Gateway to the Arctic

From: $2,999

per person dbl occ

Dates: Jul-Aug - see all dates

Total Days: 10

Activity Level: 3

Reserve This Trip

1-800-622-2236

Chat Online

Monday–Friday,
7 AM to 5 PM Pacific Time

This is an example of a HTML caption with a link.

Price:

2014

REI member: $2,999

Non-member: $3,300

2015

REI member: $3,199

Non-member: $3,525

Additional Fees

Single supplement: $299

Trip Dates:

2014

  • Jul 12–21 Sold out
  • Jul 19–28 Sold out
  • Aug 2–11 Sold out
  • Aug 16–25 Sold out

2015

  • Jul 11–20
  • Jul 18–27
  • Aug 1–10
  • Aug 15–24

Or, book a
private departure.

Group Size: 4-10

Activity Level: 3

Activities:

  • Hiking
  • Canoeing

Accommodations:

Hotels/lodge, 2 nights; Camping at established and backcountry sites, 7 nights

Trip Highlights

  • Take an Arctic Adventure in Alaska with hiking and paddling deep into the bush
  • Travel the famous Dalton Highway and enjoy a scenic flight over the Brooks Range
  • Explore Gates of the Arctic National Park and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
  • Soak in hot springs, learn about the Nunamiut people, and visit with a trapper
  • Camp at lovely campsites, including Marion Creek and Galbraith Lake

The call of the wild beckons as we explore one of the most remote and magnificent wildernesses in North America. Our journey begins in the frontier town of Fairbanks and presses ever northward as we hike and paddle our way through the Alaskan Bush. Travelling along the storied Dalton Highway towards the Arctic Circle, we enjoy a half-day canoe exploration and a hot springs soak near the small community of Manley. A spectacular flight over the Brooks Range to the Nunamiut village of Anaktuvuk offers an opportunity to learn more about the history of these resilient people.

Finally, as we approach the North Slope, two amazing treasures lay waiting. Gates of the Arctic National Park and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge offer unparalleled hiking and wildlife viewing opportunities as we share the tundra with caribou, grizzly bear, and wolverine. A dip in the Arctic Ocean concludes this unforgettable adventure under the midnight sun!

Itinerary Summary

  • Day 1 - Our great Arctic adventure begins in Fairbanks.
  • Day 2 - Travel north to Manley Hot Springs; hike in the nearby White Mountains.
  • Day 3  - Visit a sled dog kennel; watch for wildlife on a canoe paddle.
  • Day 4 - Travel the Dalton Highway across the Arctic Circle; camp at Marion Creek.
  • Day 5 - Full day hike in spectacular Gates of the Arctic National Park.
  • Day 6 - Visit with a trapper; scenic flight over the Brooks Range to Anaktuvuk.
  • Day 7 - Cross Atigun Pass and hike vast tundra plains; camp at Galbraith Lake.
  • Day 8 - Hike in ANWR in search of caribou, bear, musk ox, and wolverine.
  • Day 9 - Set out on a tundra hike on the North Slope en route to Deadhorse.
  • Day 10 - Take a dip in the Arctic Ocean before departing for home.

See full itinerary

Trip Itinerary and Details

Important Notice: Day 1 is the day you should plan to arrive at the meeting point for the trip. This may require departing your hometown one or more days in advance and traveling on an overnight flight.

  • Day 1 - Our great Arctic adventure begins in Fairbanks.

    Your trip begins today in Fairbanks, Alaska. An after-dinner orientation meeting with our guide and traveling companions will be held at our hotel in Fairbanks this evening. Hotel included. All meals on your own today.

  • Day 2 - Travel north to Manley Hot Springs; hike in the nearby White Mountains.

    We’ll gather in the hotel lobby at 8 a.m. and travel north and west this morning along the Elliott Highway toward the road’s end community of Manley Hot Springs.  Near the confluence of the Yukon and Tanana Rivers, Manley was a major center of trade during the gold rush but in its current, quieter incarnation, is home to only 100 year-round inhabitants.  We’ll spend the afternoon hiking and perhaps berry-picking in the nearby White Mountains and continue on to Manley to set up camp for the next two nights.  Our guide prepares a delicious dinner for us this evening under the boundless Alaska sky. All meals included.

    Hiking: 4-7 miles.

  • Day 3  - Visit a sled dog kennel; watch for wildlife on a canoe paddle.

    Long associated with the lore of backcountry Alaska, dog sledding is a popular pastime as well as a practical mode of winter travel in this snowy climate.  Some of the world’s most accomplished dog mushers have made Manley their home and we’ll spend time this morning visiting a working sled dog kennel and learning about the unique relationship that evolves between dog and musher.  This afternoon, our canoes stand ready for our half-day paddle exploration through the wetland environment of the Manley Slough.  We’ll watch for sandhill cranes, beaver, eagles and moose as we glide silently through the water.  Tonight, we’ll have the opportunity to relax in Manley’s garden oasis hot springs. All meals included.

    Canoeing: up to 10 miles; 1-3 hours, do as much or as little as you like.

  • Day 4 - Travel the Dalton Highway across the Arctic Circle; camp at Marion Creek.

    Our journey along the remote, 414-mile long Dalton Highway begins as we leave peaceful Manley behind and head due north towards the edge of the continent.  We’ll stop along the way at the Yukon River and as we cross the Arctic Circle to stretch our legs and enjoy a picnic lunch.  A particularly memorable view (among many that the highway has to offer) awaits us as we pass Gobbler’s Knob at Milepost 132.  Looming in the distance are the jagged peaks of the rugged Brooks Range.  Stretching over 700 miles, the Brooks is home to golden eagles, Dall’s sheep, wolves and grizzly bear and we’ll spend the next two days immersed in the unspoiled beauty of this mountain range.  The Coldfoot Interagency Visitor Center is the official visitor center for both Gates of the Arctic National Park and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and we’ll stop here to learn more about the geology, flora and fauna of these unspoiled national treasures.  We camp for the next three nights at Marion Creek.  Driving distance: 240 miles (approx. 5 hours not including various stops).  All meals included.

  • Day 5 - Full day hike in spectacular Gates of the Arctic National Park.

    We’ll set off on foot into Gates of the Arctic National Park and spend the day enjoying an amazing hike through this vast (8.5 million acres), awe-inspiring landscape rarely visited by humans. All meals included.

    Hiking: 8 miles  off trail

  • Day 6 - Visit with a trapper; scenic flight over the Brooks Range to Anaktuvuk.

    In the town of Wiseman, hardscrabble sourdoughs once answered the call of the wild to seek their fortunes in gold.  Renowned conservationist Robert Marshall chose this settlement as the focal point of his acclaimed book Arctic Village: A Nineteen Thirties Portrait of Wiseman, Alaska, documenting the hardships of life on the frontier.  Today, gold-mining is still practiced in Wiseman but the sourdoughs have been replaced by ingenious and friendly Alaskans who live off the land they share with the lynx, moose and wolverine.  We’ll visit Wiseman and take a walking tour with a resident trapper who enjoys enlightening travelers to the local way of life in this untamed environment.  After an early afternoon ridge hike offering spectacular panoramic views, we’ll board a small plane at the Wiseman airstrip for an unforgettable thirty-minute scenic flight through the Gates of the Arctic and over the Brooks Range to the Nunamiut village of Anaktuvuk.  The Nunamiuts were the last group of indigenous people in North America to give up their nomadic lifestyle and settle in a permanent village.  We are met by a Nunamiut guide upon arrival who shares the fascinating history of his people with us before we board our return flight to Wiseman and our campsite at Marion Creek. Breakfast and lunch included.

    Hiking: 4 miles. 

  • Day 7 - Cross Atigun Pass and hike vast tundra plains; camp at Galbraith Lake.

    Beyond the northernmost tree, we drive over the continental divide of the north, Atigun Pass (the highest pass in Alaska at 4,739’), and hike into this true wilderness where the gates of the great Brooks Range open onto the vast tundra plains of the Arctic.  We cross the spectacular treeless landscape, where herds of caribou migrate and northward flowing rivers run toward the Arctic Ocean.  Along the way, we’ll have abundant opportunities to view the many animals which roam this virtually uninhabited environment while catching occasional glimpses of the Alaskan pipeline, a quiet reminder of the modern world we’ve left behind.  We’ll camp at Galbraith Lake for the next two nights. All meals included.

    Hiking: 5 miles. 

