The Noatak River
As one of North America's largest mountain-ringed river basins, the Noatak River supports an intact, unaltered ecosystem. Adventurous travelers can float this wild and scenic river from its headwaters in Gates of the Arctic National Park to its outlet at Kotzebue Sound. It is also possible to arrange for an aircraft pick-up at various locations inbetween. Although largely characterized by gentle, slow-moving waters, boaters should be prepared to deal with challenges, particularly in the headwaters area.
The terrain along much of the Noatak River is vast and open, providing ample opportunities for viewing wildlife and exploring the flora of the arctic tundra.
Some local residents have private inholdings within the preserve boundary, many of which are located along the banks of the Noatak River. Be respectful of private property and avoid trespassing.
Local access to camps is often by motorized boat. Throughout the summer and fall, visitors may encounter individuals engaged in subsistence activities such as hunting, fishing and berry picking. It is customary to be courteous and exchange greetings.
Did You Know?
The Western Arctic caribou herd is comprised of about 370,000 caribou, making it North America’s largest. These “nomads of the north” travel through Noatak National Preserve twice a year during their long trek between southern wintering areas and northern calving grounds.