Each and every summer the Western Arctic Caribou Herd congregates in northwestern Alaska for one of the world’s most inspiring wildlife migrations. By mid June, the herd swells to nearly 200,000 animals and we regularly see thousands and even tens of thousands of caribou climbing tundra ridges and swimming icy rivers. It is a thrilling experience to watch a valley fill with caribou. The sound of 60,000 caribou walking through your camp cannot be described.
Last updated: June 21, 2018
What follows is a general flow of events. Expect the unexpected and prepare to be flexible.
Meet with your guide for a pre-trip meeting at 7 pm in Kotzebue.
We fly from Kotzebue on the Chukchi Sea north over the Brooks Range and out over the tundra. After scouting from the air for caribou we look for a place to land in the path of the migrating caribou.
We spend our time exploring the area looking for caribou and other wildlife. Your guide will lead hikes in hopes we can place ourselves in a hidden location in the path of the caribou. There will be times when no caribou are present, but there is no end to the beauty of the arctic.
If the caribou have already passed though our area, or if our prediction of where they would be was slightly off; we will fly our camp to a new location (weather permitting).
Another full day to enjoy the solitude and beauty of North America’s greatest wilderness. More hiking and wildlife watching is the order of the day.
We say our last goodbyes to the Arctic and meet our bush pilot for our flight back to Kotzebue. If the weather cooperates you should be back to Kotzebue in the late afternoon.
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 Kotzebue
Food while in the wilderness, stoves, cooking & eating utensils
Safety & repair gear
Professional guide service.
Select Rental Equipment
Personal clothing and gear. See full equipment list.
Gratuity for guide
Temperatures vary from the 70’s to below freezing. Snow is possible; rain is likely. However, this time of the year we generally have lots of sunny weather. There will be bugs, so bring a mosquito head net and a bottle of DEET repellent just in case.
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge by Alaska Geographic; Naturalists Guide to the Arctic by E.C. Pielou; Being Caribou by Karsten Heuer; Arctic Dreams by Barry Lopez; Caribou & the Barren-Lands by George Calef; Fifty Years Below Zero by Charles Brown; Midnight Wilderness by Debbie Miller; Seasons of Life and Land by Shubanker Banjeeri; Arctic Wings by Stephen Brown. More Alaska reading is available from our Bookstore.