Jago Whitewater

GUIDED ALASKA Inactive Private Trips


Mid-June TBD


Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) Trips





Mid-June TBD


Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) Trips



Raft from the peaks of the Brooks Range to the Coastal Plain of the Arctic Refuge on the little traveled and raucous Jago River. This rafting trip has it all: day hikes to glacier views, whitewater rafting, spring wildflowers, and if lucky, lots of wildlife. Traverse the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge on this rarely traveled gem of a river.


From the glaciated, 9,000 foot peaks of the Brooks Range to the verdant coastal plain, this weeklong rafting adventure explores the great variety of the Arctic Refuge. There is no better way to experience the grandeur of the region than on a river trip.  This trip is designed to allow for lots of hiking and personal exploration. We will settle into each camp for multiple nights to take full advantage of the hiking and wildlife opportunity in each area.

The beauty of this trip is in the unhurried pace, the diversity of landscapes and the opportunity to paddle a river rarely seen. High in the mountains Dall sheep dot the mountainsides and bears dig roots on the river flats. In the foothills we might see wolves hunting marmots or following caribou trails. The Coastal Plain is where we may see musk oxen, and if lucky we may encounter large groups of caribou gathering under the midnight sun. On this trip we also have good chances of seeing peregrine falcons, golden eagles, jaegers, plovers, and a great variety of other migratory birds.

Hiking in the mountains and on the tundra is excellent.  Our travel schedule allows several layover days to hike the country, and plenty of free time each day. Our first hike will be high in the mountains where Dall sheep graze and glaciers carve dramatic ridge lines.

As we emerge from the higher peaks we will stop and hike among the wildflowers with views of the mountains behind and the sprawling Coastal Plain downriver. As we near the edge of the mountains, the arctic sky dominates the view and the diversity of birdlife is overwhelming. The hiking opportunities are limitless – from easy ambles up the valley, to all day peak ascents. Group day hikes will be tailored to your interests and abilities.

The Jago is a challenging river to paddle and participants must be prepared to help negotiate the rapid and shallows. There are no “passengers” on this trip.  Water levels on the Jago fluctuate wildly. If the water is high the rapids north of the mountains are navigable and we may elect to paddle further onto the coastal plain.

At low water paddling the rapids is significantly more challenging and we will end the trip upriver of the most technical whitewater. Even without running the big rapids, there may be some pushing and pulling of the rafts to get through boulder gardens and other obstacles. Because of the unique hazards on this river, we will provide dry suits for all participants. On a wilderness trip like the Jago, one never knows what conditions we may face nor what opportunities might arise. This is the nature, and the honor, of wilderness travel.

Last updated: May 5, 2023


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

June 11

Pre-trip meeting with your guides in Fairbanks at 9 am at Arctic Wild headquarters. Once questions are answered, gear checked, briefings given and everyone feels ready to cut the tether and head to the Arctic, we head to the airport and fly north to Arctic Village.

In Arctic we are met by our Gwich’in hosts who will help us get settled and oriented in their beautiful village.


June 12

A bush-plane will meet us in Arctic Village to shuttle us 3 at a time to the Jago River.  We’ll make a comfortable camp, have a good dinner, and watch the sun refuse to set!  Welcome to the arctic!  We can climb a small hill for a lovely view of the valley ahead or take a longer hike up a side stream. There are few places in the Arctic Refuge as beautiful as our camp this first night.


June 13 - 17

We’ll paddle and hike our way down the Jago River, allowing for two or three layover days depending on water levels.  We’ll take a layover in the mountains, another on the Coastal Plain, and if we make it through the canyon smoothly we can take another layover at the coast. On days when we paddle we encounter a wide variety of conditions from steep canyons to expansive plains. Each day is an adventure as we travel north across the refuge.

Day 11

Awake this morning at the northern edge of the continent.  Weather permitting, we get a quick flight to the Eskimo Village of Kaktovik and then a longer flight back south across the Brooks Range, the Arctic Circle, and the Yukon River to Fairbanks arriving late in the day.  Time to change your socks!

We had great guides and traveling companions, and were fortunate to see lots of caribou, bears, and other wildlife. The variety of scenery and adventure was great, even dragging the rafts through the mud on the delta was strangely fun. We’re really glad the trip went all the way to Arctic Coast. Great to have the library and spotting scope.


- Jeanine, Wisconsin, USA



Round-trip charters from Fairbanks

Food while in the wilderness, stoves, cooking & eating utensils

Boats, paddles, life jackets, drysuits, safety & repair gear

Professional guide service

Rental equipment is available through Arctic Wild


Non-camp lodging

Non-camp meals

Personal clothing and gear. See full equipment list

Gratuity for guide(s)


The weather can vary dramatically in the Arctic.   Temperatures can range from the 30s to 80s even in a single day.  When the wind comes from the north, the temperature can drop to below freezing. Cold rains and snow are possible, but we get lots of sunny weather in the summer season.  “Bug season” might start during our trip, so bring along a mosquito head net and a small bottle of DEET repellent. Better safe than sorry.


Land of Extremes by Alex Huryn

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge by 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