The Western Brooks Range is big, wild, and virtually unexplored. A naturalists delight.
The western Brooks Range is the most remote and untraveled part of Alaska. Unknown of the unknown, home of the 165,000 strong Western Arctic Caribou herd. You almost certainly will not encounter other parties (or even footprints) on many of our western Brooks Range trips. Expect encounters with wildlife. A wilderness of mountains and tundra stretches north of Kotzebue all the way to the Chukchi Coast. Between the 23 million acre NPR-A and over 6 million acres in the Noatak Preserve, plus millions more acres of defacto wilderness, the scale of the Western Arctic is hard to comprehend.
With a slightly more maritime climate than the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge or other portions of the Alaskan Arctic the Western Brooks Range has plants and animals rarely found elswhere, and more abundant wildlife than any other portion of northern Alaska. The Western Brooks Range is an unparalleled wilderness where limitless adventures await.
These wildlife-rich Brooks Range trips are the trips our guides covet and vie for. The remoteness of the area and the richness of its fauna coupled with its storied history make this a world class, if totally unknown, destination. The gentle gradient of most rivers make the western Arctic ideal for Alaska wilderness canoeing.
Hiking routes in the DeLong Mountains offer endless backpacking routes and wildlife from Beluga whales to caribou provide photographic opportunities like nowhere else.
As the Brooks Range heads west beyond Gates of the Arctic National Park, the craggy peaks and arid climate give way to broad colorful ridges, rich and productive tundra, and some of the highest densities of wildlife anywhere in the Arctic. Except for the few Inupiaq residents, the entire Western Arctic is un-peopled and remote. Our trips offer unparalleled opportunities to view the 165,000 animal Western Arctic caribou herd as they migrate just after calving, predators in tow.
On a canoe trip a few years ago we watched 60,000 caribou swim the river in a single day. The river turned white with shed hair! On the Chukchi Coast where the tundra blends into the ocean is a rich complex of lagoons hosting marine mammals and birds during the brief arctic summer.
For bird enthusiasts, the Western Brooks Range is a fantastic place to see Asian migrants such as bluethroats. bristle-thighed curlew, northern wheatears, yellow wagtails, and gray-headed chickadees are also possibilities. Yellow-billed loons and other rare waterfowl can be seen near the coast.
Raptors like gyrfalcons, golden eagles and rough-legged hawks commonly nest along the river corridors. If you want to see wildlife in a truly wild place a Western Brooks Range trip is the adventure for you.