Our exciting 10 - day combination adventure will take us hiking amongst the in the Brooks Range and rafting down the Alatna River.
Current date is: 2013-06-19
Length 50+ Miles
Intensity Level 2 R
Begins In Fairbanks
Ends In Fairbanks
Airport Fairbanks International Airport (FAI)
Wildlife bears, sheep, wolves, caribou, eagles
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 chartered airplane.
The bush pilots who make their livelihood flying this area know this remote and mountainous region better than anyone. They provide us with access to places like the Alatna River, a federally designated wild and scenic river beneath the spectacular Arrigetch Peaks. Arrigetch, which means “fingers of the hand extended” is an area comprised of a tilted intrusion of granite that has been hailed as the hallmark of Gates of the Arctic. Bob Marshall described the area best when he called Arrigetch “…a series of sensational needlelike peaks extending in a horseshoe around a gushing creek which rose in the glacier.”
The area of the park we will be visiting involves two separate bush flights. Our first takes us from Fairbanks to Bettles, a small gateway community and the field headquarters for the National Park Service. From Bettles, we’ll then hop into a float-plane for the flight to Circle Lake and the start of our 10 day hiking and rafting excursion into the Arrigetch of Gates of the Arctic National Park. This part of the park offers the full spectrum of Alaska hiking, from bushwhacking and talus hoping 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 the Alatna River as we camp along its shores under the Arctic midnight sun. When we’re not hiking, we’ll be drifting down the wild and scenic Alatna River directly through the heart of the Brooks Range. The Alatna’s clear water, stunning vistas, good fishing and moderate whitewater (mostly class I & II) make it the perfect river for a novice floater. Not to mention the subdued nature of Alaska river life is always the perfect compliment and contrast to exploratory day hikes. We’ll spend our days floating and hiking along the Alatna until we reach our pick-up point at the Malamute Fork of the Alatna.
Below you will find all available instances of this trip. Roll over departure dates to see a complete list of departures. Roll over the demographic icons to get a brief overview of the demographic group.
This trip originates in Fairbanks, Alaska. Getting to Fairbanks is a snap. Alaska Airlines, your travel agent, or the carrier of your choice can easily arrange roundtrip airfare from the lower 48. Once you land in Fairbanks, your adventure really begins. For this trip into Gates of the Arctic National Park, you'll find that the areas we visit won't be found on any road map; out here there aren't any roads!
Bush Flights: Access to Gates of the Arctic National Park is limited to air travel in a small airplane flown by an experienced bush pilot. This adventure includes the bush flight between Fairbanks and Bettles, Alaska and floatplane flights into Gates of the Arctic necessary for your itinerary. Have your camera at the ready, your trip begins here. For most, this will be your first experience in a small aircraft – a memorable one to be sure. The flight to Bettles takes you across open tundra as you make your way towards the mighty Brooks Range, and takes approximately an hour and a half. After arriving in Bettles, you will then be taken to the float plane lake used by our air taxi. Here you and your guide will board Brook's Range Aviation's floatplane for your flight into the wilderness.
Accommodations: Lodging on night one in Fairbanks is included in your package. You’ll be staying in at Pike's Waterfront Lodge in Fairbanks. We use Pike's because of it's comfortable rooms and convenient location near the airport. Prices are double occupancy. If you prefer your own room on night one you will be asked to pay a single supplement of $105.00. The remaining nights will be spent camping in the wilderness!
The Experience: Your trip originates in Fairbanks, and we'll meet as a group for the first time at Pike's Waterfront Lodge. As you settle into your accommodations for the night, your guide(s) will be available to aid you with your gear and answer any questions you might have.
Up early on day 2, we’ll have breakfast at the lodge. We'll then make our way to our air taxi to catch our flight to Bettles, and then into the wilderness by floatplane. Our first day will allow us to collect our senses, gaze at the surrounding beauty, and get a feel for the terrain we will be covering. You will quickly become acquainted with our style of wilderness travel and camp etiquette. Meals are planned to be sumptuous, filling culinary adventures of their own. Because weight and packaging is critical, careful consideration is taken in planning and packing the ingredients. You can be assured every meal will be something you may never have experienced in the wilderness. We use organic and real food products when possible and the very best freeze-dried and dehydrated ingredients available.
All group gear (tents, inflatable canoes, stoves, fuel, dry bags, etc.) and safety equipment.
Roundtrip air transportation from Fairbanks to Bettles.
Roundtrip air 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.
Lodging in Fairbanks prior to and after your adventure.
Personal gear (sleeping bags, packs, rain gear, etc.). See Equipment Lists
Trip cancellation insurance.
Additional room nights in Fairbanks or Bettles due to weather delays.
A deposit of $1000.00 per person is required to reserve a trip with Alaska Alpine Adventures. The remaining balance is due 60 days prior to the start of the trip. Reservations made within 60 days of the trip starting date require payment in full.
