Koyukuk Float/Backpacking


Mountain LakeWe start our Alaska backpacking and hiking trip at a pristine mountain lake next to the North Fork of the Koyukuk River in the central Brooks Range.

We will pack through a beautiful pass on the southern flank of the Continental Divide on our way to the headwaters of the Koyukuk River in Gates of the Arctic National Park. Originating above timberline, the North Fork of the Koyukuk River winds through dramatic mountain scenery. The headwaters, while too shallow for floating, are home to arctic grayling. Hanging glaciers and brooding peaks tower above us as we explore downriver.

Boreal MountainWe’ll hike the base of Mt. Doonerak, the tallest mountain in the central Brooks Range. Our hike ends at the true “Gates of the Arctic,” Frigid Crags and Boreal Mountain. After a layover day, we begin our 7 day float trip down the Koyukuk River.

The North Fork of the Koyukuk located in the central Brooks Range and Gates of the Arctic National Park provides an ideal float for the arctic adventurer. This 140-mile float will take you through a variety of ecosystems, affording a glimpse of Alaska’s diversity of wilderness and wildlife.

Our decent among the rugged peaks of the Brooks Range will take us initially through a valley surrounded by magnificent mountain scenery. We have an excellent chance of observing moose, grizzly, and perhaps caribou. The valley then unfolds into lowland hills and arctic taiga. Numerous gravel beaches are available for camping with ample opportunity for a meal of fresh caught arctic grayling. Along the way we’ll stop to look at the remains of a miner’s cabin built in the 1930’s. Our weeklong journey ends in the bush community of Bettles.River sunset