Gates of the Arctic is the crown jewel of the National Park system. Rugged mountains, clear rivers, forest and tundra beckon the wilderness traveler.
About Gates of the Arctic National Park
All of the Alaska National Parks are spectacular, but Gates of the Arctic National Park just might be the best. Clear, free-flowing rivers, majestic peaks, endless vistas and undisturbed wildlife are the standard fare in Gates of the Arctic. It is a hugely diverse and largely unknown 11 million acre park in the Alaska Brooks Range, with endless opportunities for wilderness backcountry adventures. With less than 900 visitors per year, you are more likely to see an Arctic wolf or Alaskan caribou than other people.
Gates of the Arctic Geography
Like the rest of the Alaska Brooks Range, Gates of the Arctic is accessible only by air. The South slopes of the Brooks Range are forested and similar to interior Alaska, though tundra peaks are always within sight and an easy hike. The high country and North slopes of the Brooks Range are tundra; wide open, treeless and beautiful. Glacier carved peaks like the Arrigetch and Mt. Igikpak tower above good canoeing rivers like the Alatna and Noatak, while to the west and north, the Kobuk and Nigu provide whitewater rafters with a couple of challenging rapids.
Wildlife in Gates of the Arctic
In Gates of the Arctic National Park, you may see small bands of caribou in quiet alpine canyons, Arctic Poppies and Alaska River Beauty flowering on the tundra and Common Loons or Tundra Swans in the sprawling glacial lakes. Perhaps you will visited by a moose or see musk oxen or a grizzly bear feeding near camp. Golden Eagles and Dall sheep frequent the high country. Lake trout, pike, sheefish, salmon and greyling are found in the rivers and lakes and the 300,000 member Western Arctic Caribou herd roams the park during July, and August. Whether you’re a wildlife photographer, into Alaska birding, or just enjoy watching wildilfe, Gates of the Arctic offers a true backcountry wilderness experience often rich with wildlife.
Human History of Gates of the Arctic
Inland Eskimos (Nunamiut) have lived in the Brooks Range for thousands of years, fishing the productive waters and hunting caribou and sheep. Tent rings, stone fences and chipped stone are found through out the park in places like the Nigu River and lend a depth of history to the fascinating landscape. In the Koyukuk country in the southern part of the park the gold rush pioneers and wilderness visionaries like Bob Marshall enrich our experience with stories and artifacts.
Wilderness Trips in Gates of the Arctic National Park
We offer professionally guided raft, canoe, basecamp, packrafting and backpacking trips on both forested south slopes of the mountains and the wide open tundra north of the Arctic Divide. Whether your interest is canoeing the Noatak or backpacking and packrafting in the Arrigetch Peaks and Alatna River, Gates of the Arctic National Park is sure to exceed your expectations.
For those of you interested is seeing more National Parks in Alaska we offer custom trips to Kobuk Valley, Noatak Preserve and other Alaska National Parks, which can combine with a trip to Gates of the Arctic.