Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve
Forested southern foothills rise to limestone and granite peaks more than 7,000 feet high in this remote wilderness park. North of the peaks, clear water rivers run through glacier-carved valleys; and tundra, covered with wildflowers during the brief northern summer, stretches toward the Arctic Ocean. Many of the nearly 500,000 member Western Arctic caribou herd migrate through the park each fall. Brown and black bear, wolf, Dall sheep, lynx, moose, wolverine, and red fox live here year-round. In the spring, the park hosts migratory birds from Europe, South America, Asia, tropical archipelagos, and the continental U.S.
Backpacking and river trips maximize your chances of encountering wildlife. In late July and August, look for caribou in the Noatak and Killik River drainages. Dall sheep forage on the mountainsides in northern and western areas of the park. Falcons, rough-legged hawks, and golden eagles watch for flocks of snow and Canada geese flying south over the Kobuk River. The park offers no facilities; visitors must be skilled in wilderness survival. The park staff can provide a list of licensed guides, outfitters, and air-taxi operators.
Commercial planes fly from Fairbanks to Bettles, Anaktuvuk Pass, or Coldfoot. Charter a small plane to a trip starting point. Or, drive the Dalton Highway to Coldfoot or Wiseman and hike into the park.
National Park Service or (907) 456-0281