Arrigetch-Alatna Pack Raft
Gates of the Arctic National Park

Arrigetch-Alatna Pack Raft - Gates of the Arctic National Park

Gates of the Arctic National Park remains one of the most remote and unspoiled places on earth.  At 8.4 million acres, Gates covers an area twice the size of Connecticut and only a bit smaller than the country of Switzerland.  The park is essentially road-less, and except for limited and difficult access along the Dalton highway, most recreational visitors choose to enter its wilderness via a chartered bush plane.

The area of the park we will be visiting involves two separate bush flights.  The first takes us from Fairbanks to Bettles, a small gateway community and the field headquarters for the National Park Service.  From Bettles, we will then hop into a float-plane for the flight to Circle Lake and the start of 10 days of hiking and rafting in the Arrigetch.  This part of the park offers the full spectrum of Alaska hiking; from bushwhacking and talus hopping to tundra romping and creek crossing.  We’ll spend our days exploring this small portion of the Brooks Range, and our nights enjoying the sounds of Arrigetch Creek as we camp along its tundra carpeted headwaters beneath the massive granite escarpments of the Arrigetch Peaks. 

After 6-days of backpacking, we’ll trade trekking poles for paddles for and amazing canoe trip down the wild and scenic Alatna River running directly through the heart of the Brooks Range.  The Alatna’s clear water, stunning vistas, and moderate whitewater (mostly class I &II) make it the perfect river for a novice boater.  And the subdued nature of Alaska river life is always the perfect compliment and contrast to a strenuous backpacking trip.  We’ll spend the final days boating along the Alatna until we reach our pick-up at the Malamute Fork.  Experience one of Alaska’s most amazing combination expeditions with Alaska Alpine Adventures.

 

 

*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 12 days
LENGTH 35+ miles, 50+ river miles
INTENSITY Level 3
SEASON Summer
BEGINS IN Fairbanks
ENDS IN Fairbanks
AIRPORT Fairbanks International Airport (FAI)
WILDLIFE/
SCENERY
wolves, bears, sheep, caribou, moose
Price$4,995
Youth Price$4,995
Great ForExplorers Couples Individuals

Our incomparable 12-day combination adventure will take you backpacking and hiking through the Arrigetch Peaks region of the central Brooks Range plus canoeing down the Wild and Scenic Alatna River.  For those looking for the quintessential expedition into the remote wilds of Gates of the Arctic National Park, look no further.

What's Included

  • All group gear: Expedition quality tents, group tarp, all cooking equipment & eating utensils
  • All Rafting Equipment: Inflatable kayaks, life jackets, paddles plus spares, repair kits, throw bags, and dry bags
  • Safety Equipment: Satellite phone, maps, GPS, and medical kit
  • Trekking poles
  • Roundtrip air transportation from Fairbanks to Bettles
  • Roundtrip floatplane transportation from Bettles 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 hotel, we’ll make our way back to the airport for our bush flight from Fairbanks to Bettles, the gateway community to Gates of the Arctic NP.  Once in Bettles, we’ll transfer our gear to an awaiting float-plane for the 1-hour flight to Circle Lake - a small oxbow lake near the banks of the Alatna River.  As we bid our pilot goodbye, thoughts will quickly turn to the expedition ahead.  We'll make camp near the lake, savor our first night in the wilderness, and prepare for our Alaska backpacking adventure into the Arrigetch Peaks. All meals included. Distance: 1-2 miles, Elevation Gain 300'

Days
3-7

We’ll spend the next 5 days backpacking and hiking in the high country among the Arrigetch Peaks.  We’ll encounter a steep climb of 3000'+ on the first day backpacking, but by the second morning, the country will open up and yield to spectacular alpine tundra speckled with beautiful lakes and laced with tumbling creeks. The Arrigetch offers up incredible camp locations, and stupendous vistas of the magnificent Arrigetch Peaks.  Whether ascending a high mountain pass, walking along a tundra-clad ridge, or hiking alongside a high alpine lake, exploring this area will provide you the essence of Gates of the Arctic National Park, and the vastness of an incomparable wilderness.  All meals included. By the end of day 7, we’ll be making our way back to Circle Lake where we shift gears from a backpacking trip to a rafting adventure!  All meals included.  Average Distance: 6-10 miles per day, Average Elevation Gain 1000'-3500' per day

Days
8-11

We’ll spend the next 4 days rafting and exploring the Alatna River.  The Alatna River flows south from the Brooks Range through canyons and past huge mountain peaks.  Wildlife can be seen along the river and it’s not uncommon to see wolves, grizzly bears, caribou, moose, Dall’s sheep, and birds of prey.  The Alatna is a federally recognized Wild & Scenic River and has been called one of the most beautiful rivers in Alaska.  All meals included. Distance: 20-30 river miles per day

Day
12

Today we’ll break camp and await our pick-up. Once again, our bush pilot will use his skills to negotiate a landing and takeoff from the Alatna River itself!  After a short stop in Bettles, we'll return to Fairbanks and the conclusion of our trip.  If you are leaving Alaska on this day, please schedule flights home from Fairbanks for after 10pm. Better yet, plan to spend another night 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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I just wanted to take some time and really thank you for that Gates of the Arctic Trip.  The word I keep coming back to is "pivotal."  There was something about the physical exertion, the mental challenge, the mind-blowing Alaska landscape, the natural serenity - it all just combined to have a very positive and trans-formative effect on me.
Nicholas Vanbuskirk
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