Staged in March, the Iditarod International Sled Dog Race is a 1,100-mile run from Willow to Nome with McGrath serving as one of the important stopovers for mushers and staging points. The town comes alive during Iditarod week when the contestings passing through almost daily.
This national historic trail extended from just north of Seward, passed through Iditarod and McGrath and then ended in Nome. The trail was 1,150 miles long and reached its peak in usage in the early 1900s when freight shippers, mail haulers, miners and passengers relied on dogsleds to reach the gold rushes of Interior Alaska. The demand for accommodations quickly resulted in a string of roadhouses and dog barns along the trail at a convenient day's journey apart, roughly 20 miles.
The Iditarod National Historic Trail is also used for the Iron Dog Snowmachine Race with McGrath serving as an important stopover for food and fuel. Staged in mid February, the Iron Dog starts in Big Lake, arrives at the halfway point of Nome and finishes in Fairbanks. At 2,000 miles, the Iron Dog is the world's longest snowmobile Race.
The McGrath Museum is dedicated to the rich history of the town and explores with permanent displays on mining and the Iditarod National Historic Trail as well as traveling exhibits.
McKinley Chalet Resort