For 25 years, Alaska Alpine Adventures guides have been exploring Alaska’s most remote wilderness regions, with a keen interest in discovering backpacking routes that offer challenge, solitude, big mountain scenery, and fantastic hiking. And for the past 20 years Gates of the Arctic National Park has captivated our exploratory imagination! Since then we have been guiding backcountry trips from the park’s eastern boundary on Dalton Highway to the Noatak River out west; always in search for incredible Alaska itineraries that exceed our high standards of authenticity. Our new Oohla High Route, at the headwaters of the Koyukuk River, easily clears that bar by delivering a point-to-point traverse with an abundance of alpine tundra, two steep & high passes, colbalt blue lakes, clearwater creeks, and opportunities to witness Alaska’s big fauna.
We start our adventure in Fairbanks, Alaska – the launching point for all of our trips above the Arctic Circle! After an evening poring over maps and discussing our route, we’ll board the first of 2 flights necessary to get us disconnected and into the wilderness. We’ll fly from Fairbanks to Bettles – a true bush community accessible only by air. After transitioning into floatplanes in Bettles, we’ll watch miles of country drifts below us as the mountains of the Brooks Range grow larger on the horizon. With the precision Alaska bush pilots are known for, we’ll touch down on Summit Lake and soon find ourselves alone shouldering backpacks in the heart of true wilderness.
Today you are free to arrive in Fairbanks on your own. We’ll be staying at Pikes Waterfront Lodge, which is located near the airport on the banks of the Chena River. After checking into the lodge, you’ll meet your guide by late afternoon for orientation and gear check, followed by a group dinner featuring gourmet pizza and local craft brews. The orientation will include a discussion of the route, an introduction to our unique style of Alaska wilderness travel, a familiarization of the principles of Leave No Trace, and a conversation about traveling safely in bear country.
After breakfast at the hotel, we’ll make our way back to the airport for our bush flight from Fairbanks to Bettles, the gateway community to Gates of the Arctic NP. We’ll then transfer our gear and board a float-plane for the 40-minute flight a small alpine lake nestled along the Continental Divide. As we bid our bush pilot goodbye, our thoughts will quickly turn to the adventure ahead. We'll hoist our backpacks and begin the steady climb up into the headwaters of the Koyukuk River.
We'll spend the next 6-days exploring this backpacking paradise. We'll experience spectacular tundra hiking, challenging & steep terrain, unmatched views of deep glacially carved valleys, and the sheer magnificence that defines Gates of the Arctic National Park. Whether ascending a high mountain pass across the Continental Divide, walking along an alpine ridge, or descending alongside a tumbling creek, we'll truly get a sense of these magnificent mountains and the vastness of this amazing wilderness. Each evening will offer rewards for the day’s efforts and our campsites will provide an alpine haven in the remote reaches of the magical Brooks Range. By the afternoon of day 8 we'll finish our descent from the high country and make camp along another beautiful lake on the north side of the Continental Divide. All meals included. Distances: 6-8 miles, Elevation Gains: 500-3000′.
After our final morning surrounded by the silence and solitude of this unspoiled wilderness, we’ll await our floatplane and the return to Bettles. We’ll set up camp near the Koyukuk River, enjoy a celebratory meal at a local restaurant, and revel in the sense of peace and accomplishment that accompanies the conclusion of any Alaska expedition.
This morning we'll break camp for the last time, make our way back to the airstrip in Bettles, and await our return flight to Fairbanks and the conclusion of the trip. While we suggest another night in Fairbanks to relax and unwind, should you decide to leave Alaska on this day, please schedule flights home from Fairbanks for after 9pm.
- All group gear: Expedition quality tents, group tarp, all cooking equipment & eating utensils
- Toilet supplies including TP, trowel, and hand sanitizer
- Water treatment options
- Safety Equipment: Satellite phone, maps, GPS, and medical kit
- Trekking poles
- Roundtrip air transportation from Fairbanks to Bettles
- Roundtrip air transportation from Bettles into the wilderness
- Lodging on night one in Fairbanks
- Professional guide service at a maximum 4:1 client to guide ratio
- All meals from dinner on day one through lunch on the final day of the itinerary
- $6,195 /person
- 35+ miles
- Level 3
- Min Age:
- Begins In:
- Ends In:
- Fairbanks International (FAI)
- Gates of the Arctic National Park
- Grizzly Bears, Birds, Golden Eagles, Bald Eagles
- Great For:
- Explorers, Individuals, Couples
It was a really well organized and executed trip, I am happy I went to Alaska with you!
I am recommending your company to friends and family!
AAA even arranged gorgeous weather for us! My complaint is that Prem and I gained a couple pounds while hiking and kayaking because of all the wonderful food.
Outstanding…..one of the best!!!!!
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Have questions about this trip? We’ve got answers.
Gates of the Arctic National Park, despite being the recipient of frequent media attention over the past 45 years, remains one of the most remote and unspoiled places on earth. Its 8.4 million acres cover an area twice the size of Connecticut and only slightly smaller than Switzerland. The park is essentially a road less wilderness area and, except for limited and difficult access along the Dalton highway. Traversing the landscape below the Arrigetch Peaks alters our sense of scale as well as our definition of true wilderness. Rafting, hiking, and backpacking in Gates of the Arctic are the activities that Alaska Alpine Adventures specializes in and we have been operating in Gates of the Arctic National Park since 2005.
Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve lies 250 miles north of Fairbanks, and over 450 miles north of Anchorage. The national park is the central component of the 700 square mile protected Brooks Range. The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is to the east, and the Noatak Preserve is to the west.
Access to Gates of the Arctic National Park is mainly by small aircraft or, in some instances, can be arduously accessed by foot.
Absolutely, our Arctic trips are all inclusive from Fairbanks. All you need to do is get yourself to our lodge in Fairbanks on Day 1 of your itinerary.
Your Alaska Alpine Adventures guide will meet you in the afternoon at the lodge on day 1 for an orientation dinner and gear check.
You will join your guides for breakfast at the lodge on the morning of day two. From there, the group will shuttle to the air taxi for the flight to Bettles. We will be flying with Wright Air from Fairbanks to Bettles. From there, we’ll transfer to the float plane lake in Bettles for our float plane flight into the wilderness with Brooks Range Aviation.
Absolutely. The national park is home to grizzly bears, Dall’s sheep, caribou, moose, wolves, and tremendous seasonal populations of migratory birds.
Yes, there is an additional fee of $275 if you request OR end up in your own room at the hotel on night one.
For additional information, please reach out to us.