A custom trip begins with a dream. Yours. A desire to camp amongst the great herds of caribou in the Arctic. To climb high into the Arrigetch Peaks, to photograph bears in Katmai National Park…the options in Alaska are exquisite and limitless. For the wilderness traveler there is no better destination.
We take designing your custom wilderness trip seriously. With decades of experience, exhaustive knowledge of the landscape and wildlife, and an extensive network of pilots, boat captains and guides, each itinerary is tailored exactly to your specific dreams.
The process starts with your desires, the size of your group or family, your expectations, your budget and your abilities. Our role is to advise, inspire, listen, and finally to transform your dreams into reality. We can share with you what is possible and help you craft the ultimate Alaska adventure.
All of our trips are “off the beaten path”, true wilderness expeditions. A custom trip can be one of our scheduled trips on dates of your choosing and exclusive to your group, or an entirely new and unique itinerary just for you. We work with groups from 1 person to 10 people but 4 to 6 is often the best. Browse through the list of custom trips we have done in the past or give us a call and tell us about your big Alaska dreams. We can help make them happen. From a family friendly base camp to true exploration in the farthest reaches of Alaska.
Wildlife trips: Our experienced guides can help you find wildlife whether it be caribou, polar bears, blue-throats, grey-headed chickadees, or musk oxen.
Photography trips: Wildlife photography, landscape photography, film or art. We have worked with professional and amateur photographers from around the world. Let us help you get the shot.
Film or Science Support: In addition to “fun trips” we also provided guide services and logistical support for field projects big and small.
Skills training: Need to improve your wilderness skills? We can provide field courses, skill specific classes in Fairbanks or a combination of the two. Rafting or canoeing workshops, navigation seminars, wilderness safety…. the list goes on. We have the experience to teach you.
Family and youth trips: We love seeing young people enjoying the wilderness. Though we haven’t had any clients under the age of 7, we take our own toddlers to the Brooks Range regularly. We can plan a trip that will be safe and fun for people of any age.
Born of huge ice fields covering the Alaska Chugach and Wrangell-Saint Elias mountain ranges, the Copper River is Alaska’s fifth largest river. It carries a tremendous volume of silty water at an awesome pace, emptying via the famous Copper River Delta to the Gulf of Alaska near Prince William Sound. The rivers that contribute to the Copper are themselves large and all of them seem eager to get to the sea in a hurry, creating fun, Class II rapids. Daily we will see moving bodies of water collide in awe-inspiring whirlpools, glaciers carving mountains into rubble, and some of the most dramatic landscapes in the state.
We begin rafting near the small historic village of Chitina. Almost immediately we are swept along into the staggeringly beautiful Wood Canyon. We encounter canyons in steep-walled valleys in the upper river, but as the river merges with its tributaries and enlarges, we encounter rows of mountain faces and broad views. We will paddle by the Childs Glacier on the lower river. The Childs calves chunks of blue and white striated ice into the river that float alongside the boats.
As we paddle and camp our way towards Prince William Sound, we can see favorite Alaskan wildlife like moose, black bears, bald eagles, foxes, and brown bears. The Copper has extensive sand bars and we often see animals crossing them. The brown bears are impressively large from feeding on the rich stocks of salmon that climb the river. They have a better time fishing than we will, but it is possible to catch salmon in clearer side streams. We’ll camp on the same sand bars the critters use, where the camping and walking are the best.
Hiking is good along the river and creeks, but to go far afield from the rivers is to learn the meaning of “bushwhack”. You really have to work to hike beyond the river corridor. There are cut banks and bare hillocks we can climb to get a view. There is a region of sand dunes that is always good fun. Imagine running the Copper’s largest rapid, Abercrombie Rapid, with bears on the shore and harbor seals bobbing around you- both looking for a meal of salmon.
The world’s largest avian migration occurs on the Copper River Delta each spring. Though long past at this time of year, the Copper River in summer – even in its upper reaches – provides good birding
For this trip, no paddling experience is required, as instruction is provided. Everyone joins in the fun of paddling the boats under the guidance of a raft captain. Sometimes the paddling becomes work for all, but we do have the benefit of good current the whole way.
What follows is a general flow of events. Expect the unexpected and prepare to be flexible.
Meet your guide(s) for a pre-trip meeting at 4 pm in Anchorage.
We begin our trip in Anchorage, where we load our gear into the van and drive one of the most scenic roads in Alaska. Our destination is Chitina, a small and historic mining town about a seven hour drive from Anchorage. We spend the rest of the day rigging the rafts on land and learning safety procedures. We will launch the boats, but not paddle far on the first day.
We wake, eat a hearty breakfast, and launch our rafts on the powerful Copper River. We’re on our way! We have about 80 miles to go and five days to get there, We’ll be on the river up to 6 hours a day, stopping several times to stretch, fish, snack, hike and explore. There will almost certainly be a “layover” day to hike and enjoy the mountains and lots of time for exploring and relaxing every day.
We reach our take-out and are shuttled to Cordova, where we spend the rest of the day exploring this quaint fishing village. We will stay in a local hotel (price included) and dine in one of Cordova’s fine restaurants (not included).
Rise early and head for the docks. Today we travel across Prince William Sound on the Alaska Marine Highway ferry. Relax and watch whales, glaciers, and the fishing fleet on the trip to Whittier. From there, it is a short drive back to Anchorage and we can drop you at either your hotel or the airport.
Transportation from Anchorage and back, food while in the wilderness, stoves, cooking & eating utensils, boats, paddles, life jackets, safety & repair gear and professional guide service.
Lodging other than one night in Cordova, any non-camping meals, personal clothing and gear, waterproof river bag, fishing gear, and fishing license. Gratuity for guide(s). An equipment list is provided upon registration. Rental equipment is available through Arctic Wild.
Temperatures vary dramatically in the Alaska. It could and probably will be warm for the most part, but it could also be rainy and cool. Temperatures will range from the 40s to 70s. Near to the glaciers and coast the temperatures will drop and the winds will increase. There may be biting insects but by choosing open, breezy camps we will avoid them for the most part. Bring a mosquito head net and a small bottle of DEET repellent just in case.