|a l a s k a j o u r n e y . c o m|
Location/Size: 1.71 million acres, approximately 75 miles east of Kotzebue.
Main Activities: Camping, hiking, backpacking, wildlife observation, rafting, canoeing, kayaking.
Gateway Towns/Getting There: Kotzebue/via scheduled air service from Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Nome. Park access: scheduled air service to Kobuk River villages (Kiana, Kobuk, Ambler), then up or downstream by river; chartered small aircraft; via snowmachine in winter.
Facilities, Camping, Lodging: No facilities. Primitive camping only.
Headquarters and Information: Headquarters, P.O. Box 1029, Kotzebue, AK 99752, 442-8300, www.nps.gov/kova. Public Lands Information Center, P.O. Box 1029, Kotzebue, AK 99752, 442-3890 (open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily in summer).
Contiguous with Noatak National Preserve in the north and Selawik National Wildlife Refuge to the south, Kobuk Valley National Park preserves the heart of the Kobuk River valley, the low Waring Mountains in the south, and a portion of the Baird Mountains of the Brooks Range in the north. The Waring Mountains are protected by the parallel strips of the parks Kobuk Valley Wilderness and Selawik National Wildlife Refuges Selawik Wilderness. The Salmon Rivera designated national wild river well suited to kayaking and canoeingflows from near the crest of the Baird Mountains south to the Kobuk. The towns of Ambler to the east and Kiana to the west are both on the relatively placid Kobuk River, providing ideal put-in and take-out points for floats through the length of the park.
The famous Great Kobuk Sand Dunes are located a moderate hike south of the Kobuk River in the heart of the park. Along with the Little Kobuk Sand Dunes and other smaller dune areas, these dunes cover about 25 square miles of parkland and reach heights of 100 feet. The dunes are maintained and moved about by the high winds that frequent the valley. Relict plant species dating to the Pleistocene are found in the park where conditions are similar to those of the recent ice age.
Prepare for wet, windy, and wild conditions if you plan a visit. Consult with park officials, outfitters, and pilots about routes, float distances and times, and access. Remember to respect subsistence activities, camps, fishnets, and other gear of the native people who use the area.