The 2011 Iditarod race route
I just did a little research to try to learn more about the Iditarod race route, and found this information on the official Iditarod website. I don't meant to plagiarize their content, but to share this information, so if you'd rather read it on their much longer web page, just follow this link to the Iditarod website "learn" page.
That being said, here's the specific Iditarod race route information from that page:
Anchorage is the starting line — a city of over 250,000 people, street lights, freeways and traffic. From there the field of dog teams which grow in number each year, runs to Eagle River, Checkpoint # 1.
After a restart in the Matanuska Valley at Wasilla, the mushers leave the land of highways and bustling activity and head out to the Yentna Station Roadhouse and Skwentna and then up! Through Finger Lake, Rainy Pass, over the Alaska Range and down the other side to the Kuskokwim River — Rohn Roadhouse, Nikolai, McGrath, Ophir, Cripple, Iditarod and on to the mighty Yukon — a river highway that takes the teams west through the arctic tundra.
The race route is alternated every other year, one year going north through Cripple, Ruby and Galena, the next year south through Iditarod, Shageluk, Anvik.
Finally, they’re on the coast — Unalakleet, Shaktoolik, Koyuk, Elim, Golovin, White Mountain and into Nome where a hero’s welcome is the custom for musher number 1 or 61!
The route encompasses large metropolitan areas and small native villages. It causes a yearly spurt of activity, increased airplane traffic and excitement to areas otherwise quiet and dormant during the long Alaskan winter. Everyone gets involved, from very young school children to the old timers who relive the colorful Alaskan past they’ve known as they watch each musher and his team. The race is an educational opportunity and an economic stimulus to these small Alaskan outposts.
The race is over 1,150 miles, and has historically taken roughly 16-17 days to complete, though I think the best racers are much faster these days, and finish the Iditarod race in about 10-11 days (I need to verify that, but I think it's correct).
2011 Iditarod race route - Update
For a while there I couldn't find a map of the 2011 Iditarod race route, and I was about to create my own Iditarod map using Google Maps, but then I found this race route page on the Official Iditarod website. That page has a small version of the route page from the Official 2011 Race Guide. I wish you could blow up their image to make it larger, but you can't. However, they do show the distances between the Iditarod checkpoints, so that's nice.