The Kongakut River is famous for dramatic mountain scenery, fun wilderness rafting and frequent wildlife encounters. We will paddle the Kongakut this August as summer gives way to fall and the river is teeming with fish. Autumn brings glorious yellow and crimson to the tundra and brilliant displays of the Aurora overhead. The hiking from the river is varied and nearly endless and the paddling suberb.
Last updated: August 17, 2019
What follows is a general flow of events. Expect the unexpected and prepare to be flexible.
Pre-trip meeting with your guide in Fairbanks at 4pm at Arctic Wild headquarters.
Fly 200 miles north from Fairbanks, across the Yukon River and the Arctic Circle to the Gwich’in Athabascan settlement of Arctic Village. From there, we board an even smaller plane and carry on through the Brooks Range to a river bar alongside the Kongakut River. Tonight, take a hike, and settle into your surroundings.
Once we inflate the rafts and give a safety briefing we will launch in to the swift cold water.
On paddling days we spend about 5 hours on the water. This will allow lots of time for exploration, photography and a delicious picnic lunch. We run fun Class III rapids on several different days, and this entire stretch of river is exciting to paddle.
On each of the three layover days, we have choices of easy or harder, longer, higher climbs. Just before the last day or the trip, we will be able to hike to a sweeping view of the arctic coast and see the Arctic Ocean stretching off to the curved horizon. The fishing is great from every single place we camp.
Weather permitting, our bush plane will arrive to fly us towards Fairbanks in time for a late dinner and warm 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
Food while in the wilderness, stoves, cooking & eating utensils
Boats, paddles, life jackets, safety & repair gear
Rental equipment is available through Arctic Wild and is included in all custom trips.
Professional guide service
Personal clothing and gear, per our equipment list
Fishing gear, and fishing license
Gratuity for guide(s)
Temperatures vary dramatically in the Arctic. It could be warm, but it is best to prepare for autumn weather. Temperatures will range from the 20s to 70s perhaps in a single day. When the wind comes from the north, the temperature can drop to below freezing. Cold rains and snow are possible, but we get plenty of sunny pleasant weather this time of the year too. Mosquito season should be over but it is always prudent to travel with some DEET.