Onion Portage is a National Historic Landmark. It is located 10 mile down river from Ambler and just inside the boundaries of Kobuk Valley national Park. The onion portage tour includes a hike up the hill overlooking the portage. The view from the top is amazing! You can see a 15 mile stretch of the river. we often see caribou here with a tundra and mountain backdrop it makes for great photography. Then after the light hike we go down to take a position on the south bank of the Kobuk and wait for caribou to appear on the opposite bank just as hunters have done for millennia. For some reason all the Caribou like to cross the river at this one point. Hunters have been exploiting this fact since the beginning of time. We will exploit it for some good photos.
The Great Kobuk Sand dunes are located 46 river miles from Ambler. During the two hour boat ride there is ample opportunity to see wildlife. You also get a chance to experience the Kobuk River. It has been snaking its way through this valley for tens of thousands of years. People have lived and traveled here for about 12,000 years. You can see the processes that lead to its winding nature in progress. When we arrive down river there is a two mile hike across the tundra and through the spruce forest to the head of the dunes. They are very impressive from the ground. You come out of the brush and realize there’s a 100 foot high giant dune in your path. The interface between the dunes and the forest if a very interesting place there are plant species that only live on the Kobuk Dunes and no place else on earth. The 4 mile round trip hike is off trail. Spruce forest is very brushy in spots and the ground is covered in tussocks this hike is only recommended to those that are comfortable with off trail hikes in challenging terrain.
Kobuk Valley National Park is a national park located in northwestern Alaska. The park was established in 1980 by the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act. Kobuk Valley National Park is approximately 4,766,353 acres in size and is managed by the National Park Service. The park is home to a variety of wildlife, including caribou, grizzly bears, wolves, and wolverines. Kobuk Valley National Park is a popular destination for backpacking, camping, and hiking.
There are no roads to provide Kobuk national park access, so planes take care of most transportation needs. Commercial airlines provide service from Anchorage to Kotzebue, or from Fairbanks to Bettles. Once in Kotzebue or Bettles, you must fly to the park with authorized air taxis.