Canning to the Coast

Canning to the Coast


June 14, 2020 - June 21, 2020


Arctic National Wildlife Refuge





June 14, 2020 - June 21, 2020


Arctic National Wildlife Refuge



The Canning River in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is a river like no other. Its clear fast waters rush from the 9,000 ft peaks in the Brooks Range spilling into the Arctic Ocean in a wildlife rich delta. We will hike the northern edge of the Brooks Range and then paddle to the northern limit of the continent, traversing the imperiled “1002 Area” and learning about the region’s wildlife and wild landscapes.


Last updated: October 25, 2019


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

June 13

Meet your guides for a pre-trip meeting at 4pm in Fairbanks at Arctic Wild headquarters. We’ll orient you to the trip logistics, help you check through your gear, and take time to answer everyone’s questions.

June 14

We’ll leave Fairbanks early and in stages make our way north crossing the Yukon River and the Brooks Range enroute.  Eventually the capable bush pilots will land us at our put-in on the Canning. Once the entire group has arrived, we can set up camp and explore the nearly limitless wilderness.

June 15 - 20

On paddling days we will spend about five hours on the water, stopping for short walks and a delicious lunch en route. There will be two or three “layover days” where we will keep camp set up and will explore the area on foot. Guides will lead informal natural history hikes on moving days and on the layover days.  The hiking is good the entire length of the river and wildlife can be found at any time. Early in the trip the scenery is fairly mountainous. As we descend the river the sky opens and the lands flattens. The coastal plain and especially the river delta is rich in bird life, some of the best in Arctic Alaska. The diversity of wildlife and landscapes is a great joy of the trip. We plan on spending the last full day of the trip at the Arctic Coast and we can hike down to the beach where there is an old Inupiat village.

June 21

Weather permitting, our pilot will arrive and fly us back across the Brooks Range to Fairbanks in time for a late dinner and a 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



Round-trip airfare from Fairbanks to the Brooks Range and back

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

Boats, paddles, life jackets, safety & repair gear

Professional guide service

Rental equipment is available through Arctic Wild and is included.


Non-camp lodging

Non-camp meals

Personal clothing and gear per our equipment list

Fishing gear, and fishing license

Gratuity for guide(s)



Expect a variety of weather. Late June tends to be mild by arctic standards. Expect temperatures to range from in the 70’s down to freezing. Snow is always possible. Bugs could be an issue in the mountains and foothills so DEET and a head-net are highly recommended. Bring an extra warm layer for the coast.


Arctic National Wildlife Refuge by Alaska Geographic; Being Caribou by Karsten Heuer; Arctic Dreams by Barry Lopez; Caribou & the Barren-Lands by George Calef; Fifty Years Below Zero by Charles Brown. More Alaska reading available at 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