Kobuk Valley National Park

Agie River in Kobuk Valley National Park

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Kobuk Valley National Park

  • Where is it?: – Kotzebue, AKNational Park
  • Recreation Activities: Boating · Camping · Fishing · Hiking · Wildlife Viewing

Kobuk Valley National Park is certainly not your average Alaska national park, even though it lies 40 miles above the Arctic Circle, it’s more famous for sand dunes than igloos. There are three different clusters of sand dunes, the Little Kobuk, the Great Kobuk and the Hunt River Sand Dunes – at more than 25 square miles these are the largest area of active sand dunes in the arctic. The sand dunes play a vital role in the life and culture of the people who have  made their home in this wonderful place – Kobuk Valley National Park has half a million caribou migrating across it every year, and for 9000 years the people went to Onion Portage to hunt them as they swam across the river. This tradition still continues to this very day, although hunting is quite unusual in many National Parks, the local residents are permitted to continue to trap and hunt for continued subsistence.

Kobuk Valley National Park can get pretty windy, which isn’t pleasant in the sand dunes, so be prepared for that. The summers are short and cool (well, it is in the Arctic Circle), and although there are 24 hours of daylight for a month throughout the summer, by the beginning of December it’s down to a single hour. The area does get quite a lot of rain too, so if you’re planning on doing some back country camping and hiking, make sure that you dress warmly with lots of layers, have some sturdy walking boots as well as some waders for the wet country.

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That gives you a pretty good idea of some of the stuff you can expect to see, if you’re lucky . . .