Backpacking ANWR
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

Backpacking ANWR - Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

At 19-million acres, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) is the largest federally protected conservation area in North America.  To say the the refuge is big would be paltry misrepresentation of its magnitude - ANWR is in fact incomprehensibly massive.  It's one of the few places left on the planet where one can literally disappear within the complex topography and utterly disconnected serenity of the far north.  That said, it's also one of the most approachable and user friendly wilderness areas anywhere in Alaska - the hiking is simply sublime!  Combine all of this with an ancient, though largely invisible, history of human presence and the Arctic Refuge could possibly be the perfect representation of the America's incomparable culture of wilderness preservation.

Join Alaska Alpine Adventures for a truly remote and incredible experience in one of the world's most celebrated wilderness areas - join us for a backpacking trip in ANWR.

 *While Alaska Alpine Adventures endeavors to follow our itineraries as written, odds are in fact slim that you actually will during the camping portion of this trip.  The expeditionary factors at play quite often compel our guides to deviate from the written itinerary.  Guide considerations could include weather conditions, group preference, individual ability, specific safety considerations, or unforeseeable circumstances; collectively what many have called “The Alaska Factor.”  Flight times into and out of the wilderness may also vary based on any number of similar factors. Therefore we strongly suggest that you approach any adventure in Alaska with an open mind.

 

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Trip Details

DURATION 10 days
LENGTH 60+ miles
INTENSITY Level 3
SEASON Summer
MIN AGE 8
BEGINS IN Fairbanks
ENDS IN Fairbanks
AIRPORT Fairbanks International Airport (FAI)
WILDLIFE/
SCENERY
moose, bears, wolves, sheep, birds
Price$5,595
Youth Price$5,595
Great ForExplorers Couples Individuals

In 2014, owner Dan Oberlatz and longtime guide Haley Johnston completed a 100 mile backpacking traverse of the eastern portion of the massive Arctic National Wildlife Refuge with longtime guests (10 straight years longtime!!!) Mark & Joan Strobel.  They were so astounded by the experience that Dan vowed to make an extended backpacking trip in ANWR a new offering for the 2015 season.  Not only did the Arctic Refuge deliver on the customary and expected fronts - ample wildlife and spectacular mountain scenery - but it also served up absolutely breathtaking tundra hiking and a huge helping of solitude.  They didn't see another human being for 12 full days.

What's Included

  • All group gear: Expedition quality tents, all cooking equipment & eating utensils
  • Safety equipment: Satellite phone, maps, GPS, and medical kit
  • Trekking poles
  • Roundtrip air transportation from Fairbanks to Arctic Village
  • Roundtrip air transportation from Arctic Village into the wilderness
  • Lodging on night one in Fairbanks
  • Professional guide service at a maximum 4:1 client to guide ratio
  • All meals from dinner on day one through lunch on the final day of the itinerary
Day
1

Today you are free to arrive in Fairbanks on your own.  From the airport, grab the complimentary airport shuttle to Pike's Waterfront Lodge, which is located near the airport on the banks of the Chena River.  After checking into the lodge, you’ll meet our guides by late afternoon in the hotel lobby. Tonight we’ll do an orientation dinner at our favorite Thai restaurant in Fairbanks and upon returning to our hotel, we’ll pour over maps and discuss the route.  Dinner & accommodations included.

Day
2

After breakfast at the lodge, we'll make our way over to Wright Air Service to check in for our bush flight to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.  You're in for an incredible day of aviation, so make sure you have the camera at the ready - your flight(s) will take you past the White Mountain National Recreation Area, over wild & scenic rivers, across the Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge and the Yukon River itself, and finally into the rugged Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.  Today, we're bound for a small tundra airstrip situated on the headwaters bank of the majestic Jago River.  Depending on the timing of the flights, we'll either set up camp on the river or choose to move up valley.  Regardless - you will be awestruck by the magnitude of the first "real" day.  Welcome to the arctic!  All meals included.

Days
3-8

For the next week, we'll make our way west through the refuge.  Our route will take us up into both forks of the Jago, and finally down into the Hulahula River drainage to our pickup airstrip.  As with all Alaska Alpine Adventures backpacking trips, we'll take at least one full layover day over the course of the expedition, and the overall pace will be steady and rhythmic.  While the primary goal of this trip to complete this point-to-point backpacking adventure, our true motive is revealed by truly experiencing the wonders of the Alaskan landscape.  We'll spend the entire trip in the alpine zone - far above treeline, and most of the hiking will be on a mix of dry alpine tundra, some tussocks, and a fair share of high mountain talus, scree, and glacial ice.  The rest of the miles will pass along the river bars and riparian zone of both the Jago & Hulahula Rivers.  Over the course of the journey we plan on covering more than 50 miles of wilderness travel.  All meals included. Average Daily Distance: 8-10 miles, Average Daily Elevation Gain: 2000'

Day
9

By the afternoon of the 9th day of the expedition, we'll be headed south along the Hulahula River towards the gravel bar airstrip and our pickup location.  Here we'll set up our final camp of the trip, revel in the success of the accomplishment, and enjoy our last evening under the midnight sun.  All meals included

Day
10

After a leisurely morning alongside the Hulahula River, we'll begin to break camp and prepare for our bush flight out of the wilderness and our return Fairbanks.  If you’re leaving Alaska this evening, please schedule your homebound flight for after 10PM.  Better still, opt for another night in Fairbanks at Pikes lodge.   Breakfast & lunch included.

*While Alaska Alpine Adventures endeavors to follow our itineraries as written, odds are in fact slim that you actually will during the camping portion of this trip.  The expeditionary factors at play quite often compel our guides to deviate from the written itinerary.  Guide considerations could include weather conditions, group preference, individual ability, specific safety considerations, or unforeseeable circumstances; collectively what many have called “The Alaska Factor.”  Flight times into and out of the wilderness may also vary based on any number of similar factors. Therefore we strongly suggest that you approach any adventure in Alaska with an open mind.

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The reality is that Alaska Alpine Adventures sets the standard for backcountry adventures. Everything about the trip was first rate and met the exceedingly high standards that we expect from Alaska Alpine Adventures.

Mark and Joan Strobel
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