Washington Post – Arctic Refuge Base Camp

Washington Post – Arctic Refuge Base Camp


June 28, 2024 - July 1, 2024


Arctic National Wildlife Refuge





June 28, 2024 - July 1, 2024


Arctic National Wildlife Refuge



There is no place quite like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge when the sun shines day and night on the endless rolling tundra, and the frozen ground bursts with flowers and bird song.


One of our favorite places in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge is north of the Brooks Range, near the Arctic Ocean just inland from Camden Bay. It is the most scenic part of the 1002 area and in recent years the Porcupine Caribou Herd has also favored this area, making it a great place to enjoy the wide open beauty of the refuge and a decent place to look for wildlife too. Nothing can be guaranteed with wildlife, but a few years ago we guided a trip in the same area on similar dates and thousands of caribou streamed through the valley on two separate days.

Regardless of what the area’s wildlife does, we will explore the tundra on foot each day. With 24 hours of daylight and nearly limitless wilderness all around, there is no end to the exploration we can do. Each day we will head off in a different direction seeking wildlife and vistas. How far you choose to hike each day is largely up to you. We can ascend small esridg for views of the coastal plain and the Arctic Ocean, or we can hike the beach searching the wrackline bits of history and natural history. Our only limits are our imaginations (and/or safety).

Our home for the week will be a comfortable tent camp. Flat tundra makes an excellent camp, three square meals a day plus a small clear creek in the front yard means we are comfortable and at our leisure to enjoy the wilderness. Our camp will have a world-class view and as many amenities as we can fit into the small bush planes. A large “cook-tent” provides a sheltered place to prepare and enjoy wholesome meals. Tents are spacious, and wind worthy. 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.

We expect this to be a fun and productive trip to the Refuge for you.

Last updated: April 25, 2024


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

June 27

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


June 28

Fly 350 miles north from Fairbanks, across the Yukon River and the Arctic Circle directly to the Arctic Refuge. Once we have all arrived, we will make camp and enjoy the first of many hikes.

June 29 - 30

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

July 1

Pack up early and begin listening for our airplane. When it arrives we reluctantly load our gear and ourselves for the flight back through Arctic Village (or possibly Barter Island) and on to Fairbanks, arriving late in the afternoon. A shower is in order.

Michael listened to our descriptions of what we wanted in a trip and investigated the possibility of making that sort of trip happen. Unlike some other guide services, he was attuned to what we were saying and did not outright say he could not accommodate us because Arctic Wild only provided trips like X, Y, or Z. In my opinion, the major difference between Arctic Wild and the 4 other guide services I talked to was that Michael tried to design a trip meeting our trip objectives and wishes.

- Rochelle , Missouri, USA



Transportation beyond Fairbanks

Food while in the wilderness

Stoves, cooking & eating utensils

Select camping equipment is available through Arctic Wild

Professional guide service


Non-camp lodging

Non-camp meals

Personal clothing and gear per our Equipment List

Additional charter time for aerial footage nor any battery charging apparatus


Weather this time of year is typically dry and this is the warmest part of the year, though 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 70s.  Mosquitoes could be bothersome if the wind drops but usually there is breeze enough to keep them down. Bring DEET and a head-net just in case.


Naturalists Guide to the Arctic by E.C. Pielou

Being Caribou by Karsten Heuer

Arctic Dreams by Barry Lopez;

Caribou & the Barren-Lands by George Calef

Fifty Years Below Zero by Charles Brown

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