- Class I-II
- River Length
- 80 miles
- 10 days
The Kongakut River is located North of the Arctic Circle in the far North East corner of Alaska. Originating within the eastern Brooks Range, the Kongakut River flows through the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, an area of much political debate in recent years due to its rich oil reserves and fragile Arctic environment.
The Kongakut River flows above tree line, meandering northward through forestless snowcapped mountains, into river canyons and marshlands before hitting its confluence with the Arctic Ocean. The scenery of the Kongakut is amazing, with the 10,000 foot high peaks of the Brooks Range hovering over treeless Tundra near sea-level.
The Kongakut River’s green waters splash seaward over small rocky rapids, through braided channels and over ice shelves. Summer is only a few months long in the Brooks Range and the wildlife take full advantage of the continuous daylight. The diversity of animals along Kongakut River is striking, including Grizzly Bear, Musk Oxen, Gray Wolves, Dall Sheep and Caribou. The Kongakut is the main migratory route for over 175,000 Porcupine Herd Caribou and the massive river crossings of the animals are an exciting sight that visitors are sure not to forget! Fishing is excellent in the clear waters of the Kongakut, with great opportunity to catch Arctic Grayling and Arctic Char.
The Kongakut River is a very remote river and trips run 10 days or more in duration. Due to the great distances that must be covered over varied terrain, trips on the Kongakut originate in Fairbanks and involve a flight to the small Gwich’in town of Arctic Village located at the edge of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Another bush-plane flight brings clients to the put-in at Easter Creek and from at the takeout where the Kongakut meets the Arctic Ocean, back to Arctic Village for a return trip to Fairbanks.
Visitors to rivers in the high Arctic should be adventurous and open-minded. The Arctic region is a harsh environment and can require a bit of tolerance from her visitors. Weather in the Arctic can range from 80 degrees and sunny to 40 degrees and raining to 20 degrees and snowing, all within an hour. During the summer months there is constant daylight in the Arctic region, a unique experience that should be factored into the trip planning. Gnats, mosquitoes and biting flies that see human visitors as a miraculous food source can also become an issue in the high Arctic. Proper measures should be taken by all visitors to the region to ensure their enjoyment of the experience. For those visitors willing to make the trip to the Arctic it is sure to be an amazing experience that will never be forgotten.