Polar Bears of Barter Island – Thorburn

Polar Bears of Barter Island – Thorburn


September 10, 2019 - September 13, 2019


Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR)





September 10, 2019 - September 13, 2019


Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR)



The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is the best place in the world to watch polar bears and Arctic Wild’s guides are uniquely qualified to share the wonders of the Arctic with you. On our trip to the Arctic Coast this fall you can immerse yourself in the world of the polar bear, learn about modern Eskimo (Inupiat) culture, and experience wilderness at the end of the earth.


Last updated: October 2, 2019


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

September 9

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

September 10

Fly from Fairbanks, over the mighty Yukon River, across the Arctic Circle to the Arctic Coast and land in Kaktovik where we settle into our hotel.

September 11

Weather permitting, we will enjoy a boat ride with a local guide. We will certainly see polar bears but we may also see bowhead whales, bearded seals and perhaps even beluga whales. Once back on shore and fed, we await evening and then will have the opportunity to watch bears on the beach.

September 12

Another full day in Kaktovik and we will spend it on the water with our local guide. With a full day to explore we can travel a bit further and take time to watch the bears interacting with each other.

September 13

A final trip out on the water to see what the bears are up to. Changing light, temperatures, and weather make each trip on the water unique. We will have the bulk of the day to watch loons, eiders, or polar bears, or do whatever suits your fancy. Weather permitting, we will fly back to Fairbanks in time for dinner.

Why so expensive?

The Arctic is an expensive place to work and live. Transportation costs are tremendously high. After years of relying on regularly scheduled air service to access Kaktovik, we have decided to only use chartered airplanes for this trip. We have found that charters are much more reliable when the weather is marginal, making it a better trip for you. We also don’t want to fill all the planes to this remote community with “tourists” when the locals rely on the plane for access to medical and other services.

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 to Kaktovik starting and ending in Fairbanks, outstanding guide service, 4 days/ 3 nights food and lodging in Kaktovik at Arctic Chalet, transportation in Kaktovik, six hours per day of boat tours (weather permitting).


Lodging beyond the duration of the scheduled trip, food beyond the duration of the scheduled trip, warm clothing, gratuity for guide(s). (Should weather delay our departure from Kaktovik you will need to pay for additional nights of lodging.)


A variety of weather should be expected including foggy periods and sunny conditions. Temperatures will be cold (20 to 50). Snow is likely. Bring a good parka, hat, and gloves. The up-side is that mosquitoes will be nowhere in sight.


Polar Bears, Ian Sterling; Fifty Years Below Zero by Charles Brown; Arctic Dreams by Barry Lopez. More Alaska reading is available at 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