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.
The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is the best place in the world to watch polar bears and Arctic Wild’s guides are uniquely qualified to share the wonders of the Arctic with you. On our trip to the Arctic Coast this September you can immerse yourself in the world of the polar bear, learn about modern Eskimo (Inupiat) culture, and experience wilderness at the end of the earth. From the safety of our chartered boat we can observe and photograph dozens of bears each day.
Each fall polar bears from the Beaufort Sea travel to Barter Island, sometimes in great numbers. They travel off of the pack ice to the shore seeking an annual food bonanza. Each fall, the Inupiat Eskimos of Barter Island continue their tradition of hunting for bowhead whales. When all of the parts of the whale fit for human consumption have been harvested, the carcass is given to the waiting bears. This situation provides us with an unparalleled opportunity to safely observe bears feeding and interacting at the edge of the Arctic Ocean. Twenty to thirty bears are regularly on the island at this time of year. We will fly to the village of Kaktovik on Barter Island and stay in a local hotel, immersing ourselves in the exciting world of the Polar Bear.
The abundance of polar bears around Barter Island each fall is truly staggering. They tend to feed near town and rest on the barrier islands nearby. The best way to observe them and other wildlife is from a boat. We will charter a local guide for 4 separate boat trips including one full day out on the Arctic Ocean (weather permitting). The boat is not only a great platform for watching bears but an unparalleled opportunity for learning about modern Eskimo life in Alaska. In addition to Polar Bears we often see ringed seals, King and Common Eiders, several species of loon and a good variety of other arctic bird species. We occasionally see arctic fox and other terrestrial animals but the focus is on polar bears and the Arctic Ocean.
During early September, bears often lounge around or nap during the day. It appears that temperatures above freezing are uncomfortably warm for them. During the evening hours they are likely to interact and feed closer to town. Each evening we will spend as much time as possible watching bears from the safety of our rented vehicle. When it gets truly dark, we will point our gaze skyward and look for the Aurora Borealis.
While observing bears you will be accompanied by a knowledgeable guide at all times who can educate you about bear behavior, physiology, and ecology. The guide is also on hand to ensure your safety and the safety of the bears.
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 4pm in Fairbanks at Arctic Wild headquarters in Fairbanks.
Fly from Fairbanks, over the mighty Yukon River, across the Arctic Circle, over the Brooks Range, and to the Eskimo village of Kaktovik, population 400. After an orientation and moving into our rooms at a local hotel, we will head to the beach to see the bears.
Weather permitting, we will enjoy a 1/2 day boat ride with a local guide. We will certainly see polar bears but we may also see bowhead whales, bearded seals and perhaps even beluga whales. Once back on shore and fed, we await twilight and then will have the opportunity to watch bears on the beach.
Another full day in Kaktovik and we will spend all of it on the water with our local guide. With a full day to explore we can travel a bit further and take time to watch the bears interacting with each other.
A final trip out on the water to see what the bears are up to. Changing light, temperatures, and weather make each trip on the water unique. We will have the bulk of the day to watch loons, eiders, or polar bears, or do whatever suits your fancy. Weather permitting, we will fly back to Fairbanks in time for dinner.
Transportation to Kaktovik starting and ending in Fairbanks, outstanding guide service, 4 days/ 3 nights food and lodging in Kaktovik at Marsh Creek Inn (Double and Triple occupancy rooms), transportation in Kaktovik, Four 3 hours boat trips (weather permitting).
Lodging beyond the duration of the scheduled trip, food beyond the duration of the scheduled trip, warm clothing, gratuity for guide(s). (Should weather delay our departure from Kaktovik you will need to pay for additional nights of lodging.)
A variety of weather should be expected including foggy periods and sunny conditions. Temperatures will be cold (20 to 50). Snow is likely. Bring a good parka, hat, and gloves. The up-side is that mosquitoes will be nowhere in sight.