Kobuk River

Kobuk, Alaska

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From headwaters on the southern slopes of the Arrigetch Peaks, the Kobuk's 347-mi1e course lies north of and just about parallel to the Arctic Circle. This normally clearwater stream begins swiftly, flowing through tall forests of birch and white spruce for about 40 miles before joining an unnamed tributary originating at Walker Lake. Rarely is the upper 30 miles of the Kobuk floated; most trips begin at Walker Lake or below the Upper and Lower Kobuk River canyons. In the upper Kobuk (its name means "big river") and its tributaries, hiking opportunities are excellent. The trees are widely spaced and the forest floor forms a soft mat of lichens. The upper and middle regions are scenically spectacular. South of the river lie the windsculpted Kobuk Sand Dunes, covering more than 25 square miles, and beyond, the rounded hills of the Waring Mountains offer a contrast to the snow-capped peaks to the north. Downriver, willows create short, entangled, near-impenetrable jungle.

Kobuk River Professional Review and Guide

"From headwaters on the southern slopes of the Arrigetch Peaks, the Kobuk's 347-mi1e course lies north of and just about parallel to the Arctic Circle. This normally clearwater stream begins swiftly, flowing through tall forests of birch and white spruce for about 40 miles before joining an unnamed tributary originating at Walker Lake. Rarely is the upper 30 miles of the Kobuk floated; most trips begin at Walker Lake or below the Upper and Lower Kobuk River canyons.

In the upper Kobuk (its name means "big river") and its tributaries, hiking opportunities are excellent. The trees are widely spaced and the forest floor forms a soft mat of lichens. The upper and middle regions are scenically spectacular. South of the river lie the windsculpted Kobuk Sand Dunes, covering more than 25 square miles, and beyond, the rounded hills of the Waring Mountains offer a contrast to the snow-capped peaks to the north. Downriver, willows create short, entangled, near-impenetrable jungle."

Activity Type: Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing
Nearby City: Kobuk
Distance: 125
Duration: 6-7 days
Class: Class I-V
Season: June through end of September
Additional Use: Boating
Local Contacts: Kobuk Valley National Park; Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve; private; NANA Regional Corporation. The Kobuk is a National Wild River.
Driving Directions: Directions to Kobuk River

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May 2018