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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.