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.
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.
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.