Kobuk Valley National Park Kobuk Valley National Park

Everything you Need to Know About Kobuk Valley National Park

We often forget to add national parks to our where-to-travel list, which means we miss out on the most inexpensive yet mesmerizing natural wonders to explore.

Kobuk Valley National Park is the perfect place for summarizing fun and leisure. Apart from all the other things Alaska offers its people, this national park is home to beautiful dunes and amazing scenery.

It is also home to different species of animals and Arctic culture. It stretches over 100 miles from north to east and spreads its aura everywhere it is present. 

Everything to Know About Kobuk Valley National Park

If you are wondering about what to do in this national park or what to watch out for, don’t worry, we’ve got your back. Read below!

Here is a guide to everything you must know about Kobuk Valley National Park in this piece.

Kobuk Valley National Park
Lloyd Wallin Photography / Shutterstock.com

Kobuk Valley National Park

During the last ice age of America, some inhabitants considered the lone survivors called the Kobuk Valley their home. This was the first time it gained human interceptions down the south.

Following this was the advent of the Kobuk River. The Kobuk River, which is believed to have been nearly 9,000 years old, had a slight bend which was first known as the Onion Portage.

The part that made headlines was the Arctic Caribou Migration. Theories suggest that humans hunted these caribou herds.

The park’s headquarters is Kotzebue. Since then, this turned into a land that excited people to preserve wildlife and get abstract about the beauty of nature.

Year-round, millions of tourists and native inhabitants come here to relax and unleash themselves.

What Should you Know About Kobuk Valley National Park?

As much as the park’s thrills, here are some exciting and fun facts that you need to know about Kobuk Valley National Park.

Check them out now because you don’t want to miss this one!

Everything you Need to Know About Kobuk Valley National Park

1. It was First a National Monument

In 1978, the Kobuk Valley National Park was first proclaimed as a National Monument of the United States of America. Jimmy Carter’s then-president stated that this park would be withheld as a monument.

But things took a turnover after 2 years when it underwent boundary changes and was given the status of a National Park in 1980. Today it is considered an epic wonder located in the Arctic circle and continues to be an attraction.

2. It Derived its Name from the Kobuk River

Dating back to the origin of this enormous National Park, the word Kobuk was derived from the Inupiat Language.

In this language, Kobuk means “big river” and was given the name due to the river dunes and the size of the Kobuk River Valley.

3. The Caribou Migration was the Origin of the National Park

Nearly half a million Caribou migrate with the Kobuk Valley National Park as their center point each passing year.

They do their annual migration by a walk through the park and making way for going towards the tundra region of the Western Arctic Circle.

Kobuk Valley National Park
Lloyd Wallin Photography / Shutterstock.com

Many people believe that back then, native inhabitants carried forward subsistence hunting of Caribou to make fortunes. They hunted Caribou in the name of harvesting when they swam across the Kobuk River.

Even today, herds of Caribou migrate while the National Park Service authorities have restricted hunting.

4. The Great Kobuk Sand Dunes are the Top-most Attraction

The Great Kobuk Sand Dunes are one of the predominant dunes in the Arctic. The sight of brown dunes spread across unevenly is indeed a sight not worth missing out on.

Back then, the strong winds lashed the glaciers and mountains, which eventually led to a grinding action and the formation of the Great Kobuk Sand Dunes.

Life also exists in the Great Kobuk Sand Dunes as it is home to some species of animals like grizzly bears, wolves, moose, and foxes.

Apart from this, the Little Kobuk Sand Dunes are also an iconic sight to look out for.

If you are planning a fun trip with your friends and family to the Great Kobuk Sand Dunes, ensure that you are prepared to face all weather and other preventive measures offered by the Northwest Arctic Heritage Center.

  1. Hunt River Dunes

The Hunt River Dunes are also a favourite tourist spot with the other two dunes attractions. Here, you can see shifting sands and epic views of dune fields. Trust us, this is a beautiful sight!

6. It is Amongst the Least Visited National Parks

Although it has a lot to offer its people, most visitors don’t make their way to the park. Because of the large-scale wildlife present here, visitors don’t prefer to make their way here.

It is the least visited park in Alaska. To get more people to visit here, there is unlimited visitor access. However, it remains a mystery.

7. The Mountain Range is Something you Should Look Out for

The Mountain Ranges give all tourists beautiful locations to relax and enjoy themselves.

The surrounding area consists of the Baird mountains and the Waring mountains, which gives all tourists the aura of positivity.

pexels rachel claire 7263548
Photo by Rachel Claire on Pexels

Most tourists suggest that the views of the Waring Mountain Ranges are an utmost delight. Knowing that the place is very delightful, you could also go hiking with your friends for a trip.

