Cape Krusenstern National Monument and Archeological District, located in Alaska, is a U.S. National Monument as well as a National Historic Landmark well-renowned for its rich cultural and archeological history. The monument is an extraordinary blend of ancient coastal villages and upland villages.
Today, Cape Krusenstern is an adventurous place for the bold and daring who are set for a journey through northwestern Alaska’s wilderness. The region was home to natives long before Columbus arrived here and it has been a reliable place that supported their lifestyle for millennia. Matter of fact, evidence found at this land indicated at least 9000 years of human habitation here.
Cape Krusenstern is predominantly a coastal plain with large lagoons dotted all over the landscape, hills of limestone, 115 beach ridges, and thermokarst land features.
The Alaskan natives lived here for centuries, leading a comfortable life with most things right at their doorsteps. However, in 1750 AD, encounters with Russian explorers began to increase and the native population of the area decreased drastically. At the Cape Krusenstern Archeological District National Historic Landmark, you’ll find two villages, Kivalina and Noatak, where people used to live once upon a time.
If you are craving some wild adventures, make sure to pay a visit to this unique and majestic place.
Cape Krusenstern is probably one of the few places in America that have been left completely wild and untouched. Therefore, there are no developed facilities that will allow for easy access to the archeological district. In summer, the area can be accessed by plane or boat and in winters it can be accessed by plane and then by snowmobiles.
There are daily jet services that fly from Anchorage to Kotzebue to the monument. The weather here is unpredictable and it can snow and rain at just about any time of the year.
To camp at Cape Krusenstern is truly a once in a lifetime kind of adventure. There is nothing here that even remotely resembles our modern life. There are no roads, no trails and no cars. You are truly surrounded by wilderness.
That is one of the reasons why an RV campground is not present here. However, backcountry and rustic camping are allowed here for those who enjoy a more primitive camping experience. There are no designated campsites, and vacationers can pick any spot they think suitable and set up their camp. Strict regulations and guidelines have to be adhered to when camping in this region.
These seemingly random campsites allow the campers to hike the tundra, climb the hills, while still being within close proximity to the Arctic Ocean.
Pets are allowed on the hiking trails, campground areas, and along the roads.
The monument is surrounded by coastal plains that are peppered with sizeable lagoons and gently rolling limestone hills. These lagoons allow kayakers to float past the treeless landscape and enjoy the sweeping horizons before them.
With so many water bodies to kayak, there’s hardly a crowd and you can peacefully travel through the silent water. Make sure to pack your warm clothes, even in the summer, as the westerly winds drop the temperature and it is almost freezing at night.
The hikes in summer at Cape Krusenstern are heavenly with miles and miles of beaches. There are also various private lands lining the beach so make sure to skirt around them during your hikes.
You can also hike on the hills that provide a remarkable view of the Chukchi Sea, tundra landforms, and of muskoxen. Come prepared though, some of the trails are uneven and some have spongy tundra that might slow you down. Keep in mind that the land here is untamed wilderness without any proper roads or marked trails. Only hikers skilled in outdoor exploration are encouraged to hike here and brave the unpredictable winds, snow, and rain.
There is so much going on at Cape Krusenstern that the photographer in you will feel chaotic and rushed, trying to capture everything you see. The wildlife, the birds, the whales, the wetlands, and the tundra, all allow you to take some award-worthy pictures. The ridgelines, the mountains, and the unspoiled and undeveloped pristine wilderness, all make it an ideal place for a nature photographer to visit. You're sure to capture something truly extraordinary.
The ecosystem of Cape Krusenstern is a favorite among the wildlife and so many can be seen while you're in the area. On your trip here, be prepared to come face to face with grizzly bears, wolves, lynx, polar bears, whales, seals, and walrus.
Birding here is just as world-class and if you forget to bring your binoculars, you’ll regret it deeply as you’ll witness a rich variety of Asiatic bird species, raptors, waterfowl, and montane nesting shorebirds.
A copious amount of migratory birds from all over the world visit Cape Krusenstern to nest. The lagoons are a big factor as they use them for feeding and staging.
Since there are many small and large lagoons encompassing the monument, Cape Krusenstern is a habitat for several species of arctic fish. Some common species include salmon, whitefish, herring, northern pike, Dolly Varden trout, burbot, and arctic char.
Even if you are not there for angling purposes, you can still enjoy the view and watch white salmon leap out of the ocean and the bearded seals bob happily in the waves.
Cape Krusenstern is just as active in the winter as it is during the summer. If you have winter arctic survival skills and personal equipment then you are more than welcome to go snowmobling, snowshoeing, and skiing on this long and unspoiled landscape.