Light suffuses the land like a palette, painting the landscape with golden, ethereal pastels. The cry of a loon across a still lake, the sight of a wolf loping across the tundra -- this is wilderness at its finest.
The Sadlerochit Mountains are within the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. A sub-range of the Brooks Range, inhabited by musk oxen, grizzly bears, Dall sheep, wolves, caribou, rough-legged hawks and eagles, the Sadlerochits, are Alaska’s northernmost mountains, just 15 miles from the Arctic Ocean. Colorful valleys and unusual rock formations beg exploration, before we set out for the edge of the North American continent at Camden Bay on the Beaufort Sea.
In August, autumn’s cool nights transform the land into a mosaic of color. Rivers and streams are but a trickle and the hiking is at its best.
Flying into a remote mountain valley we backpack along ancient trails of the Porcupine caribou herd, from the mountains to the arctic coastal plain, traversing lands threatened by oil development. We hike entirely north of the tree line. This is a moderately strenuous trek over trailless terrain, through mountain valleys and down to the edge of the Arctic Ocean.
Day 1: Group meets the night before the trip for dinner. This morning we fly out by plane from Fairbanks over the Steese and White Mountains and the Trans-ALaska Pipeline, crossing over the Yukon River and Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge, to a small Athapaskan village. From here, we fly over the Brooks Range, and the mountain majesty of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The flightseeing trip alone is worth the entire trip! Then we fly by bush plane to the Sadlerochit Mountains. We'll set up our tents and explore the area. (L) (D)
Day 2: Dayhiking in the mountains. Possible side trip to Sadlerochit Hot Springs.Or, explore rock canyons and unusual colorful geologic formations remniscient of Southwestern U.S. (B) (L) (D)
Day 3: Continued side trips in the mountains and valleys. (B) (L) (D)
Day 4: Backpacking in the foothills.We may be lucky and see muskoxen, grizzly bears, caribou, wolves, foxes, or even moose. (B) (L) (D)
Day 5: We begin to move north onto the arctic coastal plain. (B) (L) (D)
Day 6: Backpacking north along a scenic creek. (B) (L) (D)
Day 7: Continue trekking northward. We may reach Camden Bay. (B) (L) (D)
Day 8: We reach Camden Bay on the Beaufort Sea. Looking south, we see the entire Brooks Range spreading east and west on the horizon. Explore the interface between the land and sea, looking for snowy owls, loons and other waterfowl.
We are picked up by bush plane and flown to the Inupiat village of Kaktovik on Barter Island, at the edge of the Arctic Ocean. Explore the small village, then fly back to Fairbanks, crossing the Brooks Range by commuter flight.
No-host dinner in Fairbanks. (B) (L) (D)
We provide all food, transportation, and group equipment from Fairbanks.
Also see tour packages in:
USA Alaska Outdoor: Land Rambler Hiking & Trekking Ecotourism