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Zane hills and Koyukuk river
Koyukuk river
The Koyukuk River is a principal tributary of the Yukon Rivermarker, approximately 500 mi (805 km) long, in northern Alaskamarker in the United Statesmarker.

It drains an area north of the Yukon on the southern side of the Brooks Range. The river is named for the Koyukon people.

It rises in several forks above the Arctic Circle in the Endicott Mountains, near .

The North Fork of the Koyukuk River rises in Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preservemarker. The combined river flows generally southwest, past Bettlesmarker, in a broadening valley of spruce forests amid small lakes and marshes. It joins the Yukon from the north at Koyukukmarker.

Its tributaries include the Glacier, Alatnamarker and Johnmarker rivers. The area around its confluence with the Yukon is a large floodplain protected as part of Koyukuk National Wildlife Refugemarker.

The valley of the river is a habitat for bear and moose and is a destination for game hunting.


Lt. Henry Allen and Private Fred Fickett of the United States Army ascended and explored the river in 1885. The discovery of gold deposits on the Middle Fork in 1893 led to a gold rush in 1898 with the establishment of trading posts and mining camps, including Bettles, on the upper river. In 1929, Robert Marshall explored the North Fork of the Koyukuk River and gave the name Gates of the Arcticmarker to the high Brooks Range along the river.

In 1980 the United States Congress designated 100 mi (164 km) of the North Fork of the Koyukuk River in the Brooks Range as the Koyukuk Wild and Scenic River.

In 1994 floods on the river swept away three villages, forcing the wholesale relocation of the population.

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