8. National Park Service Controls it

Ever since it was taken down as a monument, the United States of America government has put Kobuk Valley National Park under the direct control of the National Park Service.

Since the Kobuk Valley is so vulnerable to wildlife and nature, the National Park Service manages all affairs of the park without any compromise on satisfying nature and the tourists who are visiting.

The National Park Service is known for its top-class security and managerial skills in national heritage sites, monuments, and National Parks. 

9. The Kobuk Valley has a Lot of Internal Features

Not just looks great from the outside, but the Kobuk Valley has many internal natural sites that are incredibly pleasurable. Some of them are the Boreal Forest, Salmon River, and forests with treeless tundra.

Again, the cleanliness and quality are preserved by the National Park Service. Other popular features inside Kobuk Valley National Park include Ahnewetut Creek and other hiking trails.

10. The Park is Open to Backcountry Camping

The mountainous region is filled with tons of adventure. This is why the Kobuk Valley National Park opened its doors to backcountry camping for all thrill-seekers.

Camp in Kobuk valley National Park
Western Arctic National Parklands / Flickr

The hiking trails that go up north are present here to give you a great experience as you get views of the surrounding Kobuk River and the surrounding broad valley.

It is also home to some remote landscapes that will give you sights of the wildlife and nature around you. If you are in Alaska and have plans to go hiking trails, you should check this place out!

11. The Air Taxi is a Must-See!

There is no road access to the Kobuk Valley National Park, so the management offers its tourists air taxis!

All visitors love this Air Taxi as you get scenic views of the surrounding area. The Air Taxis see significant progress during July when the rainy season takes over.

The Air Taxi service is located from Anchorage to Kotzebue during summer because the summer temperatures are suitable for Air Taxi to transport easily. This acts as a transition zone where tourists can quickly get to the Kobuk Valley National Park.

They are replaced by planes and snowmobiles during winter as they have better resistance toward faster travel. Planes also have their starting points in Anchorage.

12. Other Things to do in Kobuk Valley National Park

Apart from the scenic views, you can do many other things in Kobuk Valley National Park. Some of them are:

(a) Boating

If you are someone who wants to have fun in life, try boating your way through the Kobuk Valley National Park.

The Kobuk River also allows its visitors to go boating and explore the surrounding places. The Onion Portage history can also be traced when you explore by boat.

(b) Fishing

Alaska is known for the profound varieties of fish that it offers to its people. In the Kobuk Valley National Park, fishing is allowed.

This gives the tourists a great experience as they see new species of fish.

(c) Wildlife Watching

The southern portion of the park is home to exotic animals and birds. Wildlife watching is appreciated and is subsequently monitored by the National Park Service. You can also do wildlife photography if you want.

(d) Skiing

Skiing is open to the public only during the winter season. The large square miles of the park are covered with snow on the mountains, making it a perfect skiing destination for all.

When to Visit the Kobuk Valley National Park?

Summer is the perfect time to visit here as you can be assured that you will not miss out on a single thing during the season. Most tourists say that the June-July window also sees many visitors coming here.

Snow breaks out during the September-October window and appeals to all adventure seekers. The Caribou migration takes place in August. So if you want to get views of that, you could go here during that time.

However, summer is the right time for one to visit the park.

Kobuk Valley National Park

Now you Know Everything!

You can now rant to your friends about all these facts about Kobuk Valley National Park and make yourself feel like you’re over the moon.

Everyone needs to develop knowledge about different things, and you should be proud because you did it today!

If you are getting to the national park, make sure you are prepared to face any consequences and always carry your essentials here. You could always have a word with the forest rangers for any advice or suggestions about the park.

Unlike other national parks like the Denali National Park, this one will give you thrills and a whole new experience as you can also see the northern lights sparkling their way.

We hope this article helped you find out everything about this National Park. If it did, we are happy to help! Happy Travelling!

Also, check out the different types of salmon in Alaska.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is Kobuk Valley National Park famous for?

The renowned Onion Portage ancient site, a National Historic Edifice, and the birthplace of the Arctic Woodland Civilization are both located in Kobuk Valley National Park.

2. Can you visit the Kobuk Valley National Park?

It requires some effort to get here, but it’s valuable it for the landscape and tranquillity. Consider hiring a pilot to get there since there are no roadways or paths.

You can then either stop and explore a bit or perform an overflight.

3. How much does it cost to go to Kobuk Valley National Park?

The park doesn’t charge a fee to visit, but your travelling charges may be high depending upon where you arrive.

Click here to read more.

Last Updated on March 13, 2023 by Laveleena Sharma