Is All of Alaska Covered in Snow?

Anyone who has ever watched the TV shows Ice Road Truckers or Alaska State Troopers might be forgiven for thinking that the state of Alaska is permanently covered with snow. However, that is really not the case. In fact, Alaska’s Kobuk Valley National Park contains a desert with sand dunes that can reach 200 feet (61 m) in height. The Great Kobuk Sand Dunes now cover about 23.5 square miles (39.43 square km), but it is believed that they once covered 300 square miles (482.8 square km). The park is located in northwest Alaska, just above the Arctic Circle.

It's no secret, however, that Alaska does get a lot of snow. The Land of the Midnight Sun has some areas, like Juneau, that average about 8 feet (2.4 meters) of snowfall per year! Fairbanks averages about 5.6 feet (1.7 meters) of snow every year, while the state's most populous city, Anchorage, averages about 4.8 feet (1.5 meters) of annual snowfall.

More about Kobuk Valley National Park:

  • Kobuk Valley is so remote that it cannot be reached by car. Most people take air taxis into the park for outdoor adventures.
  • Due to its isolated location, the park's headquarters and the Northwest Arctic Heritage Center are located in Kotzebue, about 80 miles (129 km) from the park's entrance.
  • There are no roads, trails, campgrounds or regularly-staffed ranger stations in Kobuk Valley National Park. Because of this, many travelers choose to carry a satellite phone (cell phones do not work), as well as a Personal Locator Beacon in case of emergency.
More Info: National Park Service

Discussion Comments


Located entirely above the Arctic Circle, Kobuk Valley has fewer tourist visits than any other national park.

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