Nigu River Rafting

The Nigu River merges with the Etivluk, which then flows north into the immense Colville River drainage northwest of Gates of the Arctic National Park. These remote, rarely run rivers carve a course from within the mountains out across the rolling tundra of the north slope, offering an exceptional wilderness experience in vast, unusually beautiful terrain.The flat water allows for relaxed paddling and great opportunities to watch for birds and animals. We’re likely to see grizzly bears, moose and hundreds to thousands of migrating caribou, as well as spawning arctic char travelling up the river.

Even by Brooks Range standards, this area is “way out there”, with an other-worldly quality that’s hard to put into words. We pass through Coldfoot at the beginning and end of this trip, with phenomenal flights across the central Brooks Range and the sweeping expanse of the north slope.

Trip Details

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).

See more:

“There’s an indefinable energy here, maybe because it’s so far north, so close to the magnetic pole. You can almost see the curvature of the earth as you look north. You feel that you’re on the top of the world.”

—Carol Kasza