Last updated: March 29, 2018
What follows is a general flow of events. Expect the unexpected and prepare to be flexible.
Meet your guide(s) in Fairbanks for a pre-trip meeting at 4 pm at Arctic Wild headquarters.
It is a two hour drive from Fairbanks to Nome Creek where we start the canoe trip. After we load the canoes, your guide will lead a boat handling session to cover canoeing basics for beginners and help experienced paddlers brush up on technique. Then we’ll paddle four miles to a wooded campsite near a quiet slough. A long evening of twilight gives way to a chilly night.
After a relaxing morning, we can take a walk to familiarize ourselves with the wilderness before loading the canoes and paddling a dozen miles. These first few days of the trip offer the best hiking of the journey and a chance for us to settle into the rhythm of river life.
Paddle 15 miles as we round Big Bend, so named because the river does a big bend around the end of the limestone ridge we camped at the day before. We’ll float below several big cliffs, scanning for Peregrine Falcons and Rough-Legged Hawk nests. Several good evening hikes are possible.
July 9 - 11
The valley widens, exposing the breadth of the northern sky. Marshlands and ponds stretch away to the mountains’ flanks. The river meanders, often folding back upon itself. Moose favor the area; in years past we have seen as many as eight moose in the area. We will paddle about 15 miles each day before we descend 20 miles through a canyon, lined on each side by towering mountains. Majestic spruce forests cloak the steep slopes, and side creeks rush into Beaver Creek. Peregrine falcons wheel overhead. Dall sheep can be seen on the slopes of Victoria Mountain.
Quick current and majestic peaks continue to challenge and awe us. We emerge from the mountains to the edge of the Yukon Flats, a vast basin of sluggish creeks, ponds, lakes, and dwarf spruce forests. Leaving the mountains behind us, it feels like we are setting out to sea. Victoria Mountain remains visible for days as we paddle north into the sprawling Yukon Flats.
July 13 - 17
Welcome to the Flats! It is a maze of water, trees, and grass and Beaver Creek wanders its way through the heart of the Yukon Flats Wildlife Refuge. Expect to paddle 20 to 25 miles on each of these days which takes about 7 hours of paddling.
July 18 -21
The Mighty Yukon. The enormous river whisks us westward and the sky yawns with puffy clouds on northern blue. With a 6 knot current we can cover 30 miles in 5 hours without much trouble and will have time each day to stop-in at Fish Camps, explore the sloughs and search-out old cabins on the forests. Wildlife here is different too with grizzly bear tracks instead of black bears and lynx and hares being much more common.
Stevens Village. We have a day to explore Jeff’s old home and to visit with the locals along the river.
It is a 1/2 a day paddle from Steven’s to the Dalton River Bridge where we meet the van for a 4 hour drive back to Fairbanks. Definitely time for a shower and clean socks!