VIEW AVAILABLE TRIPS Camping in Alaska does not have to be a high adrenaline adventure. A base camp trips allow you to settle into this wilderness landscape. Enjoy bird watching, wilderness photography, or witness the incredible caribou migrations. Alaska wildlife photography and bird watching tours aren't just for professional photographers, Arctic Wild base camp trips are also great for family wilderness vacations or anyone wanting to experience true wilderness. In addition to our scheduled trips we lead a wide variety of base camp trips every year, activities can range from dog-sledding, to wildlife viewing, to hiking or fishing. A base camp allows you lots of time to devote to your passion. What to Expect on a Camping Adventure We plan our base camp tours around wildlife migrations and activities. Our base camp trips offer unparalleled opportunities for wildlife photographers and naturalists to spend time with the arctic's fascinating animals. Your Arctic Wild guide will set up a comfortable camp with abundant, good food and drink and lead daily hiking trips, offer suggestions and insight, or just let you relax in peace. Alaska bird watching can't be beat with seabirds and terrestrial birds (depending on location) including Asian migrants rarely seen in North America. The Brooks Range and the untamed Alaska wilderness is your home for the week, enjoy! Preparing for a Base Camp Trip. Everyone from young children to octogenarians will enjoy our base camp trips, and no physical training is needed. We are happy to advise on specialized equipment needed for wilderness photography in the arctic. Our years of Alaska bird watching experience will help you prepare or decide which trip is offers the best arctic birding opportunities for your interests. A reading list can be provided for each trip tailored to your interest whether general natural history, wildlife photography, arctic bird watching, or northern cultures.

Gates of the Arctic Base Camp

Immerse yourself in the wild landscape of the central Brooks Range in Gates of the Arctic National Park as summer turns to fall. Our five day base camp trip allows you to relish the solitude and serenity of the America’s northernmost National Park in the company of an experienced wilderness guide and naturalist. Day hikes, fishing, fall colors and excellent chances to see wildlife make this a great introduction to Alaska’s Arctic.



August 24, 2019 - August 28, 2019


Gates of the Arctic National Park




After our flights from Fairbanks we will set up a comfortable base camp on the shore of Agiak Lake in the headwaters of the John River. We’ll be just spitting distance from the Continental Divide. The mountains surrounding Agiak are dramatically lined with with glacial cirques dotted with smaller alpine lakes. The tundra in the broad valleys should be filled with the orange and red of autumn foliage and the sweet light of morning and evening lasts for hours during late August.

Days will be spent hiking through the varied landscape, looking for wildlife and/or just enjoying the view. Or if we stay closer to camp there is great fishing for arctic grayling and lake trout in Agiak Lake, archaeological sites to examine,  fields of blueberries ripe for the picking and no end of interesting things to discover on the tundra. We intend to explore some of the wildest country in North America at a lovely time of year.

There are often caribou in the area in the fall, seeming to enjoy the high meadows and good forage, fattening before winter descends. Their dark coats and heavy antlers are stunning against the colorful tundra and snow capped peaks. We may also see grizzly bears, wolves, moose and/or Dall sheep. Foxes occasionally flirt on the edge of camp and we even see porcupine waddling across the tundra muttering to themselves, blonde quills bright in the fall tundra. If you keep your binoculars handy you’ll likely be rewarded.

Our sturdy base camp and excellent cooking leave you free to enjoy the wilderness and to photograph, fish, paint or follow your muse where it takes you. The time is yours, the wilderness endless and the leadership a good blend of professional and relaxed.


What follows is a general flow of events. Expect the unexpected and prepare to be flexible.

August 23:

We’ll have a pre-trip meeting at Arctic Wild headquarters at 4 pm the afternoon before our departure where we’ll meet our travel companions, check gear, and discuss the next day’s logistics.

August 24:

You’ll be picked up early at your hotel in Fairbanks and shuttled to the airport where we’ll catch a charter flight to the bush village of Bettles in the southern foothills of the Brooks Range. From there we’ll load our gear into a small float plane for the hour-long flight across the mountains to Agiak Lake. Once there we’ll set up a comfortable camp on the tundra next to the lake before heading out to explore.

August 25 - 27:

Each day in the backcountry brings something different. Some days we will take day-long hikes to explore the glacial cirques, nearby alpine lakes, or wander the high ridges. Other days we may stick closer to camp, allowing the opportunity to fish, search for wildlife, photograph the nearby surroundings, muse over the archeological sites or discover the wilderness on your own. The weather and the groups desires will guide our activities.

August 28:

Weather permitting, we’ll say a final goodbye to Agiak Lake and the Brooks Range and take a few last photos before boarding the float plane for the trip back to Bettles and on home to Fairbanks. If the weather cooperates and all goes as planned we’ll arrive back in Fairbanks in time for dinner and a long hot shower.


Round-trip airfare from Fairbanks into the Brooks Range and back

Food while in the wilderness

Safety & repair gear, stoves, cooking & eating utensils, kitchen tent, water filter and other camp supplies

Professional guide service


Non-camp lodging

Non-camp meals

Personal Clothing and gear per our equipment list

Fishing gear, and fishing license

Rental equipment is available through Arctic Wild

Gratuity for guide(s)


Temperatures vary from the 60’s to below freezing. Snow is possible; rain is likely. As summer turns to fall we can expect a wide variety of weather. With the warm weather behind us we don’t expect many bugs but bring a small bottle of DEET just in case.


Ordinary Wolves, Seth Kantner; Alaska Wilderness, Robert Marshall; Last Light Breaking, Nick Jans; Arctic Wild, Lois Crisler. More Alaska reading is available from our Bookstore.