Where can you go to find a national park that is over 1,700,000 acres? Alaska, of course! Kobuk Valley National Park to be exact. Located in the Arctic Circle, you’ll need to plan ahead to get there, and you can guarantee that it’ll be worth it when you do.
Kobuk Valley, nestled between the Baird and Waring mountains, offers protection for geographic features such as the Little Kobuk and Hunt River Dunes and the Great Kobuk Sand Dunes. Sand dunes aren’t the only feature of Kobuk Valley National Park. Each year 500,000 caribou pass through the valley, and the historic landmark, Onion Portage, is the perfect location to watch them migrate. With archaeological sites dating back to 8,000 BC, the Onion Portage sight is reknowned for cultural heritage and as a hunting sight, since the caribou cross the river here.
Although there is no easy way to get to Kobuk Valley National Park, the best way to get there is by commercial plane, which offers daily flights from Anchorage to Kotzebue. You’ll find the visitor center in Kotzebue for any travel questions you may have. Then, you can board an air taxi to the park. If you’re thinking about when the best time to go is, we highly recommend visiting in the summer. Summer in Kobuk Valley is great because of its long day. In fact, from June 3rd until July 9th, the sun doesn’t set at all and the temperatures remain constant right around 80 degrees.
During May, you’ll find the ice breaking up on the Kobuk River, and by mid-October, it will begin to freeze again. Once August rolls around, you’ll see a lot of rain, and by September, the snow will start. So to enjoy most outdoor activities, visiting in Summer may be best.
Once you get to Kobuk Valley National Park, there are so any exciting things to see and do. Visitors have the opportunity to take a combination river-hiking trip. This will extend over a few days, so you can paddle to different locations, and hike at each place. Also popular to do on the Kobuk River are canoeing, kayaking, and motor boating, just to name a few. If you’re coming to hike, be sure to plan your trip ahead and travel with caution, as there are no marked trails or river crossings anywhere in the park. Regardless, Kobuk Valley National Park is a natural wonder that makes for a great outdoor adventure.
Are you planning a trip to Kobuk Valley National Park, or have you been there before? Tell us about it in the comments below!