Alaska Hula Hula River Rafting Adventure Tour

Raft & Hike in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge


From its headwaters in the Brooks Range, the Hula Hula River flows through rolling tundra and a breathtaking canyon before spilling onto the vast coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. This lush wildflower-dotted landscape is home to an outstanding variety of wildlife, including Dall sheep, musk oxen, grizzlies, and coastal birds. Experience the wonders of this swift-flowing river as you raft almost 100 miles on thrilling Class III-IV whitewater - perfect for paddling enthusiasts - and enjoy hiking and camping in pure Arctic wilderness.

13 Days

From: $4,795

From its headwaters in the Brooks Range, the Hula Hula River flows through rolling tundra and a breathtaking canyon before spilling onto the vast coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. This lush wildflower-dotted landscape is home to an outstanding variety of wildlife, including Dall sheep, musk oxen, grizzlies, and coastal birds. Experience the wonders of this swift-flowing river as you raft almost 100 miles on thrilling Class III-IV whitewater - perfect for paddling enthusiasts - and enjoy hiking and camping in pure Arctic wilderness.

Highlights


  • Feel the expansive solitude while rafting, hiking and camping in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

  • Head to the skies on spectacular bush flights across the wilderness of Northern Alaska

  • Float through the wildlife-rich Arctic coastal plains in the company of expert river guides

Download Itinerary

Click here to download the Detailed Itinerary.

Alaska Hula Hula River Rafting Adventure

Start: Fairbanks, Alaska  End: Fairbanks, Alaska

Start/End locations may vary. Do not book flights until your trip details are confirmed.

Itinerary


  • Arrive in Fairbanks, Alaska

    Day 1

    Arrive in Fairbanks, Alaska by 3:30pm to have enough time to check-in and prepare for a 5pm pre-trip meeting and welcome dinner. Meet the group and have all your questions answered by the guides prior to departing the next day. It'll be an early night to prepare for tomorrow's adventure.

    Accommodation: Bridgewater Hotel, Fairbanks

    Meals: Dinner

  • Travel to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

    Day 2

    Rise to embark on a spectacular 300-mile bush plane flight over the Yukon River Flats to Arctic Village. Here switch to a smaller plane and continue north over the Brooks Range and to the upper Hula Hula River, located in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) - a land of majestic mountains and rolling tundra. The plane will land on a small gravel bar near the river's headwaters - the site of the first camp.

    Accommodation: MT Sobek Camp-Hulahula River

    Transportation: 5-hour scenic bush flight

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Launch Down the Hula Hula River

    Day 3

    On the first full day on the river, take time to become acquainted with the pace of the river and the expansive tundra landscape that surrounds this legendary river in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Make camp along the riverside and enjoy the sounds of the wilderness and the babbling river.

    Accommodation: MT Sobek Camp-Hulahula River

    Activity: 4 hours/16 miles rafting

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Raft Below Towering Peaks

    Day 4

    The scenery is breathtaking as the river flows between the highest peaks in the Brooks Range - Mount Ishto, Chamberlain and Michelson - all towering at 9,000 feet above sea level. Pull into camp for the night and enjoy a delicious meal prepared by the guides. You'll understand why food tastes so much better in the wilderness after an adventurous day.

    Accommodation: MT Sobek Camp-Hulahula River

    Activity: 5 hours/18 miles rafting on Class II rapids

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Hike Up Esetuk Creek

    Day 5

    After a relaxed breakfast, grab your daypack for a day of hiking alongside Esetuk Creek - which is the first grey cloudy creek bringing the glacial silt from the glaciers above you in the Brooks Range. See the flora and fauna start to change as you explore this landscape by foot today.

    Accommodation: MT Sobek Camp-Hulahula River

    Activity: 4 hours/4-6 miles hiking with 1,000' elevation gain & loss

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Raft "The Gorge"

    Day 6

    Make your way through the journey's swiftest and rockiest stretch of the river. Under the helm of expert guides, navigate this dynamic section with three distinct unnamed rapids. Then take a short walk through the tundra, taking in superb views of the rapids and the Kikiktat Mountains in the distance.

    Accommodation: MT Sobek Camp-Hulahula River

    Activity: 4 hours/11 miles rafting; 2 hour/2 miles hiking with 400' elevation gain & loss

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Navigate the Boulder Gardens

    Day 7

    As today continues, notice the gradient continue to become steeper as you leave the mountains. That speeds up the river momentum - and provides for a scenic day as you move through the vast Arctic landscape, over and around boulders that make for fun rapids.

    Accommodation: MT Sobek Camp-Hulahula River

    Activity: 5 hours/14 miles rafting on Class II rapids

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Hike the Foothills of the Brooks Range

    Day 8

    Enjoy a leisurely morning, though the endless summertime sun will be shining for almost 24 hours. With a packed lunch, make your way to a hike that captures the view of the Brooks Range above, with its many unnamed mountains and a dazzling landscape descending into the horizon. Look hard enough and you may just see the ocean.

    Accommodation: MT Sobek Camp-Hulahula River

    Activity: 4 hours/4-6 miles hiking with 1,200' elevation gain & loss

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Descend into the Coastal Plains

    Day 9

    Keep your eyes wide open for the abundant wildlife that roams this spectacular open landscape. The vastness and lack of large brush assist in making this region prime for wildlife spotting, featuring species like porcupine caribou herd, grizzly bears, Dall sheep, and possibly musk ox.

    Accommodation: MT Sobek Camp-Hulahula River

    Activity: 5 hours/15 miles rafting on Class II rapids

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Spend the Day Unwinding by the River

    Day 10

    Enjoy one of the last few days in the depths of the Alaskan wilderness. Stay in camp for reading, wildlife spotting, or other leisurely activities. There will be optional group hiking, with lengths and distances depending on the weather.

    Accommodation: MT Sobek Camp-Hulahula River

    Activity: Optional 4 hours/4-6 miles hiking with 1,200' elevation gain & loss

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Float through Open Fields

    Day 11

    Today, discover the Arctic coastal plain - low relief tundra comprised of alluvial channels, estuaries, and innumerable lakes where unparalleled grand vistas stretch for miles. The mellow river lends way to a day filled with world-famous birding, fishing for Arctic char or grayling, and paddling.

    Accommodation: MT Sobek Camp-Hulahula River

    Activity: 6 hours/13 miles rafting

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Reach the Beaufort Sea

    Day 12

    The sounds of ocean birds and the smell of salt water indicate you've almost reached the Beaufort Sea. Once again you will be stunned by the vastly changing landscape. This evening, watch the floating ice packs on the horizon from the riverside camp.

    Accommodation: MT Sobek Camp-Hulahula River

    Activity: 5 hours/12 miles rafting

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Return to Fairbanks & Depart

    Day 13

    Break camp and await the arrival of bush planes for the flight to Kaktovik - home of the Inupiat Peoples, or Artic Village - home of the Gwich'in People, followed by a flight back to Fairbanks by 7pm.

    Transportation: 3-hour bush flight

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Download Itinerary

Click here to download the Detailed Itinerary.

Dates & Prices


  • 2023
  • Go Private
  • Go Custom
  • Inclusions

2023

Scheduled Dates


The earlier you book, the more choice of available dates you’ll have and once you book, your price is guaranteed.

Go Private

Go Private


Gather your favorite travel companions to share an MT Sobek adventure on an easy-to-book Private departure.

Call or email us to get the ball rolling.

*Private trips require a 25% non-refundable deposit.

Call for Private Trip Pricing

800-974-0300

Make Your Own Dates in These Months


Go Custom

Create Your Very Own Adventure


Dreaming of an adventure designed exclusively for you? With insider access and decades of experience, our travel experts create custom tailored adventures that are perfect for families, couples, and large groups. MT Sobek's custom adventures are designed to our exacting standards and led by our award-winning adventure guides.

When to start planning? Earlier is always better when designing a custom trip. More time allows for better availability of preferred accommodations, guides and your desired activities. Ideally, start the conversation with us at least 6 months before you want to travel. If you are looking for a custom trip that departs within three months, chances are greatly diminished in securing requested accommodations and the best guides.

*Custom trips require a 25% non-refundable deposit once an itinerary is agreed upon.

Start Planning

Inclusions

Price Includes


  • Expertise and services of our experienced adventure guides
  • All accommodations as noted in the itinerary
  • All breakfasts, almost all lunches and dinners as noted in the itinerary
  • Snacks and water between meals
  • Additional regional guides and experts on many trips
  • Comprehensive Trip Planner with detailed pre-trip information
  • Private guided tours at historic sites, museums, wineries and other select attractions as noted in the itinerary
  • Special events and other select attractions as mentioned in the itinerary
  • All gratuities at hotels and restaurants
  • Equipment and experienced guides for activities as described in the itinerary
  • Park and other entry fees (unless otherwise noted)
  • Fares for trains, ferries and other modes of travel as listed in the itinerary
  • Select transfers as mentioned in the itinerary
  • Baggage transfers and porterage

Price Does Not Include


  • International airfare, airport taxes, and excess baggage fees
  • Alcoholic beverages (MT Sobek provides wine at select events)
  • Gratuities for MT Sobek guides and guide-drivers
  • Travel Protection Program
  • Personal expenses

Contact An Expert


800-974-0300

Need help picking your next adventure? Call us to answer your questions.

Download Itinerary

Click here to download the Detailed Itinerary.

Your Guides


The best people to immerse you in a destination are the ones who live there, which is why we feature local Adventure Guides on our trips. Here are a few that you might meet on this adventure.

Kevin McDermott

Kevin McDermott

Kevin McDermott-a.k.a. "Thirsty"-has been guiding since he was 17 years old and has been an integral part of MT Sobek's Arctic rivers program for decades. His laid-back manner puts everyone at ease, and he has a wealth of knowledge about Arctic rivers. Although he normally spends his winter months in Colorado's Telluride ski area, he has climbed Denali three times, reaching the summit in 2000. Thirsty is a legend in the MT Sobek circle and endears himself to travelers with his expertise, calm demeanor, and sense of humor.

Clint Fries

Clint Fries

Clint is a true explorer and has been guiding trips from the Arctic to Latin America for 20 years. Well known for being calm, conscious, and curious, Clint is always up for an adventure-and is seldom at a loss for words. MT Sobek guests can count on him to entertain in front of some of the most beautiful backdrops in North America. He has an exquisite ability to combine wilderness meals and a keen eye for the unseen. Clint's group characterize his leadership as positive, cohesive, and feeling at ease in the wild.

Christa Sadler

Christa Sadler

Christa Sadler is an author, geologist, educator, and guide from Flagstaff, Arizona. She has worked as a guide on rivers throughout the Southwest and Alaska, and in Ecuador since 1986. Her research in archeology, geology, and paleontology has included several ridiculously hot summers searching for dinosaurs in the badlands of Montana, fighting off dust storms and overly curious camels in the Gobi Desert in Mongolia, and steering clear of annoyed marine iguanas in the Galapagos Islands. Her articles and photographs have appeared in many prominent publications over the years, and her immense knowledge and strong leadership make her an MT Sobek legend!

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After a relaxed breakfast, grab your daypack for a day of hiking alongside Esetuk Creek - which is the first grey cloudy creek bringing the glacial silt from the glaciers above you in the Brooks Range. See the flora and fauna start to change as you explore this landscape by foot today.

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Make your way through the journey\'s swiftest and rockiest stretch of the river. Under the helm of expert guides, navigate this dynamic section with three distinct unnamed rapids. Then take a short walk through the tundra, taking in superb views of the rapids and the Kikiktat Mountains in the distance.

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Enjoy a leisurely morning, though the endless summertime sun will be shining for almost 24 hours. With a packed lunch, make your way to a hike that captures the view of the Brooks Range above, with its many unnamed mountains and a dazzling landscape descending into the horizon. Look hard enough and you may just see the ocean.

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Enjoy one of the last few days in the depths of the Alaskan wilderness. Stay in camp for reading, wildlife spotting, or other leisurely activities. There will be optional group hiking, with lengths and distances depending on the weather.

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Break camp and await the arrival of bush planes for the flight to Kaktovik - home of the Inupiat Peoples, or Artic Village - home of the Gwich\'in People, followed by a flight back to Fairbanks by 7pm.

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Activity Level


This trip is rated activity level 4. This is a moderate to strenuous river rafting trip. You should be comfortable rafting up to 18 miles over the course of 4 hours per day for 7 days on class II - IV rapids. Previous river rafting experience is recommended, and you should be in good physical condition. Due to the remote nature of this trip, no vehicle support is available during our activities.
Learn more about activity levels here.

Activity Snapshot

Day 3

4 hours/16 miles rafting

Day 4

5 hours/18 miles rafting on Class II rapids

Day 5

4 hours/4-6 miles hiking with 1,000' elevation gain & loss

Day 6

4 hours/11 miles rafting; 2 hour/2 miles hiking with 400' elevation gain & loss

Day 7

5 hours/14 miles rafting on Class II rapids

Day 8

4 hours/4-6 miles hiking with 1,200' elevation gain & loss

Day 9

5 hours/15 miles rafting on Class II rapids

Day 10

Optional 4 hours/4-6 miles hiking with 1,200' elevation gain & loss

Day 11

6 hours/13 miles rafting

Day 12

5 hours/12 miles rafting

Accommodations


A comfortable Bed and Breakfast in Fairbanks and an MT Sobek riverside camp, with meals served beneath the stars in the midnight Alaska sun.

MT Sobek Camp-Hulahula River
MT Sobek Camp-Hulahula River

Your riverside camping experience includes nightly camps on the banks of the Hula Hula River. Included in our expedition-style trip are three-person four-season tents for every two-people and includes a Thermarest pad and fresh sleeping bags. All camping spots are on spectacular right next to the river. At lunch and dinner time you'll enjoy gourmet meals served by your guides.

Bridgewater Hotel, Fairbanks
Bridgewater Hotel, Fairbanks

The Bridgewater Hotel is a seasonal accommodation centrally located in downtown Fairbanks. Guests consistently give positive reviews to the "bountiful" breakfast buffet, which offers an array of delicious hot and cold options. The sights, sounds, and attractions of town are within walking distance, and guests can begin sightseeing just a few steps outside of the front door. This boutique hotel is quaintly furnished and offers comfortable rooms, making it a pleasurable stop on an MT Sobek traveler's adventure through Alaska.

Weather


Expect daytime temperatures between 60°F-80°F, and nighttime temperatures between 40°F-50°F. Variable weather is always possible with frequent light rain.

 
Jun
Arctic National Wildlife 
High
Low
Arctic National Wildlife
69
48
Fairbanks 
High
Low
Fairbanks
72
49

Know Before You Book


Itinerary
The itinerary and dates may slightly vary, depending on river and weather conditions, group abilities and permit requirements.

Dietary Restrictions
Due to the remote nature of the areas visited on this trip, dietary restrictions are more difficult to accommodate due to limited resources. Please contact a member of our Trip Consultant team to inquire about your dietary restriction.

FAQs


What level of participation with camp should I expect on this trip?

Guides will provide lessons on how to set-up tents the first night so that you can set-up your own each night thereafter. The guides will always assist, and you\'re always welcome to help with camp chores.

What flights are included in this trip?

All internal airfare is included, which includes roundtrip charter bush planes from Fairbanks to Arctic Village, to the river put-in. And then river take-out to Kaktovik and back to Fairbanks.

What kind of personal gear is provided?

We provide all camping equipment, including 4-season expedition style 3-person tents, 15-degree sleeping bags and Therm-a-Rest pads. We also provide life vests, dry bags, Helly Hansen rain pants and jacket and rubber boots.

How bad are the mosquitos?

June is ahead of the mosquito season, so we do not recommend that you bring a bug net and/or bug jacket.

Will I see wildlife on this trip?

While we cannot guarantee anything, this river is legendarily known to have abundant wildlife viewing opportunities and exceptional birding with its prime breeding habitat where the mountains meet the sea.

Do I need river experience for this trip?

Some rafting experience is highly recommended, as this is a very remote adventure with potentially variable weather. You should come prepared for 11-nights wilderness camping with minimal amenities.

Download Itinerary

Click here to download the Detailed Itinerary.

Guest Reviews


"An excellent trip with fabulous scenery and animal sightings. The entire trip was planned out extremely well and all the details were thought out in advance making for a very pleasurable trip."

Bob F.
MT Sobek Guest, Rafting the Arctic Hula Hula River

"Experiencing Alaska is a must if you care about our planet - and experiencing the Hula Hula will fill you with the awe, the power, and the infinite beauty of the natural world in a way few other landscapes can match. You'll have the best river guides ever, a true wilderness expedition experience, and the best food for your body and your soul. Take this trip!!"

Marti S.
MT Sobek Guest, Alaska Hula Hula River Rafting Adventure