Jago Whitewater


June 12, 2024 - June 23, 2024


Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) Trips





June 12, 2024 - June 23, 2024


Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) Trips



Raft from the peaks of the Brooks Range to the Coastal Plain of the Arctic Refuge on the little traveled and raucous Jago River. This rafting trip has it all: day hikes, glacier views, whitewater rafting, spring wildflowers, and if lucky, lots of wildlife. Traverse the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge on this gem of a river.


From the glaciated, 9,000 foot peaks of the Brooks Range to the verdant coastal plain, this weeklong rafting adventure explores the great variety of the Arctic Refuge. There is no better way to experience the grandeur of the region than on a river trip.  This trip is designed to allow for lots of hiking and personal exploration. We will stay for multiple nights at each campsite to take full advantage of the hiking and wildlife opportunities in each area.

The beauty of this trip is in the unhurried pace, the diversity of landscapes and the opportunity to paddle a river rarely seen. High in the mountains Dall sheep dot the mountainsides and bears dig roots on the river flats. In the foothills we might see wolves hunting marmots or following caribou trails. The Coastal Plain is where we may see musk oxen, and if lucky we might encounter large groups of caribou gathering under the midnight sun. On this trip we also have good chances of seeing peregrine falcons, golden eagles, jaegers, plovers, and a great variety of other migratory birds.

Hiking in the mountains and on the tundra is excellent.  Our travel schedule allows several layover days to hike the country, and plenty of free time each day. Our first hike will be high in the mountains where Dall sheep graze and glaciers carve dramatic ridge lines.

As we emerge from the higher peaks we will stop and hike among the wildflowers with views of the mountains behind and the sprawling Coastal Plain downriver. As we near the edge of the mountains, the arctic sky dominates the view and the diversity of birdlife is overwhelming. The hiking opportunities are limitless – from easy ambles up the valley, to all day peak ascents. Group day hikes will be tailored to your interests and abilities.

The Jago is a challenging river to paddle and participants must be prepared to help negotiate the rapid and shallows. There are no “passengers” on this trip.  Water levels on the Jago fluctuate wildly. If the water is high, the rapids north of the mountains will navigable and we may elect to paddle further onto the coastal plain. At low water paddling the rapids is significantly more challenging and we will end the trip upriver of the most technical whitewater. Even without running the big rapids, there may be some pushing and pulling of the rafts to get through boulder gardens and other obstacles. Because of the unique hazards on this river, we will provide dry suits for all participants. On a wilderness trip like the Jago, one never knows what conditions we may face nor what opportunities might arise. This is the nature, and the honor, of wilderness travel.

Last updated: December 19, 2023


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

June 11

Pre-trip meeting with your guides in Fairbanks at 4 pm at Arctic Wild headquarters. Once questions are answered, gear checked, briefings given and everyone feels ready to cut the tether, you’ll head back to your hotel for the night.


June 12

Morning departure from Fairbanks in a variety of airplanes heading for the Arctic. Once everyone and everything is on the ground, we’ll make a comfortable camp, have a good dinner, and watch the sun refuse to set!  Welcome to the arctic!  We can climb a small hill for a lovely view of the valley ahead or take a longer hike up a side stream. There are few places in the Arctic Refuge as beautiful as our camp this first night.


June 13 - 22

We’ll paddle and hike our way down the Jago River, allowing for several layover days.  We’ll take a couple layovers in the mountains, another one or two the Coastal Plain, and once we make it through the canyon smoothly (fingers crossed) we can take another layover nearer the coast. On days when we paddle we encounter a wide variety of conditions from steep canyons to expansive plains. There is significant whitewater north of the mountain-front at the edge of the coastal plain. It will present a challenge and a thrill. Each day is an adventure as we travel north across the refuge along its most rugged watershed.

June 23

Awake this morning on the vast coastal plain of the Arctic Refuge.  Weather permitting, we get a quick flight to the Inupiat 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!

I genuinely feel, having traveled in South America, Australia, and Africa to remote villages and lodges, huts etc. that Alaska was the most foreign I have ever felt. And I am glad to have experienced it.
One of my biggest impressions is that I am so so very glad we had Arctic Wild as our outfitters. Michael Wald and his team were terrific and well prepared. I can’t say enough about the attention to detail and the experience of them and especially our guide Nancy Pfeiffer. I talked with other guides and with other groups. After each conversation, (trust me, they were lengthy chats as we were on a gravel runway sitting on our packs…) I thought how lucky we were to be with Nancy and Arctic Wild.


- Linda, Washington, USA



Round-trip charters from Fairbanks

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

Boats, paddles, life jackets, drysuits, safety & repair gear

Professional guide service

Select Camping Equipment is available through Arctic Wild


Non-camp lodging

Non-camp meals

Personal clothing and gear. See full equipment list

Gratuity for guide(s)


The weather can vary dramatically in the Arctic.   Temperatures can range from the 30s to 80s 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.  “Bug season” might start at the end of our trip, so bring along a mosquito head net and a small bottle of DEET repellent. Better safe than sorry.


Land of Extremes by Alex Huryn

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge by Alaska Geographic

Midnight Wilderness by Debbie Miller

Being Caribou by Karsten Heuer

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