Alaska's Kigluaik Mountains
Adapted from America's Secret Recreation Areas by Michael Hodgson
The Kiguluaik Moutains are inviting for their ruggedness and awesome beauty. Visitors will find all kinds of superb recreational opportunities, from fishing, hiking, backpacking, mountaineering and backcountry skiing to snowmobiling, dog mushing and photographing wildlife. There is evidence of early gold seekers, who entered this region at the turn of the century, throughout the spectacular and changing panorama of mountain passes and glacial valleys.
Sport fishing for Arctic grayling and Dolly Varden is excellent in Canyon Creek as well as in the Sinuk, Grand Central and Cobblestone rivers. Chum and pink salmon may also be caught from early July to mid-August.
There are no established trails within the mountain range, and the lack of trails is the main attraction to the areatravel is spectacular, rugged and remote. All travel by foot requires more than basic backcountry skills. Navigational skills are at a premium. Drinking water must be purified. Bear precautions are a must—no food should be kept in or around sleeping areas.
While backpacking or mountaineering, you may encounter private lands or private structures. The local residents use much of this range to make their living and it is imperative that their privacy is respected. There is a large number of cultural resources that may be discovered within the mountain range, including old cabins. Artifacts are protected from removal, excavation or vandalism by law. Take only pictures and help preserve our heritage.
One point of outstanding interest and relatively easy accessibility is the Mosquito Pass area. Hike in from Windy Creek to the Cobblestone River through Mosquito Pass to view spectacular side canyons, steep and sharp peaks and cirque lakes—and don't forget your camera!
During the summer, it is possible to hike into the area by exiting the Nome-Taylor Highway near the confluence of Hudson Creek and Nome River.
Fifty miles north of Nome on the Seward Peninsula, 100 miles south of the Arctic Circle. Anchorage has daily jet service to Nome. From Nome, you can rent a car and drive to either the west or east end of the range. The Kougarok Road provides perhaps the most central access, with the Salmon Lake Campground serving as an ideal starting point. If you would like to arrange drop-off or pick-up by air charter, there are numerous landing sites within the range. If you are visiting in the winter, and many Alaskans prefer this option, travel is easiest by taking a snow machine out of Nome, offering access to areas that are usually inaccessible during the rest of the year.
The BLM administers one campground, the Salmon Lake Campground, located at the eastern end of the Kigluaik Mountains on Salmon Lake, near milepost 40 on the Kougarok Road. The city of Nome also maintains a public emergency shelter in the Sinuk River area. All other camping is primitive and is allowed anywhere within the mountain range.
You can visit this area all year. The "summer" season runs from mid-June to mid-August, but temperatures may vary from 20 degrees F to 80 degrees F. Wind and rain are common. Winter temperatures in the minus 10 degree F to minus 20 degree F range are common. Avalanches can be a major hazard in the winter and early spring months—do not travel in this region unless you know how to read the country for avalanche dangers.
USGS topographic maps:
Nome D-1, D-2, D-3
Teller A 1, A-2, A-3
Bendeleben A-6; Solomon A-6
The Alaska Wilderness Milepost, published by Alaska Northwest Books, 22026 20th Avenue Southeast, Bothell, WA 98021; (800) 331-3510.
Alaska Atlas and Gazetteer, published by DeLorme Mapping, P.O. Box 298, Freeport, ME 04032; (207) 865-4171.
For more information contact:
BLM Kobuk District Office
1150 University Avenue,
Fairbanks, AK 99709
BLM Nome Field Office
P.O. Box 952
Nome, AK 99762
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication