Located on the Northern Slope of Alaska, the Kongakut River is Alaska’s most north-eastern river and runs approximately 60 miles through the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and Alaskan tundra. The trip begins and ends with a 300-mile scenic plane ride over the top of North America, giving you a view of the Arctic’s vast wilderness before landing right beside the river. You have reached the put-in spot for your unforgettable paddle excursion. For the next 10 days, you will be immersed in the grand terrain of the tundra. Being among nature is primary on this trip and without a set schedule, you will have a chance to experience the Arctic and all its living things at their peak. You will enjoy areas like Brooks Range, abounding with miles of mountains and hills covered in lush vegetation, wildflowers, and boulders covered in mossy, colorful flora. As you come to the end of our journey, the last camp will be set up at Caribou Pass, just shy of the Arctic coastline and Beaufort Sea.
A flexible, open attitude is a necessity. You will be immersed in the varying elements of nature. There is no set daily itinerary, electricity, or indoor plumbing. There is plenty of adventure, camaraderie, good food, and beautiful Alaskan scenery.
This trip requires that you be comfortable with several hours of moderate exercise. You should be in good physical condition and be aware that this trip is conducted in true wilderness conditions with moderate to strenuous hiking opportunities.
We’ve been connecting our clients to water adventures around the world since 1987. We partner with select outfitters who share our values and are pros at creating exceptional experiences. There is no fee for our service; we earn our commission from the outfitters we represent, and the cost of your expedition is the same as booking direct.
Your trip will begin in Fairbanks, Alaska, where the night before your river trip begins you will meet your outfitter for a mandatory safety meeting to pass out equipment and discuss the trip logistics. The following morning, you will take a bush style plane from Fairbanks to Arctic Village, Alaska where you will be shuttled to the put-in spot to begin your river trip.
Your trip will end 60 river miles downriver at the Arctic coast on the Beaufort Sea where you will be picked up by another bush plane for your return flight to Fairbanks, Alaska.
Depending on which outfitter you select, your first and last night’s lodging may be included. Your outfitter will provide all the camping and river related safety equipment, along with plenty of fresh food, non-alcoholic beverages and snacks. Some outfitters also supply your sleep kits, while others charge a small additional fee for sleeping gear. Transportation, including shuttles and chartered flights during the trip to the put-in point and take-out point is included.
The Kongakut River is located within the Arctic Circle, which means that the weather at the beginning of the trip will often be dry, with chances for precipitation increasing as you near the coastal zone near the Gulf of Alaska. June is the best weather month, but you should still be prepared for inclement weather. It is often warm and sunny, but it can become windy, cold, and rainy for extended periods of time. Temperatures range from the 40’s°F and 50’s°F at night, to the 60’s°F – 80’s°F in the daytime. It is usually slightly cooler while floating on the river.
The Kongakut River is a fast flowing river with numerous class II-III rapids. This scenic part of the river takes you through the heart of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge on your way to the Beaufort Sea. It is famous for dramatic mountain scenery, frequent wildlife encounters, and abundance of fish. It provides excellent opportunities for Arctic char and grayling fishing.
Your trip will use either oar powered rafts or paddleboats. Oar powered rafts Oar rafts carry our camp gear along with 2-4 passengers plus the guide, who maneuvers the raft with a set of oars mounted on the raft. Normally two to three boats travel together and group sizes are anywhere from 5 guests to a maximum of 10 guests per trip. Paddleboats are 14-16 feet long inflatable rubber rafts. They carry five to six people, and each person is responsible for paddling as a guide calls out the paddling commands. Paddleboats are a team effort boat and offer riders an intimate encounter with the river.
Whether you’re an experienced camper or it’s your first time under the stars, our outfitters are specialists in facilitating an enjoyable and relaxing camping experience. Everyone participates in setting up and breaking down camp. A clean, private camp toilet is set up first thing upon arrival at camp and it is the last thing to be dismantled the next morning.
One thing is certain on an Alaskan rafting trip: There will be plenty of food! A full, hearty breakfast with cowboy coffee gets the day going. A riverside picnic sets the scene for lunch where you create your own sandwich. Dinners can be anything from a New York steak, grilled filet of salmon, or a Mexican feast followed by a hot, Dutch oven dessert. There are plenty of snacks and beverages offered throughout the day. Alcoholic beverages are not included, but you are welcome to bring your own. With advance notice, all outfitters are able to accommodate for special dietary requirements.
Length: 10 – 11 days
Price: $4,980 – $5,600 per person
Season: June – July
Min. Age: 10 years
Activity: Whitewater Rafting
Adventure Level: Strong
I cannot tell you how impressed I was with the Rivers & Oceans’ staff, their organizational skills, knowledge and simply being just nice people. Once I decided to go with them every detail of the adventure was planned, organized and implemented without a hitch.
Absolutely wonderful. Rivers and Oceans is operated by people who truly care about your trip and have the personal experience to help you make the best choice. Now go see for yourself and let Rivers and Oceans lead you towards the adventure of a lifetime.
The folks at Rivers and Oceans are great. Helped us find and book a trip and patiently answered many questions over the weeks preceding the trip. Thank you.
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