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Kobuk Valley National Park, Alaska
Kobuk Valley National Park is located in Northwest Alaska. The park has a variety of different landscapes, including the 25-square-mile Great Kobuk Sand Dunes, glaciers, waterfalls, rivers and pristine fresh water lakes. The sand dunes, which were created by the grinding action of ancient glaciers, are probably the most popular features of this park.
The Great Kobuk Sand Dunes are massive structures which display the complete geological history of the park. The eastern portion of the dunes are covered with vegetation, while the crescent-shaped, unvegetated dunes are located in the western portion. These dunes represent the largest active dune field in arctic North America. The unvegetated portion includes three smaller, but equally impressive dunes - the Great Kobuk Sand Dunes, the Little Kobuk Sand Dunes and the Hunt River Dunes.
Kobuk valley has some of the most spectacular glaciers in Alaska. The waterfall fringed cliffs and deep fjords are home to many types of arctic wildlife. Sightings of whales and seals are common here. There are several hiking trails; visitors are advised to proceed on some of the trails with caution, since the floor tends to be slippery and the weather, unpredictable. For back country hiking or camping, you should wear plenty of warm clothing.
Kobuk Valley National Park is subject to harsh winters, with high winds, snow and rain. Summers are mild and cool. The Kobuk River typically thaws by early June, this is a good time to come if you want to witness the magnificent waterfalls in the park.