The 90 mile journey begins in the headwaters of the Hulahula, where the river is narrow and swift. The tundra valley is surrounded by towering 9,000 foot peaks and a sense of adventure fills the air. From this dramatic start the river races toward the sea, through steep canyons, peaceful meadows, icefields and wildlife.
A river trip on the Hulahula bisects the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from the high peaks of the Brooks Range to the cold Arctic Sea. The trip starts with several days of paddling and hiking in the mountains, followed by paddling through the canyon’s Class III rapids, before spilling into the foothills. Two more days of nonstop Class II rapids take you to the coastal plain, a wilderness region unlike any other, with stunning views and superb camping. Then you’ll continue on through the river’s delta to the Arctic Ocean, where the last night’s camp is on a gravel island next to the Arctic sea-ice.
The beauty of this trip is in the diversity of landscapes and wildlife. High in the mountains, Dall sheep dot the mountain-sides and bears dig roots on the river flats. Wolves are often spotted hunting marmots or following caribou trails in the foothills. The coastal plain offers the best opportunity for musk oxen, and arctic fox are seen on the approach to the coast. A great variety of migratory birds are often viewed on the Hulahula including Peregrine Falcons, Golden Eagles, Jaegers and Plovers.
Hiking in the mountains and on the tundra is excellent. The itinerary includes three lay-over days to hike the country and plenty of free time is provided each day to explore this beautiful landscape. This is a leisurely-paced trip and no experience is necessary to paddle-raft. After instruction, everyone joins in on the paddling under the guidance of an experienced raft captain. There are no “passengers” on this small rock-studded river!
Summer travel in the arctic can be rigorous and participants should be ready for anything, including low water levels that require us to get out of the boats and drag them over shallow spots. A half-mile portage is typical at the end of this trip. The hiking opportunities are limitless; from easy ambles up the valley, to all day peak ascents. Day-hikes will be tailored to your interests and abilities.
On a wilderness trip like the Hulahula, one never knows what conditions might be faced nor what opportunities might arise. This is the nature and the honor of wilderness travel!
Owned and operated by Alaskans, this is a true wilderness guiding company with a special emphasis on Arctic adventures. Small groups (1 to 8 people) allow for a focus on traveling quietly to take in the land and its inhabitants. Small group size also allows for a diverse and spontaneous itinerary with attention dedicated to individual’s interests.
Professional guides, many who have made a career exploring remote locations of Alaska, are trained in wilderness first aid/CPR, Swiftwater Rescue and Leave No Trace.
The Hulahula River trip begins in Fairbanks, Alaska. Fairbanks has daily service from Seattle, Washington and a variety of additional lower 48 airports on Alaska Air or Delta during the summer months.
Expedition Broker can arrange all aspects of your travel including flights, hotels and additional travel while in Alaska at no cost to you. Feel free to use our local expertise to help you prepare for your trip!
|Location||Hulahula River, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska|
|Duration||11 Day Trip|
|Craft Type||Paddle Raft|
|Activities||Paddle rafting, fishing, hiking, wildlife viewing, photography|
|Route Summary||Brooks Range to Arctic Coast|