Kobuk River

watercourse in the United States of America

The Kobuk River (also Kooak, Kowak, Kubuk, Kuvuk, or Putnam) [1] is a river in the Arctic region of Alaska, in the United States. The river is about 280 miles (450 km) long,[1] and receives water from about 12,300 square miles (31,850 km2) of land. It is among the largest rivers in Alaska. It flows from the southernmost part of the Brooks Range, a mountain range 700 miles (1,100 km) long. [2] Its mouth is at the Kobuk River Delta, which is about 32 miles (51 km) long.[3]

Kuuvak  (Inupiaq)
Kooak, Kowak, Kubuk, Kuwuk, Kuvuk, Putnam
Sunset over the Kobuk River
Kobuk River is located in Alaska
Kobuk River
Location of the mouth of the Kobuk River in Alaska
CountryUnited States
Physical characteristics
SourceWalker Lake
MouthKobuk Delta
Length280 mi (451 km)
Basin size12,310 sq mi (31,880 km2)
 - locationBering Strait
 - average10,000 cu ft/s (283 m3/s)
 - minimum1,400 cu ft/s (40 m3/s)
 - maximum110,000 cu ft/s (3,000 m3/s)
Basin features
 - leftSquirrel River, Tutsuksuk River
 - rightSalmon River, Adillik River
DesignatedDecember 2, 1980

Its watershed, ranging from 0 to 11,400 feet (0 to 3,475 m) above sea level, has a wide variety of landforms, including mountains, plateaus, and plains. The average elevation is 1,300 feet (400 m). The river's name, in the native Inuit language, means "big river". [4]

The river has been an important part of the lives of nearby people. Native people (the Inuit, Koyukans and others) have used the river as a source of food and transport for over 12,000 years. [5] In 1898, a gold rush called the "Kobuk River Stampede" happened. In 1980, 110 miles (177 km) of the river were deemed the Kobuk Wild and Scenic River.


  1. 1.0 1.1 "USGS GNIS Detail: Kobuk River".
  2. "Kobuk River". United States National Park Service. Retrieved 2009-04-09.
  3. "USGS GNIS Detail: Kobuk River Delta".
  4. "Kobuk Valley FAQ". United States National Park Service. Retrieved 2009-04-09.
  5. Brabets, T.P., Hydrologic Data and a Proposed Water-Quality Monitoring Network for the Kobuk River Basin, Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, and Kobuk Valley National Park, Alaska. U.S. Geological Survey, Water Resources Investigations Report 01-4141, 2001