  • Day 8 - Hike in ANWR in search of caribou, bear, musk ox, and wolverine.

    The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is one of the most complete and undisturbed ecosystems on our planet and one of America’s natural treasures.  Home to a surprisingly large variety of wildlife as well as Inupiat Eskimo and Gwich’in Indian communities, it represents an entire cross-section of Arctic life protected in one seamless expanse.  We spend the entire day hiking on the tundra that lies along the western edge of the refuge, enjoying the solitude and appreciating the pristine and untamed wilds that surround us.  Possible animal sightings include musk ox, caribou, brown bear, Dall’s sheep, wolverine, fox and a variety of swans, terns, loons and raptors. All meals included.

    Hiking: 8 miles. 

  • Day 9 - Set out on a tundra hike on the North Slope en route to Deadhorse.

    The final leg of our odyssey points us towards the northern edge of the continent as we travel through the seemingly boundless arctic tundra en route to the village of Deadhorse.  We’ll stop along the way for a hike on the otherworldly North Slope before reaching our lodging in Deadhorse late this afternoon.  A bed and hot shower feel great after a week in the backcountry! All meals included.

    Hiking:  4 miles. 

  • Day 10 - Take a dip in the Arctic Ocean before departing for home.

    The end of our journey is also the terminus of the Alaska pipeline and we’ll take a brief guided tour of the Prudhoe Bay oil fields this morning before the courageous (or foolhardy!) among us dip our toes into the Arctic Ocean.  An exhilarating conclusion to an unforgettable Alaskan adventure!  The later flight from Deadhorse back to Anchorage (not included) departs in mid-afternoon and we’ll check in together with time to spare.  Breakfast and Lunch included.

Note on Itinerary

Although we do our very best to adhere to the schedule listed above, this itinerary is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control including weather and terrain conditions. Many of our hikes are over trail-less tundra and actual daily hiking mileage may vary.

Air Travel

Please check with us before purchasing your airline tickets to ensure your trip has the necessary minimum number of participants required to operate the trip.

Price Includes

All accommodations (2 hotel nights, 7 nights in tent camps); meals as noted; guide leadership; van transportation; canoes and related gear (Day 3); scenic flight to Anaktuvuk; group camping gear (tents, cooking gear/utensils).

Not Included

Air transportation to Fairbanks on Day 1 and from Deadhorse at trip's end; 2 dinners; alcoholic beverages/soft drinks; guide gratuities; laundry and items of a personal nature.

Qualifications

This trip is rated as Moderate [3] (hiking 4-8 miles on most days, canoeing 4-8 miles on one day). While it is not necessary to be an expert hiker/paddler to participate, you should be in good physical condition, enjoy hiking and feel comfortable hiking off-trail on open tundra with elevation gains and losses of up to 2500'. To maximize your enjoyment of the trip and to avoid sore muscles, we suggest beginning a regular exercise regimen at least 3 months prior to departure. Recommended exercises include hiking, paddling, jogging, cycling and/or swimming. The better shape you are in, the more fun you will have! During this adventure, we will be camping at a combination of established campgrounds with showers and bathrooms (2 nights) and primitive campsites with pit toilets (5 nights). Previous camping experience is a plus and participants should be willing to pitch in with tent setup and breakdown.

Weather

As much of our trip takes place in northern Alaska, weather patterns can be unpredictable and change rapidly. Although our departures take place during mid-summer when sunshine may be abundant, there is always a chance of rain showers and cold weather, making adequate raingear/insulation a necessity (see recommended Gear List). Daytime temperatures generally range between 50°-70°F with nighttime temperatures dropping 10-20 degrees.

Travel Insurance

We strongly recommend the purchase of trip cancellation and travel insurance. This comprehensive travel protection provides for trip cancellation and interruption, travel delay, loss of baggage and travel documents, baggage delay, medical expenses and emergency assistance. An insurance application is included with all trip confirmations.

Single Travelers

If you are traveling alone and specifically request single accommodations, you will be asked to pay the single supplement fee. There is no single supplement fee for those willing to share accommodations, and we will assign you a roommate of the same gender if possible. Please be advised that there are a limited number of single accommodations available.

