Hulahula / Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
The Hulahula River traverses the northern portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from its mountainous headwaters on continental divide, through the controversial “1002” area of ANWR and on to the Beaufort Sea. The Hulahula River trip begins in the shadow of rugged peaks, capped with remnant glaciers and dotted with Dall sheep. These slopes support one of the largest populations of Dall sheep in Alaska. Mt Michelson (8855 ft.) and Mt. Chamberlin (9029 ft), two of the highest peaks in the Brooks Range, flank the river.
The river is fast and challenging with multiple braided channels and rocky rapids, dropping 2300 feet over 100 miles. Everyone will join in the fun of paddling the boats around rocks and shallow spots. Previous paddle raft or rowing experience is necessary, and folks should be in good health and comfortable being around fast moving water.
Plan for several layover days, allowing time to hike away from the river. Gaining elevation on the ridges lends a new perspective on our surroundings; the snow capped peaks of the Brooks Range stretch as far as the eye can see. Spring wildflowers; the white mountain heather, purple-mountain saxifrage and the brilliant blue forget-me-nots delight us in their “rock garden” settings along your route.