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Alakanuk is located in the western part of Alaska, at the east entrance of Alakanuk Pass, the major southern channel of the Yukon River. The village is part of the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge. Alakanuk is inhabited by Central Yup'ik Eskimo villagers, whose ancestors moved to the site in 1899.

Alakanuk is a Yup'ik word meaning "wrong way," relating to the village's maze of watercourses.

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