Team Ineka

The Iditarod Trail Race Checkpoints (Even Years)

The Iditarod Trail Race Checkpoints (Even Years)

Team Ineka

The Iditarod is run every March starting in Anchorage and finishing in Nome, Alaska about 9-11 days later. The race alternates from a Northern Route (even numbered years) and a Southern Route (odd numbered years). This article describes the checkpoints on the 2010 race map.

  1. Anchorage: Population 260,283. The race began March 4, 2010 at 10 am on 4th Avenue.
  2. Willow Lake- Mile 69 Parks Highway: Population 1,838. The official race clock starts.
  3. Yenta Station: Population 8. A roadhouse-checkpoint in the Susitna Valley.
  4. Skwentna: Population 111. Located near the confluence of the Yetna and the Skwentna rivers.
  5. Finger Lake: Population 2. Kristen and Carl Dixon run this checkpoint on the eastern fringe of the the Alaska Range.
  6. Rainy Pass: Population 2. Rainy Pass Lodge on Puntilla Lake is at 1,800 feet elevation. Pass elevation is 3,1600 feet.
  7. Rohn Roadhouse: Population 0. This checkpoint is near the remains of one of the old roadhouses serving the historic Iditarod Trail mail carriers.
  8. Nikolai: Population 104. Ann Athabascan village located 40 air mils east of McGrath.
  9. McGrath: Population 423. At the confluence of the Kuskokwim and Takotna rivers, McGrath has a small, full service airport, stores and a and is the hub of the Iditarod School District. The first musher into this checkpoint gets the Spirit of Alaska Award from PenAir.
  10. Takotna: Population 50. This Athabascan village is one the favorite checkpoints and where many of the mushers take their 24-hour layover.
  11. Ophir: Population 0. A ghost town named for a nearby creek that supported placer mining. The name is a reference to the biblical Ophir thought to be the source of King Solomon’s gold.
  12. Cripple: Population 0. Same checkpoint as used by the Iron Dog snowmachine race, located at the Poorman Airstrip, close to the former gold rush boomtown of Poorman.
  13. Ruby: Population 190. Ruby developed as a supply point for gold prospectors. It was named after the red-colored stones found on the riverbank which were thought by prospectors to be rubies.
  14. Galena: Population 713. Originally a supply and trans-shipment point for lead-ore mines. Today Galena serves as the transportation and government and commercial center for the western Interior of Alaska.
  15. Nulato: Population 345. A center for missionary activity in the late 1800’s.
  16. Kaltag: Population 230. The home of Edgar Kalland, an orginal serum runner. The Iditarod Trail leaves the Yukon River here to wind up Old Woman Pass to the Bering Sea.
  17. Unalakleet: Population 747. Unalakleet has long been a major trade center as the terminus for the Kaltag Portage, an important winter travel route connection to the Yukon River. The first musher into Unalakleet gets $2,500 in gold from Wells Fargo Bank.
  18. Shaktoolik: Population 230. Just north of this wind-whipped Eskimo village, the trail leave land for the ice of the Northern Sound.
  19. Koyuk: Population 297. Koyuk marks the end of the long, treacherous sea ice travel across the Norton Sound.
  20. Elim: Population 318. The trail turns inland slightly near this Eskimo village to cross the low Kwiktalik.
  21. Golovin: Population 144. Back on the coast at Golovin, an Eskimo village, mushers face a short ice run over Golovin Bay. The rest of the race is over land.
  22. White Mountain: Population 203. An eight-hour layover is mandatory here to all the dogs to rest for the last push to Nome.
  23. Safety: Population 0. From here, the trail follows the shores of Norton Sound to Nome.
  24. Nome: Population 3,505. The race ends here under the burled arch on Font Street. Originally called Anvil City, after a nearby gold rich creek, it was once home to 30,000 miners.


  1. Farhad

    March 16, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    GPS question: In my eeripxence, once you are on the GPS page it updates automatically… the “standings” page needs to be “reloaded” to show current data.Standings: Yeah, this is a little hard to wrap your brain around… It has nothing to do with time… I repeat, NOTHING to do with time… Only what order the teams arrive at and/or leave a checkpoint… For example, if Team A arrives at a checkpoint at 5pm and parks, then Team B arrives at 5:15 and goes through, Team B will be “ahead” in the standings… This will remain “true” even though Team A departs an hour later and Team B camps a mile down the trail for five hours… UNTIL, that is, the next checkpoint when one or the other will arrive first… There is NO accounting for rest time, start differential or any other “time” issues… This is why “leapfrogging” makes it so hard to figure out who is where in the order… Those of us who are “experienced” don’t even pay attention to “standings” until after the mandatory 24 hour rests — during which the differentials are made up — and the teams have spread out enough to have a sense of who is really ahead, fast, rested, etc… Keep your eye on the teams that are consistently in the “top 10” or so, and develop a “sense” of speed, total rest, etc… It’s more art than science at this point… Okay?

    • teamineka

      March 17, 2014 at 3:08 pm

      I find it useful not to really rely on the GPS or standings until after every musher has taken their mandatory 24 at which time they add the adjusted start time. For example if there are 10 teams in the the race the first musher would leave at 24 hours 20 minutes and the 10th team would leave at exactly 24 hours.

      I think, as well as many others, that the GPS time should be calculated for time that the team is actually moving. This is how GPS functionality is supposed to work but I think that could become a logistical nightmare for the race organization.

      GPS’s/SPOT Trackers have always been a tough way for fans to follow the race and in my opinion it is both good and bad for the sport.

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