Alaska Arctic Rivers

Kobuk River

Kobuk River

The Kobuk River begins in Gates of the Arctic National Park among the sheer Arrigetch Peaks. From that good start, the Kobuk flows for over 300 miles along the southern flanks of the Brooks Range through forest and tundra country to the Chukchi Sea. Your floatplane lands you on the emerald green Walker Lake. After enjoying this enormous lake surrounded by mountains, we paddle through the Kobuk River canyon, sweeping downhill into a wild landscape of glacial moraines, bare bedrock and open, lichen-covered boreal forest.

Witness the river dramatically change over the course of the ninety-mile trip. The upper river is swift through the forest with lots of little rapids and long stretches of canyons with several Class III rapids. Hiking in the upper river is good – climb peaks and broad, wind-scoured ridges just above tree line. Downstream, the river spreads out into braided channels as the valley widens. The many sub-ranges of the Brooks Range break the serrated skyline of the northern forest as you flow downriver. Hiking on the lower river consists of strolling on open gravel bars or exploring high water channels that in the past have ripped water courses through the forest.

Late July is a choice time to be in the wilderness, and you’ll have up to three layover days to hike or fish or just hang out. Fall is not far off and huge patches of ripe blueberries are easily found. The Kobuk has the best fishing of any Brooks Range river. It is home to Arctic Grayling, voracious Northern Pike, and the world famous Kobuk River Sheefish. These big, enigmatic fish will be just arriving on the spawning grounds during our trip and make great eating. You should see Moose, Beavers, Red Fox, Black Bears and Grizzly Bears if attention is paid to the river banks. Wolves are often seen, and it is not unusual to hear their howls rolling throughout the dark green forests. Also possible to see Lynx and Wolverine.

Your Guides

Owned and operated by Alaskans, this is a true wilderness guiding company with a special emphasis on Arctic adventures. Small groups (1 to 8 people) allow for a focus on traveling quietly to take in the land and its inhabitants. Small group size also allows for a diverse and spontaneous itinerary with attention dedicated to individual’s interests.

Professional guides, many who have made a career exploring remote locations of Alaska, are trained in wilderness first aid/CPR, Swiftwater Rescue and Leave No Trace.

Getting Here

The Kobuk River trip begins in Fairbanks, Alaska. Fairbanks has daily service from Seattle, Washington and a variety of additional lower 48 airports on Alaska Air or Delta during the summer months.

Expedition Broker can arrange all aspects of your travel including flights, hotels and additional travel while in Alaska at no cost to you. Feel free to use our local expertise to help you prepare for your trip!

What’s Included

  • Transportation beyond Fairbanks
  • Food while in the Wilderness
  • Stoves, Cooking & Eating Utensils
  • Boats, Paddles, Life Jackets
  • Safety & Repair Gear
  • Professional guide service

Why Go?

  • Phenomenal fishing for Sheefish, Pike & Grayling
  • Pass through ancestral subsistence grounds used for millennia by local Natives
  • Fantastic Arctic wildlife viewing & hiking



Reservation Request


Location Kobuk River, Gates of the Arctic & Kobuk National Parks, Alaska
Duration 11 Day Trip
Rates TBD per person from Fairbanks
Craft Type: Paddle Rafts
Activities rafting, fishing, hiking, wildlife viewing, photography
Route Summary: 90 mile paddle raft trip along the Upper Kobuk

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