Rafting on the upper
Preserve/Gates of the Arctic National Park
The Noatak is an excellent float for the novice. The upper Noatak
is characterized by scenic mountains opening to wide tundra valleys.
Then floaters enter canyons and the mountains of the western Brooks
range. There is excellent fishing for grayling, arctic char, and chum
salmon (July and August). Wildlife viewing opportunities include caribou,
brown bears, moose, wolves, fox, sometimes Dall sheep are observed
in the canyons, nesting tundra birds, falcons and hawks. We drop people
off with collapsible canoes or rafts in the upper Noatak, and pick
people up lower on the Noatak, at Kelly River. We recommend people
plan on a minimum of 10 days for a leisure float. We have had groups
spend up to three weeks floating the entire river.
Upper Kobuk River
(Gates of the Arctic Preserve)
The most popular stretch to float is from the headwaters via Walker
Lake to the village of Kobuk. The scenery is spectacular and floating
easy except for one stretch of rapids which some folks chose to portage
around. Fishing opportunities exist for sheefish, grayling and whitefish.
There are a number of different pick up sites available, depending
on how far down river people choose to float. Scheduled flights and
lodging are available at villages along the Kobuk.
Located in BLM wilderness, close to Kotzebue, the Squirrel River is
also a good novice floating river. Hiking opportunities from the river
are excellent. Water levels in side tributaries may be too low for
floating during some portions of the summer. Fishing for grayling
and whitefish is excellent. There is also a late Arctic char run.
Wildlife commonly observed during the summer includes brown bears
and moose. Large numbers of caribou often migrate through the area
in the spring and fall. People should plan on spending 3-7 days.
Located in the Selawik National Wildlife Refuge, the river offers
excellent fishing (pike, sheefish) and birding. Wildlife in the area
includes moose, brown and black bears and many other furbearers.
ALASKA ON YOUR OWN
c/o Northwestern Aviation
PO Box 1010 Kotzebue, AK 99752