Ruby is a tiny Athabascan village situated in Alaska’s rugged and beautiful interior, on the south bank of the Yukon River and the northwestern tip of the Nowitna National Wildlife Refuge, surrounded by the Kilbuck-Kuskokwim Mountains. Reached only by plane or riverboat, Ruby was once a supply point for gold miners and today provides limited services and supplies to paddlers and others floating the Yukon or visiting the refuge to the southeast.
Ruby’s current residents are Koyukon Athabascans of the Nowitna-Koyukuk band, a nomadic group who followed game with the changing seasons. Many of the 160 residents of Ruby continue practice the subsistence lifestyle of their ancestors. A visit to Ruby is not complete without a stay at Empty Nest Bed and Breakfast, where the views of the river are unbeatable and Katie Kangas, the proprietress bakes homemade bread and other scrumptious treats for her guests. Her family, like others in the area, catches, smokes and jars fish on the property, giving visitors a real taste of rural Alaskan living.
George Albert, one of the village’s most notable residents, has been crafting snowshoes from harvested local materials including birch and moose skin for nearly forty years. Leaving with a pair of his walkers or racers, is taking a piece of Alaskan history with you. One of the best times to visit Ruby is in March, when the last great race on earth, the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race passes through the village, but you’ll be certain to receive the generous hospitality and warmth from your hosts year-around!