A Visit to Kobuk Valley National Park!

July 07, 2016 Posted by: Ranger Cait

It's not just park rangers who get to see our parks from the sky. Flightseeing is a popular activity in these remote national parks. For your own bird’s-eye view of Kobuk Valley National Park, you can either charter a private plane from Kotzebue or, if you're lucky enough to have your own plane, fly yourself.

Visitors Russell Carter and Laura Gardner recently flew from Bettles to Kotzebue, passing over Gates of the Arctic National Park and Kobuk Valley National Park. They had hoped to visit Gates of the Arctic National Park, but thunderstorms forced them to change their path. They ended up flying up the Alatna River and through the Schwatka Mountains before stopping on the Great Kobuk Sand Dunes for the night. They were kind enough to stop by the Northwest Arctic Heritage Center and share their flight with us and our blog.

We could see actively burning fires north of the Angayucham Mountains and by Iuiakuk Lake near Gates of the Arctic National Park. Very smoky back towards Walker Lake [headwaters of the Kobuk River]; the sun looked red in the haze. Very low visibility. We saw two moose wading in the Alatna River. We camped on the Great Kobuk Sand Dunes for the night; it was very buggy near the edge of the dunes and the water. No animals on the dunes, but we did see lots of old caribou antlers and bones.

river and trees with mountain in the background

North Fork of the Koyukuk River in Gates of the Arctic National Park

caribou antlers on sand dunes

Signs of the Western Arctic Caribou Herd's migration litter the Great Kobuk Sand Dunes

air plane on sand dunes

Carter's plane, a Helio Courier, on the Great Kobuk Sand Dunes. This was his first time as a pilot above the Arctic Circle.

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your adventure with us, Russell and Laura! Has anyone else seen something cool flying over our parks? We would love to know if you have.

Kobuk Valley National Park

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Last updated: July 7, 2016

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