Tenting World’s Information to RVing Kobuk Valley Nationwide Park

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Tantalizing for backcountry adventurists, RVing Kobuk Valley Nationwide Park is a little bit of a problem – you’ll want a base camp in Anchorage or Fairbanks. When you’re within the park, you’ll be immersed within the Arctic Circle’s huge mountain landscapes, forests, rivers, an astounding abundance of wildlife, and each climate anomaly identified to mankind. 

Sure, this 1.75-million sq. mile nationwide park acts as a palette for a few of Mom Nature’s most superb handiwork, but it can’t be explored by standard means. Guests should enter and exit by bush aircraft, as no roads section this unchecked surroundings. 

The additional effort required to look into the key world of the Kobuk Valley is actually outweighed by the rewards acquired. Right here’s our information to visiting Kobuk Valley Nationwide Park.

Why Go to Kobuk Valley Nationwide Park?

Peat Bogs at Kobuk Valley National Park
Photograph Credit score: NPS

Kobuk Valley Nationwide Park is an expertise exterior the norm, attracting those that are decided to discover the wilderness with out the trimmings of right now’s conveniences. Self-reliance is a should right here, however ready adventurers will take pleasure in experiences you actually can’t discover wherever else on Earth. 

An RV could make it to Anchorage or Fairbanks however should take a bush aircraft into the park from there. Guests who put Kobuk Valley on their checklist of locations to go to ought to be avid explorers skilled in backcountry tenting and security, as there aren’t any providers inside the park.  

Groceries, medicines, and equipment for inclement climate should be introduced alongside, and there aren’t any campgrounds, roads, or potable water. In different phrases, self-sufficient adventurers will expertise the journey of a lifetime right here.

When to Go to Kobuk Valley Nationwide Park

The park is open year-round, however the very best time to go to is from late June to late July. Even then, your journey plans might be dictated by climate techniques. Plan further days for inclement situations, as they decide whether or not a aircraft can get you and your gear into or out of the park.

Select what season you wish to discover, however do not forget that snow and chilly temperatures can happen any month of the yr. There’s potential for hypothermia and different cold-related diseases year-round, so be ready with the right clothes and equipment. 

Kobuk Valley Nationwide Park within the Spring

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Photograph by BlueBarronPhoto by way of Shutterstock

Snow and ice can nonetheless cowl the park all through a lot of the spring, particularly at excessive elevations. March highs common within the teenagers, with highs remaining close to freezing all through April and at last climbing into the excessive 40s and low 50s by the top of Could. 

By way of cloud cowl, this is without doubt one of the clearer occasions of the yr, making it a very good choice for guests wishing to see the Northern Lights. Common sunlight hours in March are 11.9, with that quantity climbing to twenty.6 hours by Could. 

Kobuk Valley Nationwide Park within the Summer time

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Photograph by BlueBarronPhoto by way of Shutterstock

Summer time offers numerous alternatives for exploration, because the solar doesn’t set from June third via July ninth. A bright-colored tent could make it arduous for a lot of guests to sleep, and plenty of convey a darkish eye masks as an support. 

Summer time highs common within the mid-60s, nevertheless it’s not unusual for daytime temperatures to succeed in the 80s in July. Even within the coronary heart of summer time, chilly temperatures, wind, rain, clouds, and even snow are attainable. 

Kobuk Valley Nationwide Park within the Fall

The Kobuk River at Kobuk Valley National Park
Photograph Credit score: NPS

Fall can arrive in Kobuk Valley within the early weeks of August, with the potential of snow rising as September creeps nearer. November is usually the snowiest month of the yr, with a median accumulation of 8.1 inches. 

August is the valley’s cloudiest month of the yr, however common temperatures stay within the mid-50s to low-60s. By November, nevertheless, the typical excessive temperature not often climbs out of the one digits.

Kobuk Valley Nationwide Park within the Winter

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Photograph by Beth Ruggiero-York by way of Shutterstock

Winter presents its personal exhilarating landscapes, however winter days are extraordinarily quick. The solar solely creeps above the horizon for 1.5 hours on the shortest day of the yr, December twenty first. Meaning a novel likelihood to expertise prolonged twilight hours and the Northern Lights, that are most seen on the darkest winter nights.

The place to Keep

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Photograph by NPS

There aren’t any campgrounds inside Kobuk Valley Nationwide Park. There aren’t even any roads to the park, a lot much less inside it. Nonetheless, cities like Fairbanks have non-public campgrounds the place you might be welcome to park your RV, then hop a aircraft to the park. 

