From its headwaters in the Brooks Range, the Hulahula River flows through rolling tundra and a breathtaking canyon before spilling onto the vast coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge on its way to the Beaufort Sea. 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.
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 across the wildlife-rich Arctic coastal plains, all the way to the Beaufort Sea
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.
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 Hulahula 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
15% Early Bird Savings?
MT Sobek is one of only a few companies who operate on the Arctic Rivers of Alaska and have been doing so for over 37 years.
This one-of-a-kind river adventure is guided by our Alaska river experts, many who have lead trips in the area for over 20 years.
With nearly 24-hours of daylight a day, this trip offers endless opportunities soaking in the vastness of this remote landscape.
Our expert guides and trip leaders are truly the key to our trips' success. Many are locals who live in-country year-round; others have made it their second home—all are passionate, enthusiastic and endlessly knowledgeable. Meet a few of the guides that might be on your trip.
Exciting Class I-III rafting along the Hulahula River, hikes through Arctic landscapes, extraordinary wildlife spotting, and riverside camping.
A comfortable B&B in Fairbanks and an MT Sobek riverside camp, with meals served beneath the stars in the midnight Alaska sun.
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.
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.
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.
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.
June is ahead of the mosquito season, so we do not recommend that you bring a bug net and/or bug jacket.
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.
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.
Make any of our trips a custom adventure or start from scratch. Take two itineraries and match them up to create a unique third. Add extras and extensions and more...if you can imagine it, we can make it happen!
"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."
MT Sobek Guest, Rafting the Arctic Hulahula River
"The opportunity to see and participate in an adventure trip in a locale such as the Hulahula is an exquisite experience."
MT Sobek Guest, Rafting the Arctic Hulahula River