Noatak Backpack and Canoe – MackAldener Custom

Noatak Backpack and Canoe – MackAldener Custom


July 31, 2019 - August 8, 2019


Gates of the Arctic National Park


$5,500/ person for a party of 6



July 31, 2019 - August 8, 2019


Gates of the Arctic National Park


$5,500/ person for a party of 6

Hiking, canoeing and fishing trip in the heart of Alaska’s Brooks Range. This adventure in Gates of the Arctic National Park explores the mountains and rivers of Alaska’s greatest wilderness. These 10 days will not soon be forgotten.


Last updated: October 15, 2018


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

July 30

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

July 31

It’s a long day.  We fly north from Fairbanks over the Yukon River and Arctic Circle to the arctic village of Bettles.  From Bettles we charter a floatplane into the Gates of the Arctic National Park.  We’ll land on a sprawling lake near the river. If the mood strikes us, we can shoulder our packs and head directly into the hills. If we want to spend the night at the lake and fish a bit before our backpacking trip begins, we can do that too.

August 1 - 3

There are no trails except the ones created by bears and caribou so we follow the creeks and ridges north of the Noatak into an area of small canyons and broad plateaus. We will follow on creek up and over a small pass and then descend another valley to eventually loop back to the Noatak covering about 15 miles in 3 days.

August 4

Assemble our Norwegian folding canoes and after a safety talk and paddling instruction we head down the Noatak River, practicing good paddling technique and enjoying the ease of travel compared to the backpacking.

August 5-7

We’ll canoe our way down the Noatak.  On days when we travel, we will spend about five hours on the river paddling about 15 miles.   This should mean we have a full  layover day when we won’t break camp and will explore on foot from camp. We can climb peaks from every camp, but there is also lots of good walking along the river, or up pretty tundra creeks.  There will be free time each and every day after camp is pitched.  The long evening is yours to enjoy the golden arctic sunlight.

August 8

Clean up and pack our gear. Weather permitting, we’ll catch our return flight back up the Noatak, over a great many mountains and then on to Fairbanks. Remove rubber boots!

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



Round-trip airfare from Fairbanks

Food while in the wilderness, stoves, cooking & eating utensils

Boats, paddles, life jackets, safety & repair gear

Professional guide service

Select Rental Equipment


Non-camp lodging

Non-camp meals

Fishing gear, and fishing license

Gratuity for guide(s)

Personal Clothing and Equipment per our equipment list.


Temperatures vary dramatically in the Arctic. Temperatures range from the 20s to 70s, averaging in the high 50’s. Cold rains and snow are possible, but we can get lots of sunny weather this time of the year too.  Mosquitoes should not be a problem on this trip, but a few flies could still be bothersome. Traveling with insect repellent (DEET) and a head-net is always prudent.


Nunamiut by Helge Ingstadt; Land of Extremes by Alex Huryn; We Live in the Arctic by Constance Helmericks; Arctic Wild by Lois Crisler; People of the Noatak by Clair Fejes. More Alaska reading is available from our Bookstore.

"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