Kaltag, Alaska

Yukon - Koyukuk Census Area


Kaltag is a small city in the Yukon - Koyukuk Census Area of the U.S. state of Alaska. In the census of 2000, it had 230 inhabitants with an Indian - share of just over 84%.

Kaltag is located on the right bank of the Yukon River at the foot of the Nulato Hills, 120 km west of Galena. Beyond the Yukon begins the Innoko National Wildlife Refuge.

The site forms the eastern end of the Kaltag Portage, a passage through the valley of the Unalakleet River in the coastal mountains to Unalakleet on Norton Sound, in 1925 used for the prompted by a diphtheria epidemic dogsled relay to Nome and is now part of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.


Kaltag served the Koyukon, a group of Athabaskan, as a burial place. The region was used for summer storage bins.

Was named the site of Russian explorers after a Koyukon Indians called Kaltaga.

After the purchase of Alaska from Russia, the U.S. military built a telegraph line along the northern Yukonufers. A trading post was built around 1880, just before the Gold Rush erupted from 1884 to 1885.

A measles epidemic in 1900 cost a third of the inhabitants of the region 's life. The village of Kaltag was created after the end of the epidemic, as the survivors of three neighboring villages settled there.

From the 1920s until the 1940s served as a supply station for the Kaltag transport ships of the lead mines in Galena upriver. In the 1960s created an airfield and an infirmary.

Kaltag alternates with Nulato in organizing the annual Stick Dance Festival, which keep people from the region gather to commemorate the deceased with dances.