Gates of the Arctic National Park, Alaska

Gates of the Arctic National Park, Alaska

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Koyukuk River

The Koyukuk River is not just the historic site of one of Alaska’s major gold rushes, it remains an enticing destination for latter-day travelers to Northern Alaska. Located within the Gates of the Arctic National Park, the Koyukuk draws campers, salmon fishers, birdwatchers, backpackers, kayakers and rafters. The surrounding area is full of wildlife, including grizzly bears and the largest migrating caribou herd in Alaska. As in most parts of Gates of the Arctic, access is only by plane, boat or snow vehicles, and vacationers should plan on a self-sustaining two-week camping stay as there are no facilities of any kind for miles. Remote and pristine, the Koyukuk River is a gem of the arctic and a unique destination for eco-travelers and hardy families alike.

Address: Gates of the Arctic National Park, Alaska

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URL: http://www.nps.gov/gaar/koyukukriver.htm
Hours: Year-round
Price: Free

Boreal Mountain

Gates of the Arctic National Park is so remote and virtually unknown to travelers that only a few of its landmarks have even been given names – but Boreal Mountain is one of them. Primarily a destination for mountain climbers, or “peak-baggers,” Boreal Mountain is still the setting for a lovely green river valley, perfect for wilderness camping, hiking and fishing. Like most areas in Gates of the Arctic, Boreal Mountain can only be reached by plane, boat or by hiking in. Local outfitters bring travelers in for one to two-week camping stays, but groups planning to visit should nonetheless be well-accustomed to rugged conditions. Once at the mountain, it’s easy to see why it was worth the effort: Thousands of years of glacial movement, water and geothermal activity have carved a wildly varying landscape of towering cliffs, winding rivers and dramatic vistas, full of migrating birds, minks, bear and thousands of migrating caribou. Boreal Mountain may be a most unusual vacation destination, but one to treasure forever.

Address: Gates of the Arctic National Park, Alaska

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URL: http://www.nature.nps.gov/geology/parks/gaar/index.cfm
Hours: Year-round
Price: Free

Kobuk Wild River

Far, far away from the relative bustle of other Alaskan destinations, the peaceful Kobuk River is a delightful destination for travelers planning to explore the American arctic. Located within Kobuk Valley National Park, the river traverses 350 miles of tundra and mountains, attracting fishermen, campers and floaters. Boating and rafting are two of the more popular activities. Only accessible by boat, plane or snow vehicles, a packing concession is probably the best way to get to and stay at the Kobuk. Unlike other national parks, there are no facilities anywhere near and even the visitor center is well outside the park. But what it lacks in services it makes up for in unspoiled wilderness, fantastic wildlife spotting and superb hiking. The Kobuk River is remote in distance but close to the heart of travelers who have come to this unique and beautiful Alaskan getaway.

Address: Gates of the Arctic National Park, Alaska

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URL: http://www.nps.gov/gaar/historyculture/kobuk-gold-rush.htm
Hours: Year-round
Price: Free

John River

The John River is one of the major waterways that bisect Gates of the Arctic National Park, and for travelers to this remote Alaskan wilderness, offers a cross-section of the area’s best features and ecosystems. Located within the arctic circle, the John River is only accessible by plane or boat, and most visitors hire a packing service to take them there for several days’ camping. The river meanders between majestic glacier-carved mountains and skirts tundra full of wildlife, such as minks, bear and caribou. River rafting is popular here, if a nearly-empty wild preserve can be said to be popular, and local outfitters can provide this service as well. A family floating trip down the John River would be a vacation to remember indeed.

Address: Gates of the Arctic National Park, Alaska

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URL: http://www.nps.gov/gaar/johnriver.htm/index.htm
Hours: Year-round
Price: Free

Frigid Crags

Frigid Crags, along with Boreal Mountain, forms one of the two “gates” of Gates of the Arctic National Park, one of the world’s most remote and beautiful travel destinations. Located within Alaska’s arctic circle, Frigid Crags is known to mountain climbers as one of the area’s to-do peaks, but it’s also a dramatic backdrop to wilderness campers seeking uncrowded, pristine surroundings of the utmost wild beauty. The valley below Frigid Crags is surprisingly lush, with lots of flat space along the river for camping, hiking, birdwatching and fishing. There are no services anywhere however, and visitors are expected to know how to take care of themselves in the wild for days at a time. In fact the only way to get here is by plane or boat. Hiring a local packing outfit is the best way to see this unique place. Unknown to most, Frigid Crags is a travel destination worth traveling to, and one to savor.

Address: Gates of the Arctic National Park, Alaska

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URL: http://www.nature.nps.gov/geology/parks/gaar/index.cfm
Hours: Year-round
Price: Free

Tinayguk River

Clear, winding Tinayguk River is one of the more remote streams in the already remote Gates of the Arctic National Park, a choice destination for travelers who have already committed to a trip to the arctic circle. The Tinayguk is only a few feet deep and is considered one of the least-traveled, high-quality whitewater rivers in the park, perfect for kayakers and rafters. This 20-foot-wide channel makes its way through a mountain divide and offers heart-pounding Class II and Class III rapids, so it’s not for beginners. The shore is rocky but flat in places, and makes a good spot for camping and some of the best fishing in Alaska. Hard to find and hard to forget, Tinayguk River is for the adventurous at heart.

Address: Gates of the Arctic National Park, Alaska

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URL: http://www.nps.gov/gaar/tinaygukriver.htm
Hours: Year-round
Price: Free

Arctic Wild Adventure Trips

For those planning a trip to the Alaskan wilderness, Arctic Wild Adventure Trips can take visitors to a number of destinations in the arctic circle for a maximum of enjoyment and a minimum of worry. One- to three-week fully outfitted trips can be scheduled for Gates of the Arctic National Park, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the Copper and Yukon rivers, Katmai National Park and even the Aleutian Islands. Expert guides take small groups by boat to base camps for photography, wildlife-spotting, backpacking, rafting, canoeing and custom itineraries. Family tours have accommodated travelers from six to 94 years old, though preparation and foreknowledge of wilderness camping is a must. Food preparation and camp setup by the guides help visitors relax and enjoy what they came for: A pure, perfect experience of the Alaskan wild. Arctic Wild Adventure Trips provide a great way for families to see and do it all.

Address: Fairbanks, Alaska 99708

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URL: http://www.arcticwild.com/
Hours: Hours vary depending on activity. For details, check schedule.
Price: Charges vary by activity. For details, check prices.

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