Float the Kobuk River

Scenic image of the Kobuk River and mountains in the distance.
The Kobuk River slowly flowing through Kobuk Valley National Park.

Photo Credit: Public Domain NPS/E. Mesner

Calm Kobuk

The Kobuk River is a source of life to many in Northwest Alaska. It hosts caribou migrations, the return of salmon from the Pacific Ocean, and a waterway of transporation for the people of Northwest Alaska. Although the segment of the river which flows through Kobuk Valley National Park is not designated as wild or scenic, those who float it still find recreation, rest, and remoteness like no other with areas of bushwhacking access to the Great Kobuk Sand Dunes and unbound wilderness.
A herd of caribou swimming across the Kobuk River.
A herd of caribou swimming across the Kobuk River.

Photo Credit: Public Domain NPS/L. Ayres

Ranger Recommendation

The Kobuk River is a great place for experienced backcountry campers and intermediate in float trips. Its waters are usually slow and calm, but always check weather conditions as winds can blow upriver so furiously that visitors have had to paddle with the rivers' flow to make any progress. The Kobuk can have more traffic on it depending on the time of year one floats it with local people utilizing it for motorboat transportation and subsistence purposes via fishing and hunting. Please be respectful to all subsistence users while floating the river.
Entrance fees may apply, see Fees & Passes information.
Accessibility Information
There are no trails or facilities in Kobuk Valley National Park.

Last updated: December 7, 2017