Kongakut River

The Kongakut Experience – The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

Raft the Kongakut River through the last great prehistoric wilderness in North America. Travel with the spring migration of the Porcupine Caribou Herd. Hike under the midnight sun. Experience the Arctic in its most pristine environment.

This land is a hikers dream with its open rolling hills and wild flowers. Experience the Arctic’s awesome wilderness and solitude.


The Coastal Plain

The Brooks Range stretches for 600 miles across northern Alaska from east to west like a necklace across the breast of the Arctic. To the north of these mountains the Arctic Coastal Plain opens and slopes gently to the Beaufort Sea. It is a vast sweep of treeless tundra and rolling hills. It is an expanse so vast it redefines the concept of wilderness.

The Midnight Sun

When the Arctic comes out to play in the summer, it never goes to bed. The land of the midnight sun is another dimension. The sun does not set but plays along the horizon for hours, creating a quality of light that is uniquely clear and soft. Our June trips near summer solstice give us our best Arctic conditions and a chance to see the vast Porcupine Caribou migration in full splendor. Our schedule on the Kongakut will be leisurely since we’ll have nearly continuous daylight.

Our Kongakut River Rafting Expedition is a combination of both hiking and rafting adventures. We’ll paddle the river in inflatable rafts. Everyone participates to navigate our rafts down river. No prior paddle rafting experience is necessary. The Kongakut River is fast and fun. There are several small rapids to negotiate and breathtaking mountain and valley scenery along the entire route. The rafts allow us to travel from mountains to coast and find the greatest places for hiking and watching wildlife. Our professional river guides will impart a love of the land that will be yours forever.

World class hiking, fishing, and photography

River rafting is only part of the fun. This is some great hiking country and we will hike and explore every day. We will have many opportunities for both short walks and long hikes. Some days may be devoted exclusively to hiking. Or you can relax at camp or even fish for Artic Char. Bring your cameras and binoculars and keep them available as we can see wildlife 24 hours a day. While rafting or hiking, we will always be ready to photograph the Arctic’s wildlife and scenery. You never know what wildlife has come to the river’s shore just around the bend, so keep your camera ready!

We’ll begin and end our adventure in Fairbanks, Alaska.


Typical trip dates include:
June 4 – 14
June 19 – 29
July 7 – 17
Please see our Dates & Prices page for exact dates and current availability.

10 river days
9 camping nights
2 hotel nights
Flights: from Fairbanks to the River and back to Fairbanks
All river meals
Shared tent
Sleeping pad
Life jacket
Rubber boots & gloves
Dry bags

Equipment List

Duration: 11 days

Start Location: Fairbanks

End Location: Fairbanks

Day 1-2 The first day is your ‘big travel day’ from your hometown to Fairbanks, Alaska. We will meet at the Downtown Log Cabin Hideaway at 5:00 p.m. for a pre-trip orientation and to hand out river equipment. The second day begins with a scenic 300-mile flight across the top of North America. From the air you begin to get a sense of the Arctic’s vast wilderness as it stretches from horizon to horizon. From Fairbanks we fly across the Yukon River Flats to the Native community of Arctic Village. We switch to smaller bush planes and continue north over the Brooks Range to land on a small gravel bar along the Kongakut River. We have arrived. When the last plane leaves, the silence settles around us and the magic of wilderness fills the air.

Day 3-10 We will traverse the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from the Brooks Range to the Coastal Plain just short of the Beaufort Sea. Each day, after a hearty breakfast, we will break camp and float downstream to new scenery and adventures. We will stop often for hiking, snacks, and lunch. Some river days will be longer than others, and at some camps we may stay over an extra night so we can hike all day. We will hold to no set schedule, because adventure is always at the hand of those who are open to exploring. Each evening, in camp, we will enjoy the outdoor life of laughter, and camaraderie. We will enjoy robust fresh meals prepared by the guides and sleep in our expedition tents.

Day 11 Return – We are deep in the wilderness close to the Arctic coast on the Beaufort Sea. But, it’s time to return to civilization. On our last day at Caribou Pass, we’ll break camp and await the arrival of the bush planes for our return flight to Fairbanks. We plan to arrive by 5:00 p.m. After showers and cleaning up, we gather for a no-host dinner on this final evening and enjoy our final night in Fairbanks.

Register Now! It’s as easy as-

1 Complete a registration form and return it to Chilkat Guides.

Kongakut Packet 2013 (.pdf)

2 Reserve your space with a $500 deposit.

Acknowledgement of Risk Form (PDF)

We will reply with a link for payment once we have received your registration form.

DEPOSITS: A deposit will reserve your space on any expedition. Full payment is due 90 days prior to departure.

PAYMENTS: We accept personal checks, cashiers checks, money orders, Paypal, Mastercard & Visa.

REFUNDS: In the event that you are unable to join us the following guidelines will apply. All deposits include a $500 non-refundable registration free. Full Refunds, less registration fee, will be provided 90 days prior to the trip date. 25% refunds will be provided 30 to 89 days prior to trip date. Any amount retained by Chilkat Guides can be credited towards another trip if used within 12 months. No refunds will be provided within 29 days of the trip date. This policy has been established to meet the demands of planning well-organized trips. If for any reason a trip ends early there will be no refund. If you have not paid in full 30 days prior to your trips departure, and you have not contacted us regarding other payment options, we reserve the right to schedule another individual in your place. In this event, you are responsible for any associated costs.

IF YOUR TRIP IS CANCELLED: If, for any reason, Chilkat Guides has to cancel your trip, all deposits and trip payments will be refunded in full, or, are fully transferable to another course. Chilkat Guides will not be responsible for any costs associated with cancellations including, but not limited to: flight cancelation fees, flight change fees, and/or associated lodging and meal fees.

WEATHER: DELAYS AND ASSOCIATED CONSIDERATIONS: In the event that your trip is unable to depart at the scheduled time, individuals are responsible for any associated costs including food and lodging.

RELEASE, ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF RISK AND INDEMNITY AGREEMENT: All participants are required to sign our Release, Acknowledgment of Risk and Indemnity Agreement. Please take time to read this form and make yourself familiar with it before signing. If the form is signed electronically, participants may be required to sign the form in person upon arrival for the activity, but nothing shall be deemed to affect the efficacy of the electronically completed and signed form.

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