Rafting the Kongakut is a classic Arctic river experience. Beginning in the heart of the mountains, we paddle this fast-paced river through beautiful wide valleys and exciting canyons, to the expansive vistas of the take-out point in the last foothills before the plains. From a high point above this camp, you can get an unobstructed view of the entire coastal plain and the Arctic Ocean beyond it, disappearing into the north horizon.
We choose to avoid the crowds in June and offer trips in July, when you can experience the height of the Arctic summer, and in August. Our late August trip is timed to catch a large run of Arctic char coming up the river, so in addition to great rafting and day hiking, there are superb fishing opportunities for one of the tastiest fishes in the world! At this time of year, you’ll catch the tundra in its full fall colors, and it’s getting dark enough at night to see the northern lights if they’re out. And as an added bonus, we’re likely to have the privilege of making the last run of the season, having the river entirely to ourselves. On this trip we’ll travel through Arctic Village at both the beginning and end of the trip.
We don’t have set “daily itineraries” since all of our trips are true wilderness expedition-style trips, where we build in flexibility to respond to weather and water conditions, animal sightings, etc. Here is a sense of the general flow of the trip:
Each trip leaves Fairbanks in the early morning of the trip start date, so you need to be in Fairbanks by at least the day before that. We’re scheduled to be back in Fairbanks by late afternoon/early evening of the trip end date. We recommend leaving at least a day’s leeway at the end of the trip in scheduling other travel plans, since there’s always a chance of getting weathered in at the pickup point.
We’ll be spending 4-6 days rafting down the river, with 3-6 hours a day on the water. There will be several layover days on the trip, where you can go for long or short day hikes or just relax in camp (not everyone has to do the same thing).