General Information

This trip is subject to the booking information set forth in the current REI Adventures Reservation Information. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A full gear list and pre-departure information is sent upon sign-up. We highly recommend the purchase of travel insurance through REI Adventures. If coverage is purchased at the time of your initial reservation, the 'Pre-existing Conditions Exclusion' is waived (certain exclusions apply).

We look forward to having you join us for the trip of a lifetime! Why wait? Space is limited, reserve your adventure today.

Gateway to the Arctic Gear List

The key to staying comfortable while on an active trip is layering. To get maximum comfort with minimum weight, you need versatile layers that mix and match to create the right amount of insulation, ventilation and weather protection. Try to bring only what is necessary—this will help you and the field staff.

Gear Checklist

Provided Gear
  • Tents
  • Stoves and fuel
  • Canoes
  • Water filter
  • Cookware, bowl and eating utensils
  • First-aid kit
Official Papers
  • Photo identification
  • Airline tickets
Luggage
  • Duffel bag (sturdy, medium/large size, soft-sided)
  • Daypack to carry camera, water bottle, extra clothing, etc.
  • Luggage tags and luggage locks
Camping Gear
  • Sleeping bag (20°) with stuff sack, lightweight, compressible
  • Sleeping bag liner (optional)
  • Sleeping pad
Clothing
  • Mid- or heavyweight fleece or pile jacket
  • Midweight, synthetic thermal underwear top and bottom
  • Lightweight, synthetic hiking pants
  • Lightweight, synthetic hiking shorts
  • Long-sleeve shirt
  • Synthetic T-shirts
  • Underwear
  • Swimsuit (for Arctic swim)
  • Hiking socks
  • Synthetic sock liners
Clothing Accessories
  • Sun hat
  • Wool or fleece hat
  • Bandana/earband
  • Wool or fleece gloves
  • Gaiters - optional (calf-high, for hiking through wet tundra)
Outerwear
  • Rain jacket and pants, waterproof, breathable, lightweight, comfortable to hike in
Footwear
  • Hiking boots with ankle support, water-resistant and already broken-in
  • Camp shoes or sandals
Travel Accessories
  • Three one litre water bottles or hydration pack
  • Pocket knife or multi-tool
  • Sunglasses and retainer strap
  • Sunblock and lip balm
  • Toiletry kit
  • Handi-Wipes
  • Personal first-aid kit
  • Hand sanitizer gel
  • Insect repellent (maximum 40% Deet)
  • Mosquito headnet (recommended)
  • Towel
  • Flashlight or headlamp (August departures only)
Optional Field Gear
  • Camera, spare media card and batteries and chargers
  • Compact binoculars (highly recommended)
  • Whistle
  • Spare contact lenses or glasses
  • Reading and writing materials
  • Hiking staff or trekking poles
  • Ear plugs
  • Travel pillow

Things to Consider

  • Please remember to always pack essential items such as appropriate identification, money, eyewear, a change of clothing, hiking boots and medications in your carry-on baggage, in case your luggage is delayed.
  • Windchill can be a significant feature of this trip. Air temperatures are not very cold, but when the wind is constant you can be robbed of body heat quickly. Wind or rain gear is very important.
  • Cotton is wonderful in warm weather. However, once it becomes wet, it will drain your body heat. Bring wools or synthetics such as Capilene®, MTS® and Thermax®.
  • Always test your layers before a trip. Your outer layer should fit easily over the inside ones without binding and bunching up.
  • Make sure boots are broken-in. Bring moleskin for foot treatment. Thin liner socks worn under regular hiking socks may minimize the risk of blisters. The liner sock should be synthetic, not cotton. Test your sock combination before you go on the trip. Consider bringing a pair of light trail runners to give your feet a break in case blisters do occur while wearing heavier boots.
  • Bring heavy-duty garbage bags to line your duffel bag and keep you gear dry, should inclement weather be encountered.

Feel free to give us a call at (800) 622-2236 should you have any questions regarding the gear list. The staff at our stores and Direct Sales (800-426-4840) will also be happy to help you with gear questions. Or check out www.rei.com/learn. The Expert Advice section on our "Learn" page has great information to help you prepare for your trip.

REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
REI AdventuresGateway to the Arctic
 
5.0

(based on 11 reviews)

100%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Exceeded expectations (10)
  • Food (10)
  • Guides (10)
  • Once in a lifetime experience (10)
  • Group camaraderie (9)

Cons

    Best Uses

        • Reviewer Profile:
        • Casual adventurer (5), Avid adventurer (4)
        • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
        • I liked the itinerary (9), Active adventures (8), Destination (6), Commitment to sustainability (4), Travel with like-minded outdoor enthusiasts (4)

      Reviewed by 11 customers

      Sort by

      Displaying reviews 1-10

      Back to top

      Previous | Next »

      (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Once in a lifetime, stunning experience

      By mudphuddle

      from Oakdale, CA

      About Me Casual Adventurer

      Site Member

      Pros

      • Activity Level
      • Exceeded Expectations
      • Food
      • Group Camaraderie
      • Guides
      • Once in a Lifetime Experience
      • Quality Equipment Provided
      • Well Organized Itinerary

      Cons

        Best Uses

          Comments about REI Adventures Gateway to the Arctic:

          This was a magical trip. The scenery was breathtaking, the guides excellent (Jody is not only extremely knowledgeable, she is very funny; Jim plays a great straight-man), and the cultural experiences remarkable. We also had a great group of ten. If you want to experience Alaska outside the usual tourist experience, take this trip.

          • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
          • I Liked the Itinerary
          • Why did you choose this trip?:
          • I wanted to experience the Alaskan wilderness and those who choose to live within it.
          • What was the highlight of your trip?:
          • Talking with the folks with who Jody (the guide) has formed deep friendships. What they share with her tour group goes far beyond the typical tour fare. They allow us to touch, and be touched by, their lives. Talking with them was at least as magnificent as the scenery through which we hiked.
          • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
          • Bring warm clothes and bug protection. And yes, you really do need to bring 3 L of water on some of the hikes.

          (5 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          A different world!

          By Tobs

          from Los Angeles, CA

          About Me Avid Adventurer

          Site Member

          Pros

          • Activity Level
          • Exceeded Expectations
          • Food
          • Group Camaraderie
          • Guides
          • Once in a Lifetime Experience
          • Quality Equipment Provided
          • Well Organized Itinerary

          Cons

          • Trip Is Too Short

          Best Uses

            Comments about REI Adventures Gateway to the Arctic:

            I'd love to share the entire trip in this review, but I don't want to give it all away. Part of the relaxation comes from not knowing what exactly happens at 2:30pm or any other time of the day...If you feel like you need a time-out from your busy life and you want to experience the endless wilderness, the culture, and the people and their rough life above the arctic circle, this trip is for you. You'll be well taken care of by your guides and you can be sure to make some friends along the way.A special thanks to Jody and Otto, our guides. You guys made this entire trip even more special for us. So much so, that it was difficult to say goodbye at the very end. Thanks so much for your thoughtfulness, time, care, love to detail, camaraderie, generosity, and for the leftovers! :o)Thanks again!!Trixi [@]

            • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
            • Active Adventures, Commitment to Sustainability, Destination, I Liked the Itinerary, Travel with Like-minded Outdoor Enthusiasts
            • Why did you choose this trip?:
            • My wife actually chose this trip for us, because she thought it might be better to have an experienced guide out there in bear country. I think she's probably right...
            • What was the highlight of your trip?:
            • Try to calm down from your down to the minute scheduled, busy city lives! The trip is very dependent on mother nature and you might not be able to stick to your original trip as planned. For me, this trip was to disconnect from the high-tech world I live in every day and I was not disappointed. The weather is definitively part of the adventure! Dress in layers!!
            • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
            • Meeting the local folks, like Joee and Pam Reddington, the Manley Hot Springs, watching the Aurora Borealis at Marion Creek (no guarantee it'll be there when you are), swimming in the arctic ocean, Jody's dutch oven potatoes, disconnecting form "the world as we know it", laughing all day long with new found friends, the hikes through the tundra... …geez, the entire trip was one big highlight!

            (5 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

             
            5.0

            Adventure come true!

