Sheenjek Base Camp – Needham

Sheenjek Base Camp – Needham


June 3, 2022 - June 8, 2022


Arctic National Wildlife Refuge


$6,100/ person



June 3, 2022 - June 8, 2022


Arctic National Wildlife Refuge


$6,100/ person

There is no place quite like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in June, with the tundra turning brilliant green, and animals on the move in the frenzy of arctic spring. Enjoy a week of sun-filled nights to hike and explore America’s northernmost wilderness.


The Sheenjek River, in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge was made famous by Olaus and Mardy Murie with their 1956 expedition (complete with 1 yr old child) to census caribou in the region. Inspired by the Sheenjek, they advocated for the formation of the Arctic Refuge which we enjoy today. We think the Sheenjek will inspire you too.

Starting in the limestone peaks of the Eastern Brooks Range the Sheenjek’s clear waters flow through deep gravel beds of ancient fossils and beneath gray and purple mountains. The upper river is dry and spare with enormous vistas and excellent hiking. It makes a wonderful place to hike and explore in the spring sunshine.

Our camp at the transition between the boreal forest and the arctic tundra is situated at a beautiful and ecologically interesting spot. With spring in the air we can expect to see a great variety of birds, both residents and migrants hurriedly preparing nests. There could be a few bull caribou heading north and moose and grizzly bears frequent the area searching for the first spring greens.

Our home for the week will be an expansive valley surrounded by cliffs, peaks, and with luck, wildlife. Flat tundra makes an excellent camp, three square meals a day plus a small river in the front yard means we are comfortable and at our leisure to enjoy the wilderness. Our camp will have a world-class view. A large cook tent provides a sheltered place to prepare and enjoy wholesome meals. A small camp library is full of resources to help you learn more about the Arctic and your guide is a wealth of information, experience, and tall tales. When the weather is mild we enjoy the comfort of outdoor living relaxing in camp chairs, eating good food, and watching the changing light on the mountains, even at two in the morning.

Between the birding, fishing, hiking, wildlife watching and the joys of living in the wilderness, each day will bring delights and surprises. Weather in June is fickle and will provide some challenges. It could snow, the land could be hidden in fog for days, we could see 40 knots of wind. Or it could be swelteringly hot with a searing sun. With endless daylight and endless wilderness this promises to be a week never to be forgotten.


Last updated: September 27, 2022


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

June 2

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


June 3

Leaving Fairbanks we fly 250 miles, over the Yukon River, to Arctic Village. We then catch a smaller plane for a spectacular flight to the Sheenjek. We set up camp and enjoy our first night in the wilderness.

June 4 - 7

Each day will bring its own surprises.  The hiking will be varied from soft tundra to long gravel bars and rocky slopes. With luck there will be wildlife to enjoy near camp. The camping is excellent and the scenery unbeatable.

June 8

A final hike before we reluctantly pack-up and begin listening for the airplane. When it arrives we load our gear and ourselves for the flight back to Fairbanks.

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 beyond Fairbanks

Food while in the wilderness, stoves, cooking & eating utensils, water filter, base camp tent, safety and communications equipment

Select camping equipment

Professional guide service


Non-camp lodging

Non-camp meals

Personal clothing and gear per our Equipment List

Gratuity for guides


Early June is the beginning of spring in the Arctic. Weather this time of year is typically dry and starting to warm. That said it is the Arctic and we can get some powerful storms that can either rain or snow on us.  Precipitation is generally light, and it’s fairly easy to keep comfortably dry. You can expect temperatures to range from the 30s to the 80s.  The trip is well before mosquito season but bring DEET and a head-net just in case it is warm and the hatch is early.


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

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.

"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!"
client client client client client
Eileen - Canning River