Alatna River Kayak and Arrigetch Backpacking Adventure

Alatna River Kayak and Arrigetch Backpacking Adventure




Gates of the Arctic







Gates of the Arctic



We’ve found an unbeatable combination in Gates of the Arctic National Park this summer. We will kayak in the headwaters of the Alatna River and then hike into the towering Arrigetch Peaks on our twelve-day Gates of the Arctic adventure. Single-person inflatable kayaks allow us to start high on the Alatna, far above where most others venture.


Last updated: October 23, 2019


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

Day 0

Meet your guide for a pre-trip meeting at 4 pm in at Arctic Wild headquarters in Fairbanks.

Day 1

Fly north from Fairbanks across the Yukon River to Coldfoot, a little “Outpost of Progress” in the Brooks Range.  Here, we board a smaller plane and continue on into the Gates of the Arctic National Park.  Our skilled pilot lands us on a gravel bar . . . and then the plane leaves and we are alone in the grandeur of the wilderness.

Day 2 -5

Kayak and day hike in the upper valley. We have 4 days to cover between 25 and 30 miles, which leaves plenty of time for climbing mountains, watching wildlife, or relaxing by the river.

Day 6- 11

The backpacking portion of the trip is less than 30 miles but some of the terrain is difficult. There are no constructed trails and a 6 mile day with packs is enough to make you feel you have earned your dinner. It usually takes a couple days of hiking to get into the high alpine basins. Once in the high country we have a day or two to explore the spires, tarns and high passes.

Day 12

Await the arrival of our bush plane.  The busy world awaits. Weather permitting we fly to Coldfoot and from Coldfoot we go back to Fairbanks. Shower.

Such a joy to spend days where time was meaningless.  A wonderful adventure and I would like to return next year for a longer, more challenging trip.

You mentioned to me in an email that you have terrific guides - you do indeed.  Dave is a superb guide. He is personable, knowledgeable about the Arctic, and has excellent group management skills. I appreciated the time he spent teaching me to read the map, which is not easy without trails.   He allowed Adrian and me to hike at our own pace and he encouraged all of us to explore the area surrounding our campsites. I know the others would concur in my praise.

- Sandra, California, USA



Transportation beyond Fairbanks, food while in the wilderness, stoves, cooking & eating utensils, boats, paddles, life jackets, safety & repair gear and professional guide service.


Lodging, non-camp meals, personal clothing and gear, waterproof river bag, fishing gear, and fishing license.Gratuity for guide(s). An equipment list is provided upon registration. Rental equipment is available through Arctic Wild.


A variety of weather should be expected including rainy periods and bright sunny conditions. Temperatures can range from in the 70’s down into the 30’s or lower. Snow is unlikely on this trip in midsummer. Although the worst of the bug season is over, there will still be mosquitoes and gnats around. You should carry a head net and one bottle of insect repellent.


Being Caribou by Karsten Heuer

People of the Noatak by Clair Fejes

Caribou and the Barren Lands by George Calef

Ordinary Wolves by Seth Kantner

Alaska Wilderness by Robert Marshall

Last Light Breaking by Nick Jans

Arctic Wild by Lois Crisler

More Alaska reading is available from our Bookstore.

"The wilderness was spectacular, the leadership perfect."
"I am just finishing my tenth trip with you guys. As always, the trip was more than I expected and I had a great time. See you next year!"
"Of all outfitters with whom we have worked (and that is quite a number), you were by far the most organized and responsive."
"That feeling of wide open wonder, the possibilities for nearly limitless wandering, and the image of those proud caribou...that will stay with me a long time"
"Our guide was an encyclopedia on legs. He was always willing and ready to teach, to talk, to listen, to do another hike, or to lie low in camp if we were beat. He truly gave us the trip we wanted!"
client client client client client
Eileen - Canning River