Arrigetch-Alatna Pack Raft - Gates of the Arctic National Park

Kayaking / Canoeing in Anchorage, Alaska, United States of America

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In Anchorage, Alaska, United States of America

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Our exciting 12-day combination adventure will take us backpacking amongst the Arrigetch range and rafting down the Alatna River. “As I walked for hours beneath the stupendous grandeur of these colossal mountains, I felt humble and insignificant.” – Robert Marshall – Alaska... Show more

Our exciting 12-day combination adventure will take us backpacking amongst the Arrigetch range and rafting down the Alatna River. “As I walked for hours beneath the stupendous grandeur of these colossal mountains, I felt humble and insignificant.” – Robert Marshall – Alaska Wilderness, Exploring the Central Brooks Range

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; most recreational visitors choose to enter the park via chartered airplane. The aviators who make their livelihood flying this area know this remote and mountainous region better than anyone. They provide us with access to places like the Arrigetch Peaks! Arrigetch, which means “fingers of the hand extended” is an area comprised of a tilted intrusion of granite that has been hailed as the hallmark of Gates of the Arctic. Perhaps Bob Marshall described the area best when he called Arrigetch “…a series of sensational needlelike peaks extending in a horseshoe around a gushing creek which rose in the glacier.”

The area of the park we will be visiting involves two separate bush flights. Our first takes us from Fairbanks to Bettles, a small gateway community and the field headquarters for the National Park Service. From Bettles, we’ll then hop onto a float plane for the flight to Circle Lake and the start of our six day backpacking and hiking excursion into the Arrigetch region. This part of the park offers the full spectrum of Alaska hiking, from ridge hiking and talus hoping to tundra romping and creek crossing. After our exploration of this small portion of the Brooks Range, we’ll backpack down to our cache at Circle Lake, inflate our 2 person kayaks, and begin our paddle to the Alatna River.

By early evening, we’ll be drifting down the wild and scenic Alatna River directly through the heart of the Brooks Range. The Alatna’s verdant water, stunning vistas, decent fishing and mellow rapids (mostly class I & II) make it the perfect river for a novice kayaker. Not to mention the subdued nature of Alaska river life is always the perfect compliment and contrast to a hard backpacking trip. We’ll spend the next four days paddling along the Alatna until we reach our pick-up point at the Malamute Fork of the Alatna, which is roughly 70-miles downstream from Circle Lake.

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12 hours


State / Region
Zip / Postcode
United States of America
61.1518149 -149.8769550


Day 1: 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 hotel, you’ll meet our guides by early afternoon in the hotel lobby. Tonight we’ll do an orientation dinner at our favorite Thai restaurant in Fairbanks and upon returning to our hotel, we’ll pour over maps and discuss the route. Dinner included.

Day 2: 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 transfer our gear to board a float-plane for the 1-hour flight to Circle Lake, a small oxbow lake near the banks of the Alatna River. We will cache our rafting gear, and get ready for our Alaska backpacking adventure into the Arrigetch Peaks. If weather and time allow, we’ll begin the trip with the arduous ascent into the Arrigetch. All meals included.

Days 3-7: We’ll spend the next 5-days backpacking and hiking in the high country among the Arrigetch Peaks. We’ll encounter a steep climb of 3000’ on the first day backpacking, but by the second morning, the country will open up and yield to spectacular alpine tundra speckled with beautiful lakes and laced with tumbling creeks. By the end of day 7, we’ll be making our way back to Circle Lake where the trip will turn from a backpacking trip to a rafting adventure! All meals included.

Days 8-11: We’ll spend the next 4-days rafting and exploring the Alatna River. The Alatna River flows south from the Brooks Range through canyons and past huge mountain peaks. Wildlife can be seen along the river and it’s not uncommon to see wolves, grizzly bears, caribou, moose, dall sheep, and birds of prey. The Alatna is a federally recognized Wild & Scenic River and has been called one of the most beautiful rivers in Alaska. All meals included.

Day 12: Today we’ll break camp and await our pick-up. Once again, our bush pilot will use his skills to negotiate the terrain. If the weather conditions cooperate, we’ll return to Fairbanks by 7pm. If you are leaving Alaska on this day, please schedule flights home from Fairbanks for after 9pm. Breakfast & Lunch included.


  • All group gear (tents, inflatable canoes, stoves, fuel, dry bags, etc.) and safety equipment.
  • 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.


  • Lodging in Fairbanks prior to and after your adventure.
  • Personal gear (sleeping bags, packs, rain gear, etc.). See Equipment Lists
  • Trip cancellation insurance.
  • Additional room nights in Fairbanks or Bettles due to weather delays.
  • Alcoholic beverages.
  • Guide gratuities.

Terms & Policies

A deposit of $1000.00 per person is required to reserve a trip with Alaska Alpine Adventures. The remaining balance is due 60 days prior to the start of the trip. Reservations made within 60 days of the trip starting date require payment in full.

If the participant cancels a reservation earlier than 60 days prior to the starting date, the deposit will be refunded, minus a $500.00 administration fee. If the participant cancels within 59-31 days of the starting date, 50% of the trip balance will be refunded. If cancellation is made within 30-0 days of the trip starting date, there will be no refund of any costs. Alaska Alpine Adventures recommends cancellation insurance available through Travel Guard. Please call or email us for details.

Cancellation policy

If cancelled up to 14 days before date of arrival, no fee will be charged. If cancelled later or in case of no-show, the entire activity price may be charged.

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