Beginning on the south side of the Arctic Divide in the Central Brooks Range, the John River flows 145 miles through alpine tundra and forested valleys. From its headwaters on Soakpak Mountain, it flows south through Anaktuvuk Pass, an important migration route for the Western Arctic caribou herd. The scenery is outstanding throughout the entire river valley, with the jagged peaks of the Enclicott Mountains rising from the spruce-covered valley.
Explore many tempting side valleys and tributaries, or spend a couple weeks in the watershed, hiking and floating. At Anaktuvuk Pass, the fiver is at 2,200 feet in elevation. Where it empties into the Koyukuk River about 5 miles downriver from Bettles, the elevation is less than 600 feet The river can be divided into three floatable sections. The upper section is suitable for experienced paddlers; the middle section, from Hunt Fork Lake, is the most popular section and is suitable for paddlers with intermediate skills. The lower section is a great family float.
© 2008 Karen Jettmar/Menasha Ridge Press. All Rights Reserved.