Noatak River Points

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Noatak River Points

There are reg­u­lar­ly sched­uled flights into Bet­tles and Kotze­bue where you then need to con­nect with a local air char­ter ser­vice to take you to your planned start­ing point. The nor­mal put in site is a still water slough just below the con­flu­ence of Twelve Mile creek and is called Twelve Mile Slough. The flight in is tru­ly dra­mat­ic as you fly through the high gran­ite spires and past the 8510 foot Mt Igik­pak. This place does involve a bit of work…  ...more

Lake Matcharak is a large lake, full of north­ern pike, where float­planes will land to take you back to Bet­tles. It is along riv­er right and involves a short car­ry of gear to the pick­up beach. To add addi­tion­al days to the trip one could float anoth­er week to the grav­el strip near the con­flu­ence with the Cut­ler River.

For any­one not inter­est­ed in the beau­ti­ful head­wa­ters and instead wants the wide val­ley of the low­er riv­er then there is a grav­el strip at the con­flu­ence with the Cut­ler Riv­er where you could start.

For those inter­est­ed in see­ing some of the upper Noatak you can con­tin­ue 20 miles more to fly out of the grav­el strip at the con­flu­ence of the Cut­ler Riv­er and the Noatak River.

After the Noatak Canyon, the riv­er again runs N and NNW till it final­ly swings to the SSW course that will take you back into the deep­er spruce for­est and even­tu­al­ly to the vil­lage of Noatak that sits on the right bank. Be well to the right as you approach or you could miss the take out.

There is a take out here known by some as St. Paul’s Slough and is where a float­plane can pick you up.

With good orga­ni­za­tion a boat could pick you up at the riv­er mouth for the 13-mile trip to Kotze­bue. It should be not­ed here that the 13-mile cross­ing of Kotze­bue Sound can be life threat­en­ing in bad weath­er and at no time is it rec­om­mend­ed to try to pad­dle a raft across.