Noatak National Preserve

Quick Facts

Noatak National Preserve


(907) 442-3890

Map Directions

Things To Do


The Noatak basin is internationally recognized as a Biosphere Reserve, and as one of North America's largest mountain-ringed river basins with an intact ecosystem. It features some of the Artic's finest arrays of plants and animals. The river is classified as a national wild and scenic river, and offers exciting wilderness float-trip opportunities - from deep in the Brooks Range to the tidewater of the Chukchi Sea.

Map of Noatak

Latitude, Longitude: 68.021132, -159.749518



  • Boating

    Floating the Noatak River is an immersive way to experience the area. The headwaters of the Noatak River are in Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve (Gates) and flow 400 miles to its mouth in Kotzebue Sound on the Chukchi Sea. The rugged mountain walls of the Brooks Range enclose the portion of the river that is within Gates. Once the river flows into Noatak National Preserve (Noatak NP), the landscape opens up to vast tundra plains and long vistas. Water levels can change dramatically depending on time of year, weather and specific location on the river. At the headwaters, the river is up to 30 feet wide and anywhere from ankle to waist deep. As it flows west, the river gains water from its many tributaries and becomes much deeper and wider.

    Planning is essential for a rewarding trip. Getting started will require several flights, starting from your home to Kotzebue or Bettles, Alaska.

  • Camping

    There are no roads, trails, campgrounds or regularly attended ranger stations in Noatak National Preserve. Backcountry camping is allowed without a permit.

  • Fishing

    Fishing is allowed in the river. Follow all Alaska state regulations.

  • Hiking

    Summer hikes in the Brooks Mountain Range are popular, especially along ridgelines where walking is easier than on the lower level tundra

  • Hunting

    Sport hunting and trapping are permitted in Noatak National Preserve. To hunt or trap in the preserve, you must have all required licenses and permits and follow all other state regulations.

    The National Park Service and the State of Alaska cooperatively manage the wildlife resources of the Preserve. An Alaska State hunting license is required for all hunters age 16 or older. Bag and possession limits vary by species and by area. Always check current hunting regulations.

  • Water Sports

    Rafting the river brings you across whitewater approaching class II+. The rest of the river is class I to II.

  • Winter Sports

    With winter arctic survival skills and personal equipment, snow machining, skiing and dog mushing is also possible.


Expect high winds throughout the year and short, mild, cool summers. Experience 24 hours of daylight for one month and a long, severe, harsh, extremely cold winter with about one hour of daylight by December 1. The area receives 10-12" precipitation annually. For back country hiking/camping, wear plenty of warm clothing, dress in layers, and use rain gear. Wear sturdy hiking boots and waders for wet terrain.



To get to Kotzebue, fly with Alaska Airlines from Anchorage or Fairbanks. From Kotzebue to the Parklands, fly with various air taxi operators. Access in summer into the park is by plane or boat. Winter access is by plane or snow machine.

Phone Numbers


(907) 442-3890