At its narrowest point, the gap between Russia and the mainland of Alaska is 55 miles wide. However, if including the Russian-owned island of Big Diomede and the American-owned island Little Diomede, Alaska and Russia come as close as 2 1/2 miles to one another.
The body of water that separates Russia and Alaska is known as the Bering Straight. During the last ice age, Alaska and Russia were connected by a land bridge known as the Bering Straight Crossing, over which the earliest settlers of the Alaskan territory crossed. During the winter, an ice bridge connects the Big Diomede and Little Diomede islands, allowing for passage between Alaska and Russia by foot.