Kobuk and Gates – Craig Custom

Kobuk and Gates – Craig Custom


July 11, 2019 - July 19, 2019


Gates of the Arctic and Kobuk National Parks


$10,000/ person for a party of 2



July 11, 2019 - July 19, 2019


Gates of the Arctic and Kobuk National Parks


$10,000/ person for a party of 2

Alaska’s National Parks are true wilderness parks, rarely visited and stunningly beautiful. Join Arctic Wild for a week of hiking, canoeing and fishing in northwest Alaska and enjoy the beauty and solitude of the Arctic.


Last updated: August 17, 2019


What follows is a general flow of events. Expect the unexpected and prepare to be flexible.

July 10

Meet your guide for a pre-trip meeting at 6:45 pm in Kotzebue. Lodging on your own.

July 11

Fly from the Eskimo village of Kotzebue on the Chukchi Sea up the Kobuk River and then head north into Gates of the Arctic National Park. Landing on a gravel bar near a clear fast river we will unload and set up camp. We spend the afternoon and evening settling in, learning the birds and plants, and planning the next day’s adventure.

July 12

A full day to explore and enjoy Gates of the Arctic. Your desires help govern our activities. We can hike to a lake and try some fishing, ascend the nearest peak and watch Dall Sheep grazing, or plan a big loop hike, up one drainage and down the other. With 24 hours of daylight and more wilderness than we could explore in a lifetime, our energy and imagination are the only limits to what our day in the wilderness will hold.

July 13

We have the morning to enjoy the mountain scenery and the silence of Gates of the Arctic. After packing up our camp, we await the pilot’s return. The hum of the propeller breaks the spell, and we load into the plane for the short flight down to the Kobuk River in the broad valley below. Break out the fishing pole!

July 14 - 15

After inflating our canoes and discussing river safety, we let the current pull us down the Kobuk River towards the Arctic Ocean. We won’t paddle to the sea but we will cover more than 20 miles on this broad and usually tranquil river. We’ll stop to fish, camp, explore Onion Portage and maybe even at an Eskimo fish camp.

July 16

It isn’t far from the river to the Great Kobuk Sand Dunes but the most practical way to get there is by air. Mid-day we’ll hear the now familiar sound of the plane and our pilot will hop us off the sand-bar and into the sand-dunes. After carrying our gear to the creek we’ll reassemble camp and settle into our new and very unique surroundings.

July 17

A full day to enjoy the dunes. Moose, wolves and fox all frequent the dunes as do a great number of birds. The sand constantly shifts and swirls. There are springs coming right out of the sand and great expanses where nothing seems to live. The hiking is soft in places but great distances can be covered if so inclined. Swim in the ponds, look for wolf dens, slide down the tallest dunes, or just stretch out your beach towel and parasol.

July 18

Weather permitting, the pilot arrives early and we’ll be waiting on packed bags. It will be a fun-filled day. Our pilot will take us north across the Baird Mountains, with purple and green bands and then over the Noatak Flats before landing by the Wulik. After we set-up camp once again will have time to fish for arctic char and take a walk on the tundra.

July 19

A last cast of the line, a last fish (or two), then pack-up and wait for the sound of the plane for one last flight above some of the most inspiring wilderness on earth. Weather permitting, we’ll be back in Kotzebue mid-afternoon, where the trip concludes and showers ensue.

Such a joy to spend days where time was meaningless.  A wonderful adventure and I would like to return next year for a longer, more challenging trip.

You mentioned to me in an email that you have terrific guides - you do indeed.  Dave is a superb guide. He is personable, knowledgeable about the Arctic, and has excellent group management skills. I appreciated the time he spent teaching me to read the map, which is not easy without trails.   He allowed Adrian and me to hike at our own pace and he encouraged all of us to explore the area surrounding our campsites. I know the others would concur in my praise.

- Sandra, California, USA



Round-trip airfare from Kotzebue, Alaska to the National Parks and back

Food while in the wilderness, stoves, cooking & eating utensils, water filter, base camp tent

Safety & repair gear

Professional guide service

Select Rental equipment is available through Arctic Wild and is included


Non-camp lodging

Non-camp meals

Personal clothing and gear. See full equipment list.

Gratuity for guide(s)



Temperatures vary dramatically in the Arctic.  It should be hot, but it could be cool and rainy.  Temperatures will range from the 30s to 70s. Cold rains and snow are possible, but we get plenty of sunny weather this time of the year. Mosquitoes could be an issue in Gates of the Arctic and on the Wulik so bring a mosquito head net and a small bottle of DEET repellent.


Ordinary Wolves by Seth Kantner; Last Light Breaking by Nick Jans; The Brooks Range by Alaska Geographic; Alaska’s Brooks Range by John Kauffmann; People of the Noatak by Clair Fejes; Nunamiut by Helge Ingstadt. More Alaska reading is available at our bookstore.

"The wilderness was spectacular, the leadership perfect."
"I am just finishing my tenth trip with you guys. As always, the trip was more than I expected and I had a great time. See you next year!"
"Of all outfitters with whom we have worked (and that is quite a number), you were by far the most organized and responsive."
"That feeling of wide open wonder, the possibilities for nearly limitless wandering, and the image of those proud caribou...that will stay with me a long time"
"Our guide was an encyclopedia on legs. He was always willing and ready to teach, to talk, to listen, to do another hike, or to lie low in camp if we were beat. He truly gave us the trip we wanted!"
client client client client client
Eileen - Canning River