The Canning River is the largest river in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and many claim it to be the most beautiful. Our journey through the wilderness is designed to immerse you in the beauty of this exceptional area, with ample time for hiking in the high country and some fun days on the water. Diversity in wildlife and birds will keep you wanting your binoculars handy.
Last updated: September 20, 2018
What follows is a general flow of events. Expect the unexpected and prepare to be flexible.
Meet your guides for a pre-trip meeting at 4 pm at Arctic Wild headquarters in Fairbanks.
Fly from Fairbanks to the Gwich’in settlement of Arctic Village, where we switch to a smaller plane and head further north, over the spectacular Philip Smith Mountains, to our put-in on on the Marsh Fork of the Canning River. We will set up camp and inflate our rafts in preparation for the next day’s float.
We will spend our time floating from the headwaters of the Marsh Fork to the Coastal Plain. Along the way we will have as many as three or four layover days to enjoy day hiking, fishing, or just hanging around camp, enjoying the solitude and quiet. The hiking is fantastic the entire length of the river and wildlife can be found at any time. There are hard hikes and easy strolls from each camp. Only your imagination limits the adventures we can have. On our travel days we will paddle for about about 5 hours. There is a bit of whitewater and lots of fast water but also plenty of stretches where we can watch the sky and scan the mountains for wildlife.
Pack our gear and await the arrival of our bush pilot, who will land on a long gravel bar. If the weather permits, we will fly back to Fairbanks in time for a late dinner.
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.
Transportation beyond Fairbanks
Food while in the wilderness
Stoves, cooking & eating utensils
Boats, paddles, life jackets, safety & repair gear
Professional guide service.
Select Rental equipment is available through Arctic Wild and is included
Personal clothing and gear per our Equipment List
Fishing gear, and fishing license
Gratuity for guides
Expect a variety of weather. Temperatures can range from in the 70’s down to freezing. Snow is always possible. Bugs may hatch while we are on the river so bring some DEET and a head net.
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 Banerjee; Arctic Wings by Stephen Brown. More reading available at our bookstore.