Kobuk Valley National Park

Kobuk Valley National Park Overview

Kobuk Valley National Park is located in northwest Alaska, just west of Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve. 400,000 caribou migrate across the park between breeding grounds year round. Bears, wolves, Dall sheep, and other mammals share the park with these caribou. Similar to Gates of the Arctic, there are no roads into or within the park so visitors must arrive by air taxi. Since the park is above the arctic circle, the sun does not set from June to July each year. Backpacking and float trips are both great ways to experience the vast wilderness if you’re able to make it to this beautiful part of the country.

Nearest Metro AreaFairbanks, AK
Area Size1,750,716 acres
EstablishedDecember 2, 1980
Hiking Trails0 miles

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*There are no established trails

Swimming the Kobuk
Swimming the Kobuk, Photo by Western Arctic National Parklands

Camping in the backcountry allows visitors to experience the best of Kobuk Valley National Park. Campers can hike through the tundra, climb the peaks of the Baird Mountains or walk across the sand at the Great Kobuk Sand Dunes. Hiking is easier in the mountains, where the ground is drier and less spongy. Planes cannot land high up in the mountains, so talk with your pilot about landing at lower elevations or on the river and then hiking up to the ridgelines. The mountains are quite a distance from the valley and accessing the mountains from the river is a trek over tundra and through patches of forest. Blazing your own trail across is possible. However, it takes much longer than hiking on firm ground and can be rough going. Plan your time and resources accordingly.

Featured Image: Mountains as Far as the Eye Can See, Photo by Western Arctic National Parklands

Don’t forget to stock up on the essentials before you plan your next hiking or camping trip! We have recommendations on: