• Alaska: Rafting & Hiking the Kongakut River - Explore the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge with Alaska Discovery

    Rafting & hiking the Kongakut River in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

    Travel down Alaska's Kongakut River and experience the magnificent Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. While navigating the river, explore the most scenic portion of the "Serengeti of the North."

    best times to go: June

    departures: 2 scheduled datesview departures

    pricing: from $5,295 see detailed pricing

    Alaska

    Moderate
Also great as a private trip. Call for details

Rafting & hiking the Kongakut River in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

This spectacular river rafting and hiking adventure introduces you to the breathtaking beauty of Alaska’s famed Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. You’ll take a 300-mile bush flight across the very top of North America to the headwaters of the Kongakut River in the Brooks Range, then navigate the river toward the Arctic coastal plain through some of the wildest country on earth.

Along the way you’ll stop for long day hikes up the ridgelines and mountains of this spectacular wilderness valley, and watch for grizzlies, Dall sheep, wolves, and parts of the vast Porcupine caribou herd as they migrate toward the Arctic plain. And since there is nearly continuous daylight, there’s ample time to hike and photograph the amazing scenery! This area is one of our most fascinating and ecologically diverse national treasures, and there’s no better way to see it than with the original Alaska Discovery company!

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Activities

Easy to moderate paddle rafting with some Class III rapids, moderate to challenging day hikes

TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

  • Experience the magnificent Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and see all that it stands for
  • Explore the most scenic portion of the "Serengeti of the North" while witnessing a slice of the vast Porcupine caribou herd migration
  • Rafting days are complemented by leisurely layover days to hike, photograph, and explore to your heart's content

Duration: 10 days Start Location: Fairbanks End Location: Fairbanks

Download Detailed Itinerary
Itinerary
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    Day 1 : Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

    NOTE:  You will need to arrive in Fairbanks by 5:00pm on the day prior to day one.  There will be a meeting at the Fairbanks B&B at 6:00pm

    On day one we will fly to the Native community of Arctic Village.

     After an early breakfast on your own, our journey begins with a spectacular 300-mile bush plane flight over the Yukon River Flats to the Native community of Arctic Village. We then switch to smaller planes and continue north over the Brooks Range and on to the upper Kongakut River. The Arctic Refuge is a land of majestic mountains, rolling tundra, and the coastal plain. At first glance, the country appears quite barren from our plane. But a closer look reveals a lush, alpine landscape blanketed with wildflowers, intricate valleys, and ancient rock formations and cascading waterfalls. We’ll land on a small gravel bar along the river, about 10 miles north of the Continental Divide, and set up our first camp.

  • Kgk_mts_raft
    Days 2 - 9 : Rafting & hiking along the Kongakut River

    Paddle along the river, encountering breathtaking mountain and valley scenery along the entire route. Our schedule on the Kongakut is flexible: rafting days alternate with full layover days to hike, photograph wildflowers and amazing wildlife--including the Porcupine caribou herd--fish for Arctic char and grayling (bring your fishing gear!), and explore one of the finest wilderness settings on earth. Our favorite hike near the end of the trip is up a long ridgeline for endless views of the coastal plain and the Arctic Ocean and offshore ice pack, under a sun that never sets.

  • Kgk_mts_aboveriver
    Day 10 : Return to Fairbanks and Depart

    After hiking in Caribou Pass, we’ll break camp and await the arrival of the bush planes for our flight to Arctic Village, followed by a flight back to Fairbanks. We plan to arrive in Fairbanks by 5:00 p.m., but we highly recommend booking another night in Fairbanks as flight delays are possible. Guests often gather for a no-host dinner on this final evening.

Download Detailed Itinerary

DATES: Best time to go: June Departures: Jun 13 - 22, 2015 SOLD OUT Jun 22, 2015 - Jul 1, 2015

PRICING:

2015 Prices
$5,295 (5–8 members)
$200 Single Spupplement
Internal Air Included

Properties shown are representative of the accommodations we use on this trip, may not be inclusive of all accommodations we use, and are subject to change.

Expert leadership is the key to an exciting, unforgettable experience. Our trips feature gifted leaders for whom leading trips is a true vocation. Besides showing you wonders you’d never find on your own, they make sure everything runs smoothly and safely without a hitch. They are knowledgeable about all aspects of your trip, and take great pleasure in sharing their insights with you. More than just guides, they positively elevate your experience by being teachers, companions, and the best of friends. You’ll be in good hands with them every step of the way.

  • Brock Tabor

    Brock Tabor, Alaska Discovery River & Kayak Guide: For ten years Brock has been committed to a professional career as an outdoor educator and wilderness guide. His experience range from teaching skiing, sea kayaking, rock climbing, and river rescue to photographing the plazas of Ecuador. Brock has a strong background in natural history which he enjoys sharing. Of guiding for Alaska Discovery, Brock writes, "I enjoy the opportunity to interact with people in an unusual setting. The rewards people gain through these trips are contagious!"

  • Brian Stevenson

    Brian Stevenson has been a professional river guide for twenty years. He continues to lead expeditions throughout the world, yet he always looks forward to returning to the rivers and mountains of Alaska. Brian says Alaska's rivers provide a wilderness experience which is unparalleled by any other place he's ever been. Brian holds a degree in geography and is a lifelong student of world politics

  • Christa Sadler

    Christa Sadler is a geologist, educator, river guide and writer with a serious addiction to rivers, deserts, mountains and chocolate. Christa has been guiding on the rivers of the West since 1986, and although she has a home in Flagstaff, Arizona, she's hardly ever there. Her research in archaeology, geology and paleontology has taken her around the globe, including searching for dinosaurs in Montana, fighting off dust storms and overly curious camels in the Gobi Desert of Mongolia, and steering clear of annoyed marine iguanas in the Galapagos Islands. Christa also runs ‘This Earth,” a small business that brings geology and fossil programs to students aged K-12 around the country. She loves to write about geology, rivers, fossils and the land, and she has published several books and articles. She teaches and guides in the spring and fall, and escapes to Alaska in the summers to guide and write. Winters are usually spent recovering. Or sea kayaking in Baja California.

  • Jeff Sloss

    Jeff Sloss, Alaska Discovery Kayak, Canoe, & River Guide: Jeff has been a lead guide for Alaska Discovery for over 20 years. He has helped set the high standards of quality and commitment that makes us a great company. Whenever we think of exploring a new area we turn to Jeff to make it happen. In the winter, Jeff teaches skiing and snowboarding in Juneau, works on film projects, and helps raise his two daughters. Jeff is an active conservationist and has lobbied Congress to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Jeff carries a deep love for Alaska onto all of his trips. Jeff writes, "Among the high points of this career are experiencing some of the world's finest places, and meeting new people as well as enjoying the company of returning guests that share an appreciation of this Great Land."

  • Kevin McDermott

    Kevin McDermott, Alaska Discovery River Guide: "Thirsty" is an integral part of our Arctic rivers program. A laid back manner puts everyone at ease and he is a wealth of knowledge about the Artic rivers. Kevin has been guiding since he was 17 years old. Although he normally spends his winter months in Telluride Ski Area, he has climbed Mt Denali three times, and reached the summit in 2000.

  • Clint Fries

    Clint Fries, Alaska Discovery Guide: Calm, conscious and curious... Clint is an explorer. Guiding for 20 years from the Arctic to Latin America, he is always up for an adventure, and seldom at a loss for words. Clint entertains in front of some of the finest backdrops known. He likes to combine exquisite wilderness meals and an eye for the unseen. Join him for a trip and you will likely find the group positive, cohesive, and at ease in the wilds.

  • Chris Denker

    Chris Denker, Alaska Discovery River Guide: Chris writes, "I prefer cooler weather than hot." Chris lives in Haines, Alaska. In the spring he can be found attempting to summit Mt Fairweather or skiing into the Alsek Range. Although, he has guided for over a decade, and much of that time on the Tatshenshini and Alsek Rivers, he still rafted a 27-day private river trip to more fully explore the area. In the winter Chris works in Antarctica as a field team member studying sea birds. Cooler weather? "Well, yeah, I guess I got it."

  • Sam Jansen

    Sam Jansen, Alaska Discovery River Guide: Sam grew up in northern Arizona and studied creative writing and geology. While working for the U.S. Geological Survey, he fell in love with the Grand Canyon, whitewater, and wilderness guiding. Since 1991, Sam has been exploring many of North American's wild places by raft and kayak. Sam is an excellent videographer, but he is best known for a wit drier than the Arizona desert.

  • Joe Ordonez

    Joe Ordonez, Alaska Discovery River Guide: Joe lives in Haines, Alaska. A born humorist and storyteller, Joe travels the globe working as a naturalist. Joe has a great talent for getting people involved in the naturalist's view of life and before you know it you are crawling around on the ground in delight searching for Ptarmigan scat. He guides river trips for us and is co-author of the book, "The Complete Guide to the Tatshenshini." He will be publishing several books on the history of the towns of Southeast Alaska

  • Don Johnston

    Don Johnston guides regularly on the Alsek, Tatshenshini, Karnali, Coruh, Zambezi and Upano Rivers for MTS. He has taught literature at Colorado State University, is fluent in Spanish, and has worked as a translator in the US courts and on Big Game Hunting Safaris in Zimbabwe. When not guiding, Don often works on projects for the non-profit group Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) and has been stationed in Angola, Zimbabwe and currently Darfur, coordinating MSF's flights carrying staff, passengers, medical equipment, food etc. Don also has a master's degree in English Literature and has recently finished writing his first novel.

photo credits: ©Tom Bol / MTS



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Activity Ratings

Easy

Many activities are optional and involve fairly easy travel. Trips may include short hikes of two to three hours or optional walks at low elevations. Includes less demanding sea kayaking and river rafting trips with Class I-II rapids.

Moderate

More active trips involving hiking over moderate terrain, usually - but not always - with vehicle support and at elevations less than 10,000 feet, or trips with long hiking days, multiple sea kayaking days, wilderness camping, or other invigorating activity. On many trips, you can elect to skip a day's activity, depending on logistics. Includes more demanding sea kayaking trips and river rafting trips with Class III rapids.

Strenuous

Hiking and trekking over steeper or more rugged terrain or where elevations may exceed 10,000 feet - often several days in a row. Includes more demanding sea kayaking trips (4-5 hours paddling a day) and river rafting trips with Class IV-V rapids.

Ultimate Challenge!

Our most demanding trips: trekking over steep, rugged terrain at high elevations (no vehicle support) or with substantial altitude gains and losses; trips to remote, extreme wilderness; mountaineering trips. Includes our most demanding sea kayaking (5-7 hours paddling a day) and river rafting trips with Class IV-V rapids.

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Departure Dates

Jun 13 - 22, 2015 SOLD OUT Jun 22, 2015 - Jul 1, 2015
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