Arctic Packraft – Wilnai Custom

Arctic Packraft – Wilnai Custom


July 20, 2017 - July 28, 2017


Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR)


$7,500/ person for a party of 2



July 20, 2017 - July 28, 2017


Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR)


$7,500/ person for a party of 2

Join us this summer for a unique Mountains-to-the-Sea packrafting adventure in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The trip starts high in the Brooks Range day-hiking beneath glaciated peaks. Then you paddle your own raft down the Aichilik River, crossing the famed Coastal Plain and end on the shores of the Arctic Ocean!


Last updated: October 9, 2017


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

July 19

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

July 20

Fly 350 miles north from Fairbanks, across the Yukon River and the Arctic Circle to the Gwich’in Athabaskan village of Arctic Village. In Arctic Village we will meet our pilot for the beautiful flight over the Continental Divide past countless peaks and glaciers into the upper Aichilik River valley. After hiking to a suitable campsite, we will make camp and eat dinner and then take a hike under the midnight sun.

July 21

Dwarfed by the Brooks Range’s peaks, we day-hike further into the mountains.


July 22

Before launching into the river, your guide will train you in the art of packrafting and river safety. Once you are feeling confident and packs are secured to the deck of the packrafts, you begin your descent towards the ocean. The river is small and rocky and you may need to get out occasionally to nudge your boat between rocks or over shallows. The scenery alone is worth the effort and there will be time to lean back in your raft and watch the tundra go by.

July 23 - 25

As the river exits the mountains, the sky broadens and the river braids into multiple channels. Once you get the knack of following your guide through the deepest water, you will make good time and can scan the banks for bear, wolf, and caribou. Traveling towards the coast the wildlife changes along with the scenery. Waterfowl collect on the gravel bars and arctic fox can be found denning on the sandy banks. To the south, the Brooks Range dominates the skyline.

July 26

Approaching the coast the current slows and you enter one of the most wildlife rich portions of the Arctic Refuge. The Aichilik Delta is a birder’s paradise. After negotiating the delta, we paddle across the coastal lagoon to a barrier island in the Arctic Ocean. Most years there is sea ice still attached to the shore and we have an endless evening to explore this austere land of sky and ice.

July 27

You are likely to hear the boat before you see it. Once your captain arrives you will load your packs into the boat and take a several hour boat trip along the Arctic Coast. Along the way you are sure to learn about modern Eskimo life and are very likely to see polar bears. Once in the village, you can settle into your local lodging and enjoy a warm shower.

July 28

You have the morning to take a tour of Kaktovik and learn a bit more about life on the edge of the Arctic Ocean. Mid-day catch the “mail-plane” back to Fairbanks, (weather dependant) arriving in time for dinner.

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, One night of lodging and meals in Kaktovik on July 27th, food while in the wilderness, stoves, cooking & eating utensils, water filter, packraft, life jacket and paddle, safety & repair gear and professional guide service. Rental Equipment is available through Arctic Wild and is included in the trip price. See full equipment list.



Lodging except July 27 in Kaktovik, non-camp meals, (if weather delays our departure from Kaktovik extra nights of lodging and food are not included), personal clothing and gear, backpack, wading pants and boots. Gratuity for guide.


Weather this time of year is typically dry and sunny, though we can get some powerful storms that can either rain or snow on us.  Precipitation is generally light, and it’s fairly easy to keep comfortably dry. You can expect temperatures to range from the 30s to the mid 70s.  Mosquitoes could be bothersome on the coastal plain. DEET and a head net are essential.


Alaska National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska Geographic; Midnight Wilderness, Debbie Miller; Being Caribou, Karsten Heuer; Information on Brooks Range Glaciers by Dr. Matt Nolan; Packrafting!, Roman Dial. 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!"
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Eileen - Canning River