Arctic Base Camp


August 29, 2021 - September 3, 2021


Arctic National Wildlife Refuge


$6,300. Party of 4. $5,900. Party of 5.



August 29, 2021 - September 3, 2021


Arctic National Wildlife Refuge


$6,300. Party of 4. $5,900. Party of 5.

Experience the very last of summer in the Brooks Range. From our beautiful camp on the tundra we can hike the mountains, fish the river, and relish the beauty of the mountains.


Autumn arrives early on the Continental Divide. At the end of August, craggy peaks bear snow which will last till spring. Down by the river the tundra is crimson and gold. Fall winds pull leaves from the willows and birds flock together preparing for long flights south. It is a great time to explore the Arctic with dynamic weather, breathtaking scenery, and wildlife on the move.

For your base camp we have chosen a location high in the Brooks Range along the Kongakut River. The Kongakut flows to the Arctic Ocean 90 miles to the north, but here in the uppermost reaches it is clear, swift and teaming with Arctic Char. The upper Kongakut is fed by innumerable deep springs where fish overwinter, sometimes growing quite large. They are fun to catch and make an excellent meal.

From our scenic campsite we will have four full days to explore the Brooks Range. To the north are massive ridges stripped with cliff bands and pocked with caves, perfect habitat for Dall’s sheep and golden eagles. It isn’t an easy hike, but we can ascend the ridges and walk the dry gravely plateaus with 360° views east into Canada’s Yukon Territory, south across the Arctic Divide, west to the highest peaks in the Brooks Range, and north nearly the the Arctic Plains. As far as you can see in any direction there is no road, no trail, and other than our small camp, probably no sign of any human anywhere.


If the weather doesn’t suit a ridge hike, there are canyons to explore. The area is underlain by limestone which the creeks and river have carved into steep-walled canyons and broad lovely grottos. We are well north of tree line and the country is wide open, but a few of the canyons harbor small cottonwood trees. It is the closest thing you’ll find to a forest this far north. The gold leaves, dappled light and unique plant communities make these nice spots to stop on a hike to get out of the wind and to search for the rarest bird in North America, the gray-headed chickadee which is known to frequent these northernmost trees in Alaska. Waterfalls, caves, secret fishing holes, and all manner of mysteries may keep us exploring up canyon hour upon hour. The area is little explored, so who knows what we may find.

Our camp is simple, weather worthy and comfortable. After 20 plus years of guiding in the Arctic we have honed our equipment to the essentials. Good food, a warm group tent to relax in, and a spotting scope for the perpetual wildlife search are emblematic of our priorities. Add a grill for fish, and maps to inform our daily excursions, plus a suite of emergency equipment at the ready but almost never used and you get a sense of our priorities.

The weather and your desires dictate each day’s activities but usually the day unfolds with a hearty breakfast, followed by a hike. When the weather is fine the hike often takes the bulk of the daylight hours and includes a leisurely lunch at a scenic spot. With luck the hike includes a wildlife sighting such as a bear digging ground squirrels, or a band of caribou caught unaware and close. We are likely to see not just caribou and grizzly bears, but also Dall’s sheep, moose, porcupine and red fox. If very lucky we might glimpse a wolverine, wolf of lynx or any number of resident or migratory birds.

Last updated: November 22, 2021


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

Aug 28

Meet your guide at Arctic Wild headqarters in Fairbanks for a meet and greet, gear shake-down, and safety briefing at 4 pm.

August 29

If the weather cooperates, it will be an early departure from Fairbanks in light aircraft. As we leave Fairbanks you’ll buzz above the last roads you will see for a week. After an hour we pass the massive Yukon River and then into the Brooks Range beyond. After another hour of some of the most beautiful scenery you can imagine, the plane descends.

There is no airport, no runway per se and the pilot’s target is usually perceptible only to them. And then the wheels scratch gravel and the plane lurches to a stop, dust flying and the wings bouncing as they adjust from supporting the plane to be supported by it.

Once we are all unloaded and the plane is gone the silence of the Brooks Range settles in on us and we pitch camp, making our home for the week in the wilderness.

Aug 30 - Sept 2

A custom and private trip like this is all about your desires and dreams for the trip. We supply food equipment, transportation, and leadership; but the experience is tailored to you and your vision of what is fun and rewarding. If you want to take it easy and loaf in camp, that’s great. If you want to charge off on a hike, your guide will lead the way. Or if you want to fish in solitude, that is fine too. We have lots of ideas and suggestions for how to enjoy the Arctic.

The options for hiking are varied, from relatively easy strolls to exhausting ascents. From natural history oriented rambles looking at animal tracks to aerobic challenges among the peaks and spires. The Brooks Range has it all.

If you want to fish, bring a rod, reel, and plenty of tackle. We will help you refine your skills to target the char that lurk in the deep holes.

We will also bring (airplane capacity allowing) a couple of very small rafts which each hold one person. We can use these to ferry across the river to access hikes on the far side. And if some of the group are eager, we can also hike up river and float back to camp.

There is no limit to our adventures. And when we return to camp we can shelter in the cook tent, swapping stories while waiting for the Aurora to brighten the autumn sky.


Sept 3

If the weather permits we ought to hear the plane by late morning. It may be the only we’ve heard all week! Time to fold and stow the tents, perhaps covered in frost, and to pack up the rest of camp. Then we squeeze back into the small planes and wing south back to Fairbanks.

Time for a shower and to begin exaggerating about the trip. And you should probably call your wife too!

Michael listened to our descriptions of what we wanted in a trip and investigated the possibility of making that sort of trip happen. Unlike some other guide services, he was attuned to what we were saying and did not outright say he could not accommodate us because Arctic Wild only provided trips like X, Y, or Z. In my opinion, the major difference between Arctic Wild and the 4 other guide services I talked to was that Michael tried to design a trip meeting our trip objectives and wishes.

- Rochelle , Missouri, USA



Transportation beyond Fairbanks

Food while in the wilderness

Stoves, cooking & eating utensils

Safety & repair gear

Professional guide service

Select Camping Equipment



Non-camp meals

Personal clothing and gear. See full equipment list

Fishing gear, and fishing license

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.


Land of Extremes by Alex Huryn

Alaska National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska Geographic

Midnight Wilderness by Debbie Miller

Being Caribou by Karsten Heuer

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