Gates of the Arctic National Park and Kobuk Valley National Park Flight Tour
Whether you’re working towards visiting all the National Parks or wanting to visit this part of Alaska, we can help make your trip a memorable one. Gates of the Arctic National Park and Kobuk Valley National Park are best seen by airplane.
Brooks Range Aviation specializes in air transportation in the Brooks Range with float planes and wheel planes. We offer a Park Tour package that enables you to visit both national parks with a stop at each park. The package includes a river landing near the Kobuk Sand Dunes in Kobuk Valley National Park and a stop at Walker Lake in Gates of the Arctic National Park.
The number of people in your group and the total weight will determine which airplane you will fly in. The Cessna 185 has a weight allowance of 500# (typically 2-3 people) and the Beaver has a weight allowance of 900# (up to six people).
As you depart Bettles in a DeHavilland Beaver or Cessna 185 on floats, you will fly on the south side of the Brooks Range over numerous ponds and meandering streams where moose, bear and beaver thrive. As you approach Kobuk Valley National Park, you will see the Kobuk Sand Dunes, the largest active dune field above the Arctic Circle in North America. The pilot will land you on a river next to the dune fields, where you can take a short break and walk on the sand that was deposited there during the Pleistocene glaciations. Depending on weather, the pilot can circle over the dunes for a better view and then continue onto Walker Lake, another remnant of the Ice Ages.
Walker Lake is the largest lake in Gates of the Arctic National Park and is also a remnant of the glaciations that sculpted the Brooks Range. The great depths of Walker Lake were created by glaciers scouring down the valley into the lowlands. Now filled with crystal-clear water, Walker Lake harbors extraordinary fish, such as northern pike, trout, char and grayling. A stop on the shoreline to stretch your legs and fish, if pre-arranged, will enable you to soak in the magnificent views of the Brooks Range and Gates of the Arctic National Park.
For more flight seeing, time for fishing or a stop in the Noatak National Preserve, feel free to call us and we will gladly help customize your trip.
Spend a night in Bettles, to ensure an enjoyable, relaxing trip. The package tour typically lasts 4 to 4.5 hours, so arriving and departing Bettles on the same day is a challenge. We recommend arriving on Wright’s Air Service’s morning flight and departing on the afternoon flight the next day. This allows some flexibility for weather. If the weather is not nice on the day you arrive, there is then the opportunity to do the flight tour in the morning. If you do finish your flight tour on your first day, we can try and move your flight up to the morning flight.
Wright’s Air Service has two flights a day on weekdays and one flight a day on weekends. Wright’s Air Service can be contacted at 800-478-0502.
Lodging and a restaurant services are found in Bettles, and while there you can visit the Gates of the Arctic National Park Visitor Center. The rangers will be glad to talk to you about the park, answer any questions you might have and stamp your passport book.
June and July are our recommended months for visiting , as the days are long and the weather tends to be better (i.e. sunny and clear).
If you have any questions or would like to customize the trip, please call or email us and we will be happy to help you make your trip a memorable one.
Jay and Judy Jespersen