Kiligwa Raft- CLF Custom

Kiligwa Raft- CLF Custom


August 15, 2016 - August 22, 2016


National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska


All payments made via CLF



August 15, 2016 - August 22, 2016


National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska


All payments made via CLF

At the very headwaters of the Colville River lies the Kiligwa, a small and nearly unexplored ribbon of blue in a sea of green tundra. Shallow, clear and punctuated by rocky bluffs the Kiligwa takes us through one of the least visited parts of Alaska. We will be the only people to paddle the Kiligwa this summer and probably the first in decades. Come explore with us.


Last updated: August 30, 2016


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

August 14

Meet your guide for a pre-trip meeting at 4 pm in Fairbanks at the Arctic Wild headquarters.

August 15

Fly north from Fairbanks across the Yukon River over the Brooks Range past Gates of the Arctic National Park to a gravel bar on the Kiligwa. After unloading the airplane we will make camp and relish the feeling of solitude. An evening hike on the tundra will wet our appetites for more exploration.

August 16

We have the day to explore the headwaters on foot. Late in the day we can inflate the rafts, get a refresher on paddle strokes and review river safety in preparation for the next day’s paddle.

August 17 - 21

The weather, the river and the wildlife inform our decisions about when to paddle, when to hike, when to rest and when to climb the bluffs for a vista. Some days we will spend most of the day on the water. Some days will be shorter and more leisurely and there will be one or two days when we elect to explore the uplands on foot and fish for grayling in the river, leaving camp set up for two nights in a single location. No matter how we spend our time, each day will be full of adventure and surprises

We will camp at the base of bluffs that will afford us sweeping views of the Colville basin. Each day presents new wonders and each moment offers a quiet surprise. It is a subtle, serene, and rich landscape; hauntingly beautiful primordial wilderness.

August 22

A final cast of the fishing rod; a final search of the gravel bar for fossilized coral; one last look in the willows for blue-throats and then it is time to pack our gear and listen for the distant hum of an airplane, perhaps the first we have heard in a week. Once the plane arrives it is back south. Weather permitting, we arrive in Fairbanks in time for a late dinner and can begin exaggerating about the trip.

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 beyond Fairbanks, food while in the wilderness, stoves, cooking & eating utensils, water filter, safety & repair gear and professional guide service. An equipment list is provided upon registration. Select rental equipment is available through Arctic Wild and is included in the trip price.


Lodging, non-camp meals, personal clothing and gear, fishing gear, and fishing license.


We can get some powerful storms that can either rain or snow on us in August, but we also get lots of mild summery days. You can expect temperatures to range from the 30s to the 70s. Mosquitoes and flies could be bothersome on occasion. DEET and a headnet are essential. Mid- August is not a time of extremes. We expect a bit of everything from sun to wind to rain to flies to perfect fall days when there is no place on earth finer than the Arctic.


Nunamiut, Helge Ingstadt; Land of Extremes, Alex Huryn; We Live in the Arctic, Constance Helmericks; Arctic Wild, Lois Crisler; Last Light Breaking Nick Jans; More Alaska reading is available from our Bookstore. You can view maps of the Kiligwa here and here.



"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