Small in size, the town of McGrath is actually an important hub in the Kuskokwim area. Located on the Kuskokwim River, 221 miles northwest of Anchorage and 269 miles from Fairbanks, McGrath was originally occupied by the Athabascan people and used as a seasonal meeting spot, with about half of the current population of roughly 400 people being of Alaska Native descent.
The town was established as a trading post in 1904, and gold was discovered there in 1906. Its convenient river location made it easily accessible for riverboats, and it quickly became an established trading and supply stop. The nearby Iditarod Trail brought hundreds of people through McGrath throughout the 1920's, as they made their way to the Ophir Gold District. In 1940, an airstrip was built by the FAA and in 1975, the town was incorporated.
McGrath today still serves as an economic center for the area. Available activities include hunting, fishing, boating, skiing, mountain biking, snow machining and dog mushing. Racing, both animal and mechanical, is a big part of McGrath's life and history, as it serves as a major checkpoint for both the Iditarod Sled Dog Race and the Iron Dog Snowmachine Race. There are restaurants and lodges available for those wishing to explore the area further and enjoy the outdoor adventures offered.
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