Raft from the Brooks Range to the Arctic Ocean on the fast-paced Hulahula River with the Sierra Club and Arctic Wild. This rafting trip has it all: hiking, whitewater rafting, arctic wildlife, spring wildflowers and even a walk on the frozen Arctic Ocean. Traverse the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge on this classic rafting trip from the mountains to the sea.
Last updated: August 11, 2018
What follows is a general flow of events. Expect the unexpected and prepare to be flexible.
Pre-trip meeting with your guides in Fairbanks at 10 am at Arctic Wild headquarters. Then fly to Arctic Village. Arctic Village is a small Gwich’in Village on the edge of the Arctic Refuge on the southern slope of the Brooks Range. The Gwich’in people live a predominantly subsistence life and rely on the caribou that calve on the coastal plain of the Arctic Refuge for their nutrition. The Gwich’in culture is tied to the survival of the caribou and the Gwich’in have been strong advocates for the protection of the calving grounds for decades. We will spend the day and the night in Arctic Village where we will have the chance to meet with and learn from local leaders and get a small taste of life in a remote Alaskan village.
We’ll paddle and hike our way down the Hulahula River, allowing time for hiking and exploring each day. We will likely spend our first full day on the refuge camping near to where we landed. There is a mountain behind camp we can climb which affords views of our route ahead and a stunning overview of the Arctic Refuge. When we paddle we encounter a wide variety of conditions from steep canyons to expansive plains. Each day is an adventure as we travel north across the refuge and wildlife is a possibility at anytime.
Awake this morning at the northern edge of the continent. Weather permitting, we get a quick flight to the Eskimo Village of Kaktovik and then a longer flight back south across the Brooks Range, the Arctic Circle, and the Yukon River to Fairbanks arriving late in the day. Time to change your socks!
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
Professional guide service
Select Rental equipment is available through Arctic Wild and is included
Non-camp lodging (Sierra Club will provide lodging in Fairbanks)
Personal clothing and gear, waterproof river bag. See full equipment list.
Gratuity for guide(s)
(Please note that if you are unable to depart Kaktovik on the last day of the trip as scheduled, you will need to get yourself meals and a hotel in Kaktovik. This is not included in the trip price.)
Weather can vary dramatically in the Arctic. Temperatures can range from the 20s to 70s even in a single day. When the wind comes from the north, the temperature can drop to below freezing. Cold rains and snow are possible, but we get lots of sunny weather in the summer season and with 24 hours of daylight there is lots of sun when it is clear. In all likelihood this trip is prior to the “bug season” but bring along a mosquito head net and a small bottle of DEET repellent.