Kobuk Valley – Alaska

Kobuk Valley National Park is one of the most unique places in Alaska. It is located in Northwestern Arctic Alaska which is above the Arctic Circle. Running along side the park is the Kobuk River. It is one of the major rivers of Northwestern Alaska and is about 350 miles long. There are no roads or trails in the park or even remotely close, so the preferred way of travel is by paddling the Kobuk River.

The park is very isolated and is the least visited park in the United States. The only humans that visitors see when they are there are the Inupiaq Eskimos. They hunt for their food, which is caribou, along the Kobuk River. Around 400,000 caribou migrate to Kobuk Valley National Park every year. Watching the caribou swim across the river is one of the most amazing sights to witness. There is an increasing population of moose in the park. 25 species of fish and 83 species of birds are found within the Kobuk Park. Grizzly and black bears are also found within the region, along with wolves, coyotes, and foxes.

In the summer months the temperatures can reach north of 100 degrees, but this is unusual. Most of the summer months are cool and mild. Kobuk National Park experiences 24 hours of daylight in the summer. The winters are extremely harsh and dark. The Kobuk River usually freezes by late September and thaws by early June. Winter travel to Kubok National park is generally recommended for those experienced in camping and survival technique.

Large and small sand dunes are located within the park because of the grinding action of ancient glaciers which produced dust that was carried by the wind to the valley. The dunes cover nearly 200,000 acres of land. They are mostly vegetated by tundra and forest. 3 active sand dunes exist in the park. The Baird Mountains and Waring Mountains surround Kubok Valley National Park. The mountains range in height from 2500 to 4760 feet. The great sand dunes and large mountains are some of what make the park so unique.

Kobuk National Park has some great sights and is a great place for outdoor enthusiasts. Some of the activities that individuals participate in when visiting the park are boating, fishing, camping, backpacking, stargazing, observing the wildlife, and photography. The Onion Portage Site is one of the most important archeological sites in the Arctic. There is much history within the site. It documents the progression of human camps spanning around 12,500 years. Visitors can float down the river on motorboats, enjoy a flight seeing tour, or go birding. There are no outside amenities at the park. The information center is opened year around, but is closed on holidays. The hours of operation vary depending on the season.

There are no entrance fees into the park. All individuals 16 years of age and older who desire to go fishing are required to have a fishing license. Visitors must bring their own food. Also, there is no first aid kit in the park. The nearby villages of Amber and Kiana offer seasonal, overnight lodging. Kobuk National Park is a great place to visit. It is a place where people can go and enjoy nature at its finest.