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 Yukon River is Alaska’s largest river; a landscape of huge proportions. Canoeing the Yukon is a classic Alaska wilderness experience, full of striking scenery and rich with history. A week on the river is a timeless experience suitable for novice paddlers and seasoned explorers alike.
This year we have a special guest who lived on the Yukon in the 70’s and who can bring the history of the river alive. This trip is a perfect combination of wilderness and cultural history; a journey through time and a timeless journey.
The Yukon River starts small and gains size and speed in Canada’s thinly populated Yukon Territory. The river crosses the U.S. border just upriver from the village of Eagle, and this is where our canoe trip will begin. From Eagle, the Yukon flows another 1,400 miles through the heart of Alaska to the Bering Sea. At its mouth the river is nearly a mile wide!
The section of river that we will paddle from Eagle to Circle City is one of the most scenic stretches. Our route takes us through Yukon Charley Rivers National Preserve. Gravel bars stretch around long sinuous bends dotted by roots and trunks of trees bleached by the hot summer sun. Beyond the gravel and sand are young willows and cottonwoods which frame the river in vibrant green. Towering above the brush are the trees of the boreal forest, hosting stands of paper birch whose white trunks peel in papery sheets. Other areas support dark forests of spruce, long brown columns in a sea of green moss. The boreal forest is also home to comically small black spruce all twisted and bent, seeming to barely survive in the frozen soil.
Along much of the river in this section are steep and rocky bluffs. Some of them are several hundred feet tall. These spectacular bluffs support an ecology all their own and provide some of the best nesting habitat for Peregrine Falcons in Alaska. This is lean country, but king and chum salmon will be working their way upriver towards their spawning grounds in Canada. These fish will draw bears and others to the river for this seasonal feast. Moose are a common sight in the ponds and sloughs near the river.
In addition to the rich natural history, the river has an interesting human history. Gwich’in Athabascan Indians have hunted and fished this stretch of river for centuries. Starting in the late 1800’s trappers and then prospectors inhabited nearly every valley. Cabins, old mines, fish wheels and other relics of the area’s heyday can be found along the river and in the woods.
This year we have invited Dave Evans, who lived on the river during the 70’s, trapping in winter and fishing in summer to maintain his dog team. Dave knows this stretch of the river like few people and will share his knowledge of the land and its history with us. This is a unique opportunity to learn about a unique lifestyle from a man who called the Yukon River home. Dave knows where many of the old cabins are along the river and we can poke around the old homesites, searching for long lost garden beds, trapping caches and long rotten boats. Dave is likely to remember when the gardens were full of potatoes and the cabins were new, and his stories are sure to add depth and interest to our journey. We will also have time to visit with a few of the modern homesteaders still making a life from the Yukon’s shores and learn more about how life changes, and doesn’t change in the Arctic.
The pace of this trip will be leisurely. The camping along the Yukon is world class for scenery and comfort. Some of our paddling days may be long, but there will always be time to pull over and investigate sights along the way. Weather in the interior this time of year tends to be sunny and warm though we will be prepared for anything. Canoeing experience is not necessary. This trip is an ideal choice for the adventurous family.
What follows is a general flow of events. Expect the unexpected and prepare to be flexible.
Meet your guide at a pre-trip meeting at 4 pm at Arctic Wild headquarters in Fairbanks.
Drive northeast from Fairbanks to the riverside village of Eagle, Alaska (population 230). It is a long but scenic drive and our welcome into the village is worth it. We spend the night at an historic Inn and take a tour of the Gold Rush town. (Lodging Included)
Before we launch on the river we will tour the town of Eagle and pay a visit to the Eagle Historical Society. Then, after carrying our gear down to the river and assembling the boats, we will head down river, enjoying the view of Eagle Bluff and will work on refining our paddling skills. Once we are comfortable on the river, we can stop-in at fish camps and homesteads to learn about life along the river.
Our time is ours to do what we please. We can start our day by climbing the bluff behind camp to smell the sweet sage and watch hawks circle above the river. Or we can head out early and watch the glassy river slip beneath the canoe. At lunch we can follow a small creek back into the woods where we find an old cabin with a garden still producing rhubarb in the wilderness. We will travel most days and will be on the water for five to six hours each day. This schedule allows plenty of time for exploring from camp or making side trips during a leisurely lunch break. We will pass many clear water side streams that offer opportunities to fish. As we near our final destination, the river bluffs disappear and we enter an area called the Yukon Flats, a fantastically productive area for waterfowl. Here, as the river slows, the sky is broad and colorful.
We leave the main river for a smaller, willow-lined side channel. After a few miles we see the log buildings of Circle, Alaska. After disassembling our canoes and packing our gear we will load into our van for a four-hour scenic drive back to Fairbanks.
Round-trip airfare from Fairbanks
One night lodging in Eagle
Food while in the wilderness, stoves, cooking & eating utensils
Boats, paddles, life jackets, safety & repair gear
Professional guide service
Lodging (except for 7/14 in Eagle)
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 dramatically in the Far North. Temperatures will range from 90 to 40. We will get some good hot weather and some windy cool weather, but generally it should be warm (by Alaska standards) This is mosquito season, and they will be a factor we plan to mollify by choosing open, breezy camps. Bring a mosquito head net and a small bottle DEET repellent for forays into the woods.