The Gates of the Arctic National Park in Alaska is not for the faint-hearted. Temperatures in winter plunge to -50C (-60F), and winter lasts a whole eight months. There are no established roads or trails either leading to the park or within the park itself, so access is on foot or by air taxi only. The few visitors – there are only 4,000 a year - need sound preparation and experience in survival techniques to cope with the inhospitable climate.
Once there, though, the park offers endless possibilities for backpacking and hiking, rafting and canoeing. The short summer brings a proliferation of insects and plants, which attract migrating birds and mammals such as caribou, grizzly and black bears, arctic ground squirrels, voles and lemmings, making it attractive to keen wildlife spotters.