Autumn Caribou, Gates and Kobuk for Min Wu

Autumn Caribou, Gates and Kobuk for Min Wu


September 2, 2016 - September 6, 2016


Gates of the Arctic and Kobuk National Parks


$7,800/ person from Kotzebue



September 2, 2016 - September 6, 2016


Gates of the Arctic and Kobuk National Parks


$7,800/ person from Kotzebue

Autumn is a beautiful time to explore the Arctic. Caribou are beginning to migrate southward, birds are flocking and the peaks are gradually being buried in snow.

This trip aims to show you the best of the Western Brooks Range by spending 2 nights in a mountain pass where we hope caribou will be migrating and 2 nights in Kobuk Dunes. Add in a stop in Gates of the Arctic National Park for a short hike and you have an adventure never to be forgotten.


Last updated: July 1, 2016


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

September 1

 After seeing the sights in Kotzebue and collecting park stamps at the new Western Arctic Parklands visitors center,  meet your guide for a pre-trip meeting this evening in Kotzebue.

September 2

Fly from the Eskimo village of Kotzebue on the Chukchi Sea north up the Noatak River in search of caribou. Though we have a couple places in mind, the destination for this day will be determined by the caribou and our assessment of where they are traveling. We will definitely be in a beautiful mountain pass. With luck there will be caribou migrating past.

September 3

A full day to explore and enjoy the mountains. Your desires help govern our activities. We can hike to a lake and try some fishing, ascend the nearest peak and watch Dall Sheep grazing, or plan a big loop hike, up one drainage and down the other. If caribou are in the area will will likely spend most of the day quietly watching them while they walk the ancient caribou trails that cut into the tundra.

September 4

After packing up our camp, we await the pilot’s return. We may make a stop in Gates of the Arctic National Park and take a quick hike if our first camp was not quite within the park boundaries. Then we will fly south right into the heart of the Kobuk Dunes. Once we unload we may have to carry our gear a ways to access fresh drinking water but then we can go and explore the dunes, springs and sand flats.

September 5

A full day to enjoy the dunes. Moose, wolves and fox all frequent the dunes as do a great number of birds. The sand constantly shifts and swirls. There are springs coming right out of the sand and great expanses where nothing seems to live. The hiking is soft in places but great distances can be covered if so inclined. Swim in the ponds, look for wolf dens, slide down the tallest dunes, or just stretch out your beach towel and parasol.

September 6

Weather permitting, our bush plane will arrive to fly us back to “civilization”. We plan to arrive back in Kotzebue by early evening. Empty sand from boots and take 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



Transportation starting and ending in Kotzebue, food while in the wilderness, stoves, cooking & eating utensils, water filter, base camp tent, 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, non-camp meals, personal clothing and gear, photographic equipment. Gratuity for guide(s).


September is fall in the Arctic and temperatures will be cool. Maybe even cold. We can expect days in the 40’s and nights in the 30’s but anything is possible including snow and rain and even a warm spell with temperatures in the low 60’s. There should be no bugs this late in the season but bring a little DEET just in case. Aviation is often delayed by weather in September as storms smother the mountains. Please plan accordingly.


Ordinary Wolves, Seth Kantner; Last Light Breaking, Nick Jans; The Brooks Range, Alaska Geographic; Alaska’s Brooks Range, John Kauffmann; Being Caribou 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!"
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Eileen - Canning River