GUIDED ALASKA Custom

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VIEW AVAILABLE TRIPS A custom trip begins with a dream. Yours. Perhaps it is your 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, luxury lodges, 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.

Kobuk, Gates, Krusenstern, and Bering National Parks Trip

Explore the beauty and wildness of America’s most northerly National Parks with Arctic Wild. We spend our first  days in the the Dunes of Kobuk Valley National Park, then move to the high country of Gates of the Arctic National Park. After hiking and birding on the tundra, we move to the Arctic Ocean at Cape Krusenstern National Monument before ending our trip among the rocky spires and hot-springs of Bering Land Bridge. The trip aims to balance the desire to see lots of country with the fun of truly exploring each of these remarkable parks.

calendar

DATES

July is ideal
region

REGION

Gates of the Arctic National Park
price

TRIP COST

$$

TRIP DETAILS

Our aim is to show you the very best of America’s most remote and wild National Parks.

Our first park is just east of Kotzebue across “Kobuk Lake” and up the Kobuk River. Located entirely north of the Arctic Circle, Kobuk Valley National Park is the least visited National Park in the America. Though nearly totally unknown, the park is full of wildlife and scenic wonders. Kobuk Dunes is like the Sahara but with wolves, moose and cranes. Onion Portage is an archaeological district with evidence of human use for the past 12,000 years! The Kobuk River is a magnificent river rich with wildlife and broad vistas. We will spend our time in the sand dunes, wandering the flats and climbing mountains of sand, marveling at the geology and searching for wildlife.

After a couple of days our pilot returns for a flight into the Brooks Range. Gates of the Arctic National Park is 8.5 million acres of unspoiled and largely untraveled wilderness. The National Park Service is justly proud of its “crowning jewel”.  The park is beautiful and diverse. As one travels from south to north, boreal forest gives way to broad green tundra basins, vast glacial lakes and severe granite spires. Beyond the Continental Divide the sky opens and the seemingly endless tundra stretches beyond the horizon.

There is no end to the adventures we can have on the tundra and each night we return to our comfortable camp to enjoy the evening light and a hearty meal. Within a day’s walk of camp there are jagged peaks, long sinuous ridges, quiet canyons, vast grassy plains and with any luck, wildlife. Wildlife is unpredictable, but if you keep your eyes peeled and your binoculars handy there is always a bird or a mammal somewhere on the tundra making a living in this austere but seasonally rich landscape.

The trip would be a success if we ended here but we think a little time on the Arctic Coast makes it even better. Next stop, Cape Krusenstern National Monument. The park is known for it’s impressive archeological resources, but it has much to offer everyone. We regularly see muskox in the hills above the lagoon and the birding on the beach and in the wetlands is world-class. The contrast of coastal tundra and wildlife to the boreal forest along the Kobuk River and the alpine tundra in Gates of the Arctic make an interesting study. Whether we spend our time beach-combing, hiking the hills, or stalking muskoxen, our time at the Cape will be memorable.

With days of sand, mountains and beaches etched in our memories and a growing list of stories to tell, we head south into a dramatic volcanic landscape of Bering Land Bridge National Preserve. On a peninsula pointing towards Siberia in far western Alaska, Bering Land Bridge is rich in natural and human history.  We will base out of Serpentine Hot Springs so we can enjoy the bath-house and study the unique botanyof the springs. The hiking in the hills near the springs is even more wonderful than the geothermal bath, though after a day or climbing ridges and clambering through the granite tors a soak sure feels good. The birding in Bering is excellent with chances to see Bristle-thighed Curlews, Wagtails and Blue-throats.

Four unique parks and enough time to experience the beauty and magic of each one. This promises to be an interesting and fun trip in the western Arctic.