Backcountry tenting is allowed all through the park, and particular person campers will not be required to have a allow. Teams do must register, nevertheless. Come ready for every kind of climate and animal interactions – convey insect repellent and bear spray, and preserve all meals in bear-resistant containers. 

There aren’t any designated campsites, as backpackers can arrange camp wherever they enterprise. It’s strongly instructed, nevertheless, that each one guests be adept at utilizing a map, compass, and GPS.

Be taught extra about backpacking and tenting within the park.

Staying Exterior the Park

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River’s Edge RV Park Photograph by Good Sam

Listed below are just a few campgrounds you need to use to arrange an RV basecamp for explorations into Kobuk Valley: 

Anchorage

  • Anchorage Ship Creek RV Park: Providing full hookups, Wi-Fi, and quite a few out of doors facilities just some blocks from downtown Anchorage.
  • Golden Nugget RV Park: This park presents full hookups with pull-thru websites that may accommodate automobiles as much as 45 ft lengthy. 

Fairbanks

  • River’s Edge RV Park & Campground: Proper alongside the banks of the Chena River, this RV park offers full hookups, Wi-Fi, a restaurant, and a self-service RV wash. 
  • Tanana Valley Campground: This RV park presents electrical hookups, hearth pits, scorching showers, and laundry, all in a scenic forested setting.

Spend money on a Good Sam Membership and save 10% on nightly stays at Good Sam Campgrounds. 

Suggestions to your Tenting Keep

Camping at Kobuk Valley National Park
Photograph Credit score: NPS

Listed below are just a few extra suggestions for those who’re planning a backcountry journey within the park: 

  • Hone your orienteering abilities earlier than visiting the park.
  • The Nice Kobuk Sand Dunes is the most well-liked location for backcountry tenting. 
  • Mountain climbing is less complicated within the mountains as a result of the bottom is drier. Nonetheless, touchdown a aircraft at a better elevation is tougher, that means you’ll possible must agree on a decrease elevation drop zone together with your pilot earlier than mountaineering as much as ridgelines.
  • Respect non-public property and No Trespassing indicators you encounter within the park.
  • Remember that native residents can hunt and collect within the park. Be taught extra about subsistence actions in Kobuk Valley and be respectful throughout your go to.

Easy methods to Get Round Kobuk Valley Nationwide Park

Kobuk Valley National Park
Photograph Credit score: NPS

There is just one technique to entry the park: by bush aircraft. Business airways supply flights from Anchorage to Kotzebue and from Fairbanks to Bettles. From these areas, an air taxi is required to fly into the park.

Dependent upon the place you want to land, your aircraft might need wheels or floats. These with wheels can land immediately on the Nice Kobuk Sand Dunes. Floatplanes will most probably land on the Kobuk River. 

Learning topographic maps earlier than reserving an air taxi is important, as you’ll want to debate appropriate backcountry touchdown spots together with your pilot. You’ll additionally must schedule dates and occasions for pick-up together with your pilot, permitting for climate delays.

Be taught extra about season-specific journey choices in Kobuk Valley.

Locations to Go

Put these locations in your checklist to your inaugural go to to Kobuk Valley Nationwide Park:

Northwest Arctic Heritage Heart

heritage-center-rving-kobuk-valley-national-park-02-2023
Photograph by NPS

The park’s heritage middle in Kotzebue presents ranger packages, info, and a museum devoted to the Arctic ecosystem and the Inupiaq tradition. Backcountry campers can borrow bear-resistant containers and get travel-related logistics and up-to-date climate forecasts.

Nice Kobuk Sand Dunes

dunes-rving-kobuk-valley-national-park-02-2023
Photograph by BlueBarronPhoto by way of Shutterstock

With three dune fields comprising greater than 20,000 acres, the Nice Kobuk Sand Dunes are the most important lively Arctic dunes in North America. NASA actively research them to study extra in regards to the polar dunes on the planet of Mars. Bush planes on wheels can land proper on the sand, and organising a campsite here’s a breeze. Optimistically, guests will see caribou migrate or a brown bear enterprise throughout the sand.

Giddings Cabin

Gidding's Cabin Kobuk Valley National Park
Photograph Credit score: NPS

Go to this log cabin to see how archaeologist Lewis Giddings lived and explored this area for a few years, discovering the traditional cultures who hunted at Onion Portage for over 10,000 years. The cabin continues to be often occupied by scientific excavation teams however will not be open to the general public.

