Located in eastern Alaska and bisected by the Arctic circle, Yukon Flats is the third largest of all refuges, encompassing about 12 million acres. The refuge lies in a vast inland floodplain of the Yukon River dominated by river channels and about 40,000 seasonally flooded lakes, ponds, and sloughs.
About 1.6 million ducks nest on the refuge annually, together with many thousands of other waterbirds and countless shorebirds, making Yukon Flats one of the greatest, and most consistent, water bird breeding areas in North America.
Moose, black and grizzly bear, wolves, and other furbearers are common. Refuge waters support king, silver, and chum salmon as well as pike and other fish.
Visitor use is light due to limited accessibility, but rafting, canoeing, and kayaking are popular on major rivers and pike fishing can be excellent. Athabaskan Indians and other residents in and near the refuge depend heavily upon the area's fish and wildlife for sustenance.