The Kongakut River is famous for dramatic mountain scenery, fun wilderness rafting and frequent wildlife encounters. We will paddle the Kongakut this August as arctic char begin running up the river in earnest. The hiking from the river is varied and nearly endless and the fishing for both char and grayling is exceptional.
Last updated: April 16, 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 5 or 6 hours on the water. This will allow time for exploration, photography and a delicious picnic lunch each day. We enjoy 20 hours of daylight so there is no need to hurry though we do have some miles to cover during the course of the trip.
On our layover days, we have choices of easy or harder, longer, higher climbs. The fishing and hiking 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
Select rental equipment is available through Arctic Wild.
Professional guide service
Personal clothing and gear, See full equipment list.
Fishing gear, and fishing license
Gratuity for guide(s)
Temperatures vary dramatically in the Arctic. It could be warm, even hot, but it is best to prepare for autumn weather. Temperatures will probably range from the 30s to 70s. 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 waning but bring a bottle of DEET and a head-net just in case. They could still be out in force.
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.