After the trip we got a letter from one of the participants which read:

We wanted you to know what a wonderful trip we had with (guide). What a skilled guide and wonderful person she is. We can’t imagine having had a better guide. Besides taking such good care of all of the gear, shepherding us through wonderful hikes, and cooking fantastic meals, she shared our interest in nature of all kinds. We feel so fortunate to have had her as a guide and can’t speak highly enough of her. Thanks for giving her the assignment to be with us! The trip went flawlessly. Even with all of the different flights, we were able to stay on schedule. What an experience we had!
We also wanted to thank you for all of the care and thought Arctic Wild puts into the meals. We were so happy with the variety and quality of the foods available at all of the meals and the tremendous snack selection in between. We’ve never seen such a wide variety of energy bars to choose from! We were happily stoked, which you would know if you saw how little food came back to the office!
So, thanks again for all you did to organize a great itinerary for us. Each park was unique and we feel we tasted some of the best parts of each. We feel so grateful to have seen the vast beauty of northern Alaska.
All the best,

ITINERARY

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

Day 0:

We’ll have a pre-trip meeting in Kotzebue the evening before our departure at 6:45 pm where we’ll check gear, and discuss the next day’s logistics.

Day 1:

Meet back at the pilot’s hangar and then we are off. After an hour-long flight up the Kobuk we land in right in the sand and then set-up camp next to a nearby creek. Welcome to paradise.

Day 2:

A full day to explore the dunes, search for wildlife, photograph the nearby surroundings, or day-dream with no one for miles around to disturb you.

Day 3:

Weather permitting, we’ll say a final goodbye to the Kobuk Dunes and then fly north into the Brooks Range and eventually land on a gravel bar with tundra all around. Welcome to Gates of the Arctic National Park. Camp is quickly re-assembled leaving us with the afternoon to take the first of many hikes.

Day 4- 6:

Three full days enjoy the mountains and creeks of Gates of the Arctic. We can gain the ridge behind camp and hike deep into the peaks, or take a more leisurely stroll by the river. No matter where our feet take us, we’ll keep our eyes and ears trained for birds and wildlife. The endless daylight and broad landscape is inspiring.

Day 7:

The sound of the plane will break the silence of the mountains (weather permitting). Once we load our camp into the plane we fly west, across Noatak Preserve, stopping for lunch and a short walk if you want, and then we fly further west to the edge of the continent. We land on the beach in Cape Krusenstern between the lagoons and the Chukchi Sea with the pale limestone hills beckoning us inland.

Day 8:

Between the waves of the ocean and the peaks of the Igichuk Hills, there are lots hikes, strolls and wanders we can try. The lagoons and wetlands offer exceptional birding and with luck we will see some muskoxen within hiking distance of camp. We often do. Between the beach-combing, birding, and hiking in the hills, it will be a busy and fun day in Krusenstern.

Day 9:

Weather permitting, our pilot arrives mid-day for the flight south, past Kotzebue and down the Baldwin Peninsula, before heading west into Bering Land Bridge Preserve. After setting up camp a bath is in order! Then we can start exploring the tundra and mountains.

 

Day 10:

A full day in Bering Land Bridge. We will visit the hot springs, hike the volcanic landscape, explore the rock formations that dot the tundra, and watch the variety of birds and wildlife. With constant daylight, energy and imagination are the only limits to what we can do.

Day 11:

There is more to explore and enjoy but when we hear the sound of the propeller we know that this adventure is nearly done. If the weather cooperates we should be in Kotzebue by mid-afternoon. Time to change your socks and take a shower!

WHAT'S INCLUDED

Transportation starting and ending in Kotzebue

Food while in the wilderness

Stoves, cooking & eating utensils

Safety, repair and camping gear

Professional guide service.

Select Rental gear is included in the price of the trip.

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

Non-camp lodging

Non-camp meals

Personal clothing and gear per our Equipment List

Fishing gear, and fishing license

Gratuity for guides.

WEATHER & BUGS

Temperatures vary dramatically in the Arctic. Temperatures range from the 20s to 80s, averaging in the 60’s. This is the “heat of summer” but it may not be particularly hot. Temperatures should be warmest on the Kobuk. Krusenstern likely the windiest and coldest. Mosquitoes could be an issue so travel with insect repellent (DEET) and a head-net.

RECOMMENDED READING

Nunamiut by Helge Ingstadt; Land of Extremes by Alex Huryn; Ordinary Wolves by Seth Kantner; Last Light Breaking by Nick Jans; People of the Noatak by Clair Fejes. More Alaska reading is available from our Bookstore.