Noatak River & Great Kobuk Sand Dunes
Destinations Destinations
Anchorage, Noatak National Preserve, Kobuk Valley National Park, Great Kobuk Sand Dunes
Activity Activity
Family, Nature & Wildlife, Active, Trekking, Backpacking, Water Sports
Tour Type Tour Type
Group tour
Physical Level Physical Level
Season Season
June - August

Good to know

  • Operated by Alaska Alpine Adventures, the leading Alaska adventure travel specialists.
  • Max 8 people with guest to guide ratio 1:4 for safety and risk management.
  • All camping and safety equipment provided (satellite phone, maps, GPS, and medical kit).
  • Fully qualified expert mountaineering guides.
  • 24/7 support.

Spanning from the heart of the Brooks Range to the Chukchi Sea on the western coast of state, the Noatak River is home to abundant wildlife including the 500,000-strong Western Arctic Caribou Herd. The Noatak is also one of the largest wilderness river basins and also one of the longest untouched rivers on earth. With class I & II whitewater, the river is fun for both novice and experienced boaters, and the hiking along the river is simply astounding.

After six days of river life in both Gates of the Arctic and the Noatak National Preserve, you’ll make the bush flight to Kobuk Valley National Park and the Great Kobuk Sand Dunes for two full days exploring this oddity of the north. Spend the days traveling this obscure landscape with light daypacks, marveling at the stark contrast from the Noatak River to the barren landscape that makes the sand dunes as marvelous as they are unique.

Tour itinerary

What you'll see and do

Arrival to Fairbanks

Upon arrival in Fairbanks, you’ll be free to explore on your own before checking into Pike’s Waterfront Lodge, located near to the airport on the banks of the Chena River. Your guide will meet you in the late afternoon and you’ll enjoy the first evening meal with your group, getting to know each other and pouring over maps for your upcoming adventure.

Includes: dinner
Where you'll stay

Pike’s Waterfront Lodge

Fairbanks to Bettles

After breakfast in the hotel, you’ll board a bush flight to Bettles, the gateway community to Gates of the Arctic National Park. From here you’ll transfer to a floatplane for the one hour flight to Pingo Lake before setting up camp alongside the Noatak River. There may be time for a short hike into the tundra to gain a true sense of the Alaskan wilderness before an evening meal in the wilderness.

Distance: 3-5 miles. Elevation gain: 500'-1000'

Includes: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Noatak River

Spend six action-packed days floating and hiking along the Noatak River. Hikes venture into the glacially carved mountains that make up this magnificent river drainage, and the days on the river are spent scouring the hillsides for wildlife and perfecting paddling techniques with ample opportunities for photographs and fishing.

Average daily hiking distance: 6-8 miles. Average daily river distance: 15+ miles. Average daily elevation gain: 1500'-3000'

Includes: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Noatak River to Otter Bar

After hiking the last section of the Noatak River, you’ll arrive at Otter Bar - a gravel airstrip where you’ll make camp for the evening. This is the perfect opportunity to get an early night and gather together by the campfire to discuss wildlife sightings and other highlights of the previous week.

Includes: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Kobuk Valley National Park

As your small plane lifts off of the gravel runway, you’ll bid the Noatak River a fond farewell and make your way toward Kobuk Valley National Park. The Great Kobuk Sand Dune is one of three clusters of sand dunes within the national park, and is one of the least visited places in the entire national park system. With light day-packs, you’ll spend the days exploring the uniqueness of the landscape of the largest active dune field in arctic North America, returning each evening to your comfortable basecamp for a great meal and conversation.

Average daily distance: 7-10 miles. Elevation gain: 500'-1000'

Includes: breakfast, lunch, dinner

This will be your final day in the wilderness. After a leisurely breakfast in camp, you’ll board a bush plane to Kotzebue before transferring to a commercial flight back to Anchorage.

Upcoming departures

Departing Returning    
11 Aug 2020 22 Aug 2020 Enquire
25 Aug 2020 5 Sep 2020 Enquire
More dates available   Enquire

Good to know

  • Operated by Alaska Alpine Adventures, the leading Alaska adventure travel specialists.
  • Max 8 people with guest to guide ratio 1:4 for safety and risk management.
  • All camping and safety equipment provided (satellite phone, maps, GPS, and medical kit).
  • Fully qualified expert mountaineering guides.
  • 24/7 support.

Tour inclusions

Get in touch now for more details

Included Accommodation

10 nights camping. All equipment provided: expedition quality tents, group tarps, all cooking equipment & eating utensils, basecamp privy with toilet supplies. Lodging on the night one at the Pikes Waterfront Lodge.

Included Guided excursions

Professional guide service at a maximum 4:1 guest to guide ratio.

Included All meals

All meals from dinner on day one through lunch on the final day of the itinerary. Breakfasts include steel cut oats, scrambles, homemade granola and cereal, locally roasted coffee, assorted tea and cocoa. Lunches could include an Italian club torta sandwich, asiago bagels and Alaska lox, a curried tuna pita, crackers with genoa salami with a roasted red pepper goat cheese spread. Snack mixes and energy bars available throughout the day. Dinners could include pasta carbonara, Alaska reindeer rotini, chicken and chipotle enchiladas, and more. Vegetarian and special dietary requirements catered for on request.

Included Ground transfers
  • One way bush flights from Fairbanks to the Noatak River
  • All bush flights between the Noatak, Kobuk Valley, and Kotzebue
Included Internal flights

One way commercial flight from Kotzebue to Anchorage.


What people are saying about Alaska Alpine Adventures

Chuck Shom
11/07/2020 of the best!

Edward McIlvain

I'm struggling to think of a better trip I've taken!

Dave Lockhart

I thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience. If anything, I would have planned for a longer stay! Thanks to all of you who made it easy for me to enjoy the Alaskan wild! The trip exceeded all of my over the top expectations!



From only

$5,895 pp

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