13 incredible photos of one of America's most remote national parks.

Kobuk Valley National Park is seriously beautiful.

Welcome to Kobuk Valley National Park, one of the most remote national parks in America.

Located just north of the Arctic Circle in western Alaska, Kobuk Valley includes mountain ranges, rivers, and sand dunes ... all in a landscape that looks like nothing else you’ve seen on this planet.


Here are 13 amazing photos that prove it.


1. You can’t get to Kobuk by road...

All photos via National Park Service library.

2. ...just by boat or small plane.

You can take a commercial flight into the towns of Kotzebue or Bettles to get most of the way there. But then you’ll have to hire an air taxi service to drop you off inside the park.

3. Kobuk has nearly 25 square miles of beautiful, active arctic dunes.

This knife ridge forms because of the strong winds that blow through the region. Just like dunes in warmer climates, there’s not much vegetation here, and the expanse spreads as far as the eye can see. Three different dune systems can get up to 100 feet high in some places in the park.

4. It also has multiple awe-inspiring mountain ranges.

The Baird Mountains reflect the diverse ecosystem in the park, from boreal forest to arctic tundra, where trees don’t grow.

5. Plus a river that’s full of life.

The Kobuk River travels roughly 61 miles through the park. Native people harvest salmon and other fish from these waters today ... just like they've done for the past 9,000 or so years.

6. Caribou roam the park by the hundreds of thousands.

7. That's ... a lot of caribou!

The most abundant animal in the region are caribou, who migrate across the vast plains. Between 250,000 and 500,000 of them travel through the park each year. Moose and bears also live in the area.

8. Untouched wilderness scenes like this one provide a glimpse into the world of the past.

Scientists travel to Kobuk Valley to learn about the last ice age, especially the mammoths and saber tooth tigers that once roamed these lands. Archaeological remains give clues about those who lived here long ago.

9. Some of the plants at Kobuk don’t exist anywhere else on Earth.

Kobuk locoweed grows on the dunes and nowhere else. This flowering herb brings a bright spot of color to the landscape. It is part of the pea family and blooms in June and July.

10. Gardens of moss and lichen are surprisingly beautiful.

Where you don’t expect anything to grow, mosses with shallow root systems find a way. Lichen may be less colorful, but both plants attach themselves to hard rocks and play a part in the food cycle.

11. And the sun there? It doesn’t sleep for months at a time.

For three months of the year, it never gets dark above the Arctic Circle. Summer nights on the Kobuk River nearly make up for the ample mosquitoes drawn to the area.

12. But when it does, you get to see some awe-inspiring aurora borealis.

The aurora borealis doesn’t compete with any light pollution in Kobuk Valley. There’s nothing between you and the night sky when the northern lights dance across the wide open heavens.

13. So, who's up for planning a trip?

Most Shared
Courtesy of Houseplant.

In America, one dumb mistake can hang over your head forever.

Nearly 30% of the American adult population — about 70 million people — have at least one criminal conviction that can prevent them from being treated equally when it comes to everything from job and housing opportunities to child custody.

Twenty million of these Americans have felony convictions that can destroy their chances of making a comfortable living and prevents them from voting out the lawmakers who imprisoned them.

Many of these convictions are drug-related and stem from the War on Drugs that began in the U.S. '80s. This war has unfairly targeted the minority community, especially African-Americans.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

Climate change is happening because the earth is warming at an accelerated rate, a significant portion of that acceleration is due to human activity, and not taking measures to mitigate it will have disastrous consequences for life as we know it.

In other words: Earth is heating up, it's kinda our fault, and if we don't fix it, we're screwed.

This is the consensus of the vast majority of the world's scientists who study such things for a living. Case closed. End of story.

How do we know this to be true? Because pretty much every reputable scientific organization on the planet has examined and endorsed these conclusions. Thousands of climate studies have been done, and multiple peer-reviewed studies have been done on those studies, showing that somewhere between 84 and 97 percent of active climate science experts support these conclusions. In fact, the majority of those studies put the consensus well above 90%.

Keep Reading Show less
Nature
via James Anderson

Two years ago, a tweet featuring the invoice for a fixed boiler went viral because the customer, a 91-year-old woman with leukemia, received the services for free.

"No charge for this lady under any circumstances," the invoice read. "We will be available 24 hours to help her and keep her as comfortable as possible."

The repair was done by James Anderson, 52, a father-of-five from Burnley, England. "James is an absolute star, it was overwhelming to see that it cost nothing," the woman's daughter told CNN.

Keep Reading Show less
Heroes

I live in a family with various food intolerances. Thankfully, none of them are super serious, but we are familiar with the challenges of finding alternatives to certain foods, constantly checking labels, and asking restaurants about their ingredients.

In our family, if someone accidentally eats something they shouldn't, it's mainly a bit of inconvenient discomfort. For those with truly life-threatening food allergies, the stakes are much higher.

I can't imagine the ongoing stress of deadly allergy, especially for parents trying to keep their little ones safe.

Keep Reading Show less
popular