Ditto on rafting any of the six designated Wild and Scenic Rivers in the park. While rafting rivers like the Kobuk, Noatak, and Koyukuk you won’t see a single bridge going overhead, but you will see wolves, wolverines, and moose. Days here will have you floating past bears and caribou who’ve literally never seen a human being before, as they migrate through the park.
“They’re just as surprised to see you as you are to see them,” Mehlhorn says. “It’s truly seeing animals in their wildest form. They may have lived their lives and you’re the first person they’ve seen, and it’s like seeing an alien in Central Park.”
He insists the animals are more curious than dangerous, and people shouldn’t worry too much about encounters. You’re thrown back into the food chain, but maybe it’s even serene to float through a valley between towering mountains, with nothing but wilderness and animals in front of you. It’s as close to being a pioneering river explorer as most of us will ever get.