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.
Located entirely north of the Arctic Circle in Alaska, Kobuk Valley National Park is the least visited park in the nation. Though nearly completely unknown, the park is full of interest and beauty.
The Great Kobuk Sand Dunes are a sea of sand in the Arctic wilderness formed during the last ice age as winds tore through the region depositing glacial sands in the broad Kobuk Valley. We will spend the week exploring these seldom visited sand dunes from our comfortable base camp.
The Kobuk Dunes are the largest dune complex in arctic North America. They are both fascinating and beautiful. The eastern side of the dunes are vegetated. There are ponds, wolf and fox dens, and fingers of spruce forest which extend into the dunes. To the west, the dunes get larger and larger. Some of the sand ridges are over 200 feet tall! There are vast areas where a hiker cannot see the edge of the dunes anywhere and can imagine himself in the Sahara Desert, until a sandhill crane flies by with its prehistoric sounding call. Or a moose trots off over the sand. On the West side of the dunes sand blows off the ridges and into the woods and creek.
Wildlife is always unpredictable but we often see fox, wolf, moose and caribou in the area along with a great diversity of birds. Some years big groups of caribou migrate right through the dunes, a truly magical and memorable sight.
This sea of sand makes for great “sledding”, animal tracking, photography, and some of the best hiking around. It is a unique and inspiring environment full of surprises.
The sand is soft in places but generally it is firm enough that we can take full strides. You need not be an athlete to enjoy this trip but we hope to spend our days walking and exploring this unique and beautiful area.
Weather in the central Kobuk Valley is warmer than most of the arctic. Sunny skies are the norm. Temperatures in the seventies are possible. Snow is also possible but I’m bringing sandals and a beach towel just in case.
What follows is a general flow of events. Expect the unexpected and prepare to be flexible.
Meet your guide in Kotzebue for a pre-trip meeting in the afternoon.
Fly from Kotzebue straight to the Kobuk Sand Dunes. Once on the ground we will make camp and settle into our home for the week.
We have 4 full days to explore the dunes. Each day we can head in a new direction. There are deep ponds and springs contrasting with the tawny sand, broad flats covered in wolf tracks and wind blown dunes which are fun to climb and offer great vistas. After a day of exploration we return to our camp for a delicious dinner. With luck and a late-August time frame, our nights may even include the aurora dancing above the dunes
Weather permitting, our bush plane will arrive to fly us back to “civilization”. We plan to arrive back in Kotzebue by early evening. Take a shower!
Transportation beyond Kotzebue, food while in the wilderness, stoves, cooking & eating utensils, water filter, safety & repair gear and professional guide service.
Lodging, non-camp meals, personal clothing and gear, backpack, tent, 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 Arctic. It could be warm, but it could be cold and rainy. Temperatures will range from the 20s to 70s. Cold rains and snow are possible, but we do get sunny weather this time of the year too. Mosquitoes should be minimal or totally nonexistent this late in the season. Bring a mosquito head net and a small bottle of DEET repellent just in case.