Issues to Do in Kobuk Valley Nationwide Park

Listed below are some concepts for methods to spend your time in probably the most distant and least visited nationwide parks in the US: 

Flight-Seeing

flightseeing-rving-kobuk-valley-national-park-02-2023
Photograph by BlueBarronPhoto by way of Shutterstock

When you don’t need to camp within the park, experiencing it from a bush aircraft is a superb choice. Most constitution firms supply flights for as much as 4 passengers, and also you’ll discover flights out of Bettles and Kotzebue. 

Wildlife viewing may also be wonderful from the sky, because the park’s animals are usually not concentrated in particular areas. Deliver your digicam or binoculars to seize lasting reminiscences or get a better take a look at the wildlife your pilot factors out. 

Mountain climbing

Dunes at Kobuk Valley National Park
Photograph Credit score: NPS

There aren’t any marked trails inside the park, however hikers could make their very own means alongside rivers and streams, throughout dunes, via the boreal forest, and into the Baird and Waring Mountains. Good orienteering abilities are needed, particularly on the dunes.

Canoeing and Kayaking

Kobuk Valley National Park
Photograph Credit score: NPS

Collapsible kayaks and canoes are a good way to expertise the Kobuk River, because the water is sluggish and shallow. Almost 61 miles of the river stream via the park, and it’s joined by the Salmon River, providing wonderful boating and floating alternatives.

When you do plan on boating, contemplate bringing your fishing gear alongside. Sheefish, salmon, grayling, Dolly varden, and pike are generally discovered within the park’s rivers. A fishing license is required, and it’s really helpful to analysis Alaska fishing laws to arrange. 

What to Deliver and Easy methods to Put together

what-to-bring-rving-kobuk-valley-national-park-02-2023
Photograph by NPS

Use these further tricks to plan and put together to your go to: 

  • Have a number of route-finding strategies. Bringing topo maps, a compass, and a GPS unit offers you a number of strategies for wayfinding within the backcountry.
  • Deliver insect repellent, bug nets, pants, and long-sleeve shirts. Alaska has an estimated mosquito inhabitants of round 17 trillion, and black flies are additionally widespread within the park all through summer time and fall. 
  • Journey with rain gear and additional layers. Be aware to remain dry, as hypothermia can happen on moist, windy days even when it could not really feel significantly chilly.
  • Respect wildlife and follow Depart No Hint. Know methods to retailer your meals correctly to guard your self and wildlife. Give moose, black bears, and grizzly bears a respectful distance for those who encounter them within the backcountry. 
  • Get high quality gear. A real 4-season tent, a heat hat, a high-quality rain jacket, and many others. Don’t skimp on gear once you’re visiting a park with the potential for excessive climate. 
  • Carry further. Climate may cause delays for bush aircraft pilots. Carry further provides for those who should wait hours or days for the climate to clear for a backcountry pickup. 

Examine the Nationwide Park Service’s web site for extra essential security info when planning your go to to Kobuk Valley.

Temporary Historical past of Kobuk Valley Nationwide Park

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Photograph by NPS

Though it didn’t turn into a nationwide park till December 1980, indicators of man have been discovered at Onion Portage in Kobuk Valley Nationwide Park courting again over 10,000 years. In reality, 9 totally different cultures have hunted or resided within the space over that point, which is superb contemplating the local weather inside the Arctic Circle. 

It’s straightforward to see why they chose this portion of the park to inhabit. Yearly, 250,000 caribou that make up the Western Arctic Caribou Herd migrate via Kobuk Valley, swimming the river at Onion Portage on spring and fall migrations. That is the place looking is best, because the animals are slowed by the water passage.

The land is encircled by mountain ranges however has the Arctic’s largest deposits of sand, with three totally different dune fields that proceed to develop, continuously on the transfer. Constant moisture virtually each month of the yr ensures all kinds of vegetation, together with peat bogs that may be noticed smoking after intense lightning storms. 

Wildlife like grizzly bears, moose, wolves, and Dall sheep wander the countryside, at dwelling on this large land of tundra, forest, and peaks.


Plan your subsequent journey to the nationwide parks in an RV. Hire an RV, trade-in your RV, or purchase a brand new or used RV and begin touring for lower than $5 a day. 

Have you ever visited Kobuk Valley Nationwide Park? Share your suggestions and expertise within the feedback under.

Shelley Dennis is a journey photographer and author who threw warning to the wind and gave up most of her belongings to journey the nation in an RV. Her trusty sidekick for this lifetime journey is her Golden Retriever, Sully. You’ll find them each at www.PhotoTrippingAmerica.com



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