Noatak River

Noatak river winding through a broad valley on a cloudy day.

NPS Photograph

This river drains the largest mountain ringed river basin in America that is still virtually unaffected by human activities. However, this high-use area is a designated wilderness concern. Vegetation around lakes at the various put-in and take-out points is being destroyed and the impact is detracting from the area's wild character. After arriving, move directly to the river to camp on gravel bars. Use existing trails between lakes and the river. Do not build fires on the tundra.


Approximate Length

65 mi / 104 km — *The Noatak River continues for another 265 mi / 426 km through Noatak National Preserve

Scenic Quality

Glacial valley with snowcapped peaks

Recreational Opportunities

One of the longest designated wild rivers in Alaska; good floating, sightseeing, and wildlife viewing opportunities.

Geologic Features

Mount Igikpak and Schwatka Mountains of west-central Brooks Range; narrow glacial valley

Natural Resources

Plentiful caribou, Dall sheep, grizzly bear, and several species of raptors

Cultural Resources

Transportation route by natives for thousands of years

Noatak River location map.

NPS Image

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