summer a twenty minute boat ride from the new settlement brings you to the mosquito friendly place where the Arctic forests all but take over. In the winter its a different story, accessible only by snow machine, the town lies buried under a blanket of thick snow. Old artifacts peak through cracked windows and the snow pushes through the open doors of the cabins. The temperatures at the height of winter can go dip as low as -60. This is no place for the faint of heart.