Kobuk Valley National Park
Explore both lush forests and desolate tundra in one day at Kobuk Valley National Park. Sink your feet into the largest active sand dunes in the Arctic or cruise along pristine rivers, abundant with life.
Spanning an area of 1.7 million acres (680,000 hectares), the park consists of two separate regions, split by the Kobuk River that runs toward the Chukchi Sea. The southeastern end is predominantly forest while in the northwestern part, the ground becomes sparse as the harsh tundra takes hold.
Start your adventure at Kavet Creek just south of the river and continue downstream toward the peculiar sand dunes. Not a sight generally associated with the Arctic, these dunes spread over 25 square miles (40 square kilometers) and were formed by the grinding together of active glaciers.
Continue on from this peculiar setting to the nearby leafy woodland. A fantastic way to view this area is from the Kobuk River. Fish for salmon, pike and grayling from the banks or journey on the water in a raft or canoe. As you meander downstream, look along the shore to spot beavers, moose and bears. Depending on the season, you may even see the huge herd of caribou that migrate through the park during the year.
Back on dry land, hike through the northern part of the park beyond the Kobuk Valley. See wooly muskox grazing on the few shrubs that grow here and marvel at the huge Baird Mountains. The park’s tallest peak is Mount Angayukaqsraq at an elevation of 4,760 feet (1,450 meters).
Kobuk Valley National Park is in northwestern Alaska. The park is accessible only by plane. Private services are often necessary to get here. The park has no facilities, so take everything with you including a tent if you plan on staying overnight.