If the participant cancels a reservation earlier than 60 days prior to the starting date, the deposit will be refunded, minus a $500.00 administration fee. If the participant cancels within 59-31 days of the starting date, 50% of the trip balance will be refunded. If cancellation is made within 30-0 days of the trip starting date, there will be no refund of any costs. Alaska Alpine Adventures recommends cancellation insurance available through Travel Guard. Please call or email us for details.
What about the mosquitoes?
In case you've heard horror stories... the number of mosquitoes is greatly dependent on hatching season and annual weather conditions. While we are bound to encounter some mosquitoes during the course of our adventure, their numbers have not generally presented major problems on past trips in these specific areas. That said, please arrive prepared with insect repellent and a head net to fend off any mosquitoes that are present.
Will bears be a problem?
Alaska is bear country! There are both grizzly and black bears in most of the wilderness areas of Alaska we visit. We love seeing bears in the wild and it really is one of the most thrilling experiences common in Alaska backcountry travel. With that said, traveling safely and taking precautions to minimize a negative encounter are things we take very seriously. In addition to being subject to our thorough bear safety orientation, you’ll also see that we take many precautions when traveling in Alaska’s wilderness – 1 all of our food has been packaged to minimize odors – we vacuum seal most of our fresh ingredients and sauces, we pack our food in bear resistant food canisters, and we store our food well away from camp. 2 We make noise when we’re hiking in thick brush or when we’re hiking in windy conditions to minimize surprise encounters 3 we keep an exceptionally clean camp and 4 as a last resort we travel armed. Our guides carry 44 mags or shotguns. Most of Alaska’s national parks, excluding Katmai and Denali, allow for the use of firearms and our guides are thoroughly trained in firearm use. Again, using a gun is a last resort and thankfully we’ve never had to call one into service on a trip! Be sure to check out some tips on traveling safely in bear country on our blog!
What kind of food might we expect?
Our food is excellent – in fact it is something that clearly differentiates us from our competitors. We have spent the past decade fine tuning our backcountry menu. Breakfasts include pancakes, scrambles, various homemade granolas and cereals, French pressed coffee, assorted teas and hot drinks. For lunch we enjoy foccacia sandwiches, bagels and Alaska lox, hummus and toasted pita chips, and assorted wraps. We also have homemade snack mixes both salty and sweet and energy and candy bars available throughout the day. Dinners could include lasagna, pad thai, beef mole’ tacos, penne pasta with a roasted red pepper pesto, wild mushroom risotto, etc. And we ALWAYS enjoy one of Derek’s home baked desserts after dinner.
When would you require a deposit? and how much? Trip cancellation insurance? Can we get it through you?
We require a deposit of $1000 per person to officially reserve a trip. Really the deposit is due as soon as you’d like to book. That way, we have the trip inked in on the schedule and can begin the effort to coax others into joining the adventure. When you decide to book, we then generate an invoice that we send by email. You’ll then have the option to pay the deposit by mailing us a check, calling us with a credit card number or by using a Visa, Master Card, or American Experss on our secure online payment system. As for trip cancellation insurance, Alaska Alpine Adventures is licensed to sell Travel Guard - an industry leading insurance product designed specifically for adventure travelers. Please contact us for details, or click here to obtain a quote.
Gates of the Arctic National Park:
Why go to Gates of the Arctic National Park?
Gates of the Arctic National Park, despite being the recipient of frequent media attention over the past 45 years, remains one of the most remote and unspoiled places on earth. Its 8.4 million acres cover an area twice the size of Connecticut and only slightly smaller than Switzerland. The park is essentially a road less wilderness area and, except for limited and difficult access along the Dalton highway. Traversing the landscape below the Arrigetch Peaks alters our sense of scale as well as our definition of true wilderness. Rafting, hiking, and backpacking in Gates of the Arctic are the activities that Alaska Alpine Adventures specializes in and we have been operating in Gates of the Arctic National Park since 2005.
Where is Gates of the Arctic National Park?
Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve lies 250 miles north of Fairbanks, and over 450 miles north of Anchorage. The national park is the central component of the 700 square mile protected Brooks Range. The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is to the east, and the Noatak Preserve is to the west.
How do you get to Gates of the Arctic?
Access to Gates of the Arctic National Park is mainly by small aircraft or, in some instances, can be arduously accessed by foot.
Is transportation to Gates of the Arctic included in the price of the trip?
Absolutely, our Arctic trips are all inclusive from Fairbanks. All you need to do is get yourself to our lodge in Fairbanks on Day 1 of your itinerary.
Where will you meet us?
Your Alaska Alpine Adventures guide will meet you in the afternoon at the lodge on day 1 for an orientation dinner and gear check.
Who will I be flying with and what time will we be departing on day two?
You will join your guides for breakfast at the lodge on the morning of day two. From there, the group will shuttle to the air taxi for the flight to Bettles. We will be flying with Wright Air from Fairbanks to Bettles. From there, we'll transfer to the float plane lake in Bettles for our float plane flight into the wilderness with Brooks Range Aviation.
Is Gates of the Arctic a good place for viewing wildlife?
Absolutely. The national park is home to grizzly and black bears, dall sheep, caribou, moose, wolves, and tremedous seasonal populations of migratory birds.
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