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.
This is the perfect Katmai Canoe Trip. Katmai National Park is among the richest ecosystems on earth. Millions of salmon swim inland to feed the world’s largest bears and Alaska’s largest lakes sprawl between volcanic peaks. Enjoy Katmai’s Savonoski Loop with Arctic Wild.
Katmai Park is on the Alaska Peninsula, a long, volcano-studded finger pointing to a 2,000-mile archipelago arcing across the north Pacific to Siberia. Constant tectonic activity, volcanism, and retreating glaciers have left behind jagged peaks, rounded hills, and deep blue lakes. We’ll paddle along these glacial lakes and on the Savonoski River, roughly 80 miles, on our Katmai Canoe trip. Fifty of our miles will be on lakes; thirty miles on rivers. Camping on the beaches, fishing the creeks and watching bears in the autumn light, we enjoy the best of Katmai’s interior on this wilderness canoe trip.
Autumn on the Alaska Peninsula means cool weather, ripening blueberries, bright fall colors, and a chance to see the Aurora Borealis. Fall also means fattening-up time for the huge brown bears that live in Katmai National Park. We may see moose, black bears, wolves, and foxes in Katmai. We will certainly see great big brown bears, passing their time eating salmon. Though they treat humans as something to walk around, they are themselves staggeringly powerful creatures. We will have close, but safe, encounters with them. There are unparalleled opportunities for observing and photographing bears at play, while feeding, and just being bears. We will also see bald eagles and a variety of waterfowl. Fishing for rainbow trout, and pike is excellent throughout the trip and especially in the Grovenor River. In a few locations we can hike into the alpine where we enjoy excellent hiking and blueberry picking as we cast our eyes over the vast, lake-bejeweled landscape.
This trip is a moderately difficult route. Experience with canoe travel is recommended. The lake paddling is not difficult, but because the lakes are susceptible to big winds, we will paddle in light chop or swells some days. We will paddle close to shore, and while we need not undertake open water crossings, there is one such crossing we can elect to do, if conditions permit. The Savonoski River paddling is all Class I with swift, braided channels.
After a week in the remote backcountry of Katmai National Park we spend the final night and day of the trip at world-famous Brooks Falls. We won’t have the area entirely to ourselves but humans are still likely outnumbered by bruins.
What follows is a general flow of events. Expect the unexpected and prepare to be flexible.
Meet your guide for a pre-trip meeting at 4 pm in Anchorage.
This is a long day. We fly from Anchorage to King Salmon. After a visit to the excellent visitor center we board a float plane and fly to Colville Lake. Once the plane is unloaded we will assemble the canoes and paddle several miles to make a nice, secluded camp on a pebbly beach. We’ll spend the rest of the evening settling into our surroundings.
We have 80 miles to go and time to enjoy it. We’ll be paddling up to six hours a day, stopping several times to stretch, snack, hike, and explore. We’ll paddle across Colville Lake and into Grosvenor Lake, a long finger of a lake curving beneath tall mountains, a hidden jewel with secret creeks full of salmon. Snow capped volcanoes loom in the distance. At the very tip of the lake, we will descend a creek that empties into the Savonoski River. From here, we’re paddling swift water in a vast open plain of river gravels. The views are stunning as we enter Naknek Lake, gray with glacial silt and dotted with floating rocks (pumice). We will spend time fishing the lakes and rivers, swapping stories around beach fires, and watching bears feed, swim and interact with each other.
Paddle the last few miles to Brooks Camp and unload our gear. We spend our last night of the trip in Brooks Camp, the Katmai National Park campground and will have the afternoon to watch bears from the platforms overlooking the world famous Brooks Falls.
After a last walk up to Brooks Falls, we meet our plane and depart Brooks Camp. We fly back to King Salmon, and then catch a jet back to Anchorage arriving late in the evening. Change socks!
Transportation beyond Anchorage, food while in the wilderness, stoves, cooking & eating utensils, boats, paddles, life jackets, safety & repair gear and professional guide service.
Non-camp lodging, non-camp meals, personal clothing and gear, waterproof river bag, fishing gear, and fishing license. Gratuity for guide(s). Rental equipment is available through Arctic Wild. See full equipment list.
Temperatures vary from the 60’s to the low 40’s. Rain is almost assured. We should be well past the peak of bugs, but some flies may persist. For this reason, you should pack a headnet and DEET bug repellent.