            By Westward Bound

            from Athens, GA

            About Me Avid Adventurer

            Site Member

            Pros

            • Accommodations
            • Exceeded Expectations
            • Food
            • Guides
            • Once in a Lifetime Experience
            • Quality Equipment Provided
            • Well Organized Itinerary

            Cons

              Best Uses

                Comments about REI Adventures Gateway to the Arctic:

                Personally, I could not have had a better time on this adventure. Yes, I was disappointed because we were rained out, or the fog came in and we couln't finish a hike, BUT, that is part of the experience. This trip by far exceeded any and all expectations I could ever have dreamed of. My wife and I love Alaska, and this adventure is a "bucket list" adventure. Our guides, Jody and Jack, are two of the finest people you could ever hope to have guiding a trip. I can say it was an honor to have met them. Jody's cooking is hands down the best. Jody was everything to us on this trip, our geology professor, our chef, our schedular, our entertainment, and most importantly, now our friend. Jody embodies the spirit of adventure, and it is contagious! If you want to see Alaska, and some of the pristine land that it offers, go on this adventure!!

                • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
                • Active Adventures, Commitment to Sustainability, Destination, Good Value, I Liked the Itinerary, Travel with Like-minded Outdoor Enthusiasts
                • Why did you choose this trip?:
                • Bottom line, I chose this trip because it is really the one of only ways to experience the North Slope of Alaska. And if you take this trip, you will experience life on the North Slope! Living so far away, I didn't have to worry about the logistics of everything, which was great! This let me focus on enjoying where I was, and who I was with.
                • What was the highlight of your trip?:
                • There were so many highlights that I can't name just one. So, I will name a few... Hearing wolves howl in Wiseman, hiking on the tundra, the peace and quiet, wolf sighting in our campsite, the Arctic Circle, every single hike we took was spectacular, eating lunch on top of Wickersham Dome, the hot springs in Manley, and the dip in the Arctic Ocean. I think what made this trip unforgettable was the guides. Jody and her brother Jack were AMAZING! It is hard to put into words how amazing this journey was. And even harder to pick one highlight.
                • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
                • BE FLEXIBLE!!! A couple of times we were not able to do what was "scheduled" to do because of the weather. Remember, this is the Arctic of Alaska and the weather is unpredictable. So, keep that in mind with this trip. Know that this is not the guides fault, it's weather. Even though we were rained out, or socked in by clouds and fog, we were still able to hike and enjoy the outdoors and the expanse of Alaska. Be willing to just go with the flow. Help, help, help. Help out where you can. The guides work their tails off to make your adventure memorable. BUT, they are human as well and sometimes require a little help. For me, that made the trip better. Whether it's getting water for camp, or chopping wood, or loading the van, be willing to give a hand. Be ready for some physical activity as well. Hiking in the tundra is not hiking on a trail, or walking down the street. Be in good shape, as this will make the adventure better for you and the others.

                (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                5.0

                Well worth the money spent

                By outdoorlady

                from Athens, GA

                Site Member

                Pros

                  Cons

                    Best Uses

                      Comments about REI Adventures Gateway to the Arctic:

                      Our guide, Jody, went above and beyond my expectations of a guide. She was a terrific chef...never a minute of hunger in our group! She was extremely knowledgable about the flora, fauna, wildlife, geology, etc of this area. She always had the group laughing and enjoying ourselves. I plan on doing all of her trips!

                      • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
                      • Active Adventures
                      • Why did you choose this trip?:
                      • The itinerary sounded exciting and something I was interested in. This type of trip is about the only way to experience this part of Alaska.
                      • What was the highlight of your trip?:
                      • The entire trip was fantastic! It was quite an experience. I would do it again! The howl of the wolves in Wisemen was one of my highlights! The crossing of the Arctic Circle and our "dip" into the Arctic Ocean were some highlights also.
                      • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
                      • Be prepared for adjustments in the itinerary...this trip is weather permitting. Alot of time is spent in a van (Dalton Hwy is not an easy road to travel), but well worth the time spent. Do not go into this trip expecting to see lots of wildlife (it is not Denali or Yellowstone) Understand that this trip is an ACTIVE trip and the tundra is a very tough environment to hike in! And most importantly...everyone needs to pull their own load, help each other, help with necessary tasks around the camp, and most importantly, help your guide!

                      (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

                       
                      5.0

                      OUTSTANDING ALASKAN ADVENTURE!

                      By ptp

                      from NYC

                      About Me Avid Adventurer

                      Pros

                      • Accommodations
                      • Activity Level
                      • Exceeded Expectations
                      • Food
                      • Group Camaraderie
                      • Guides
                      • Jody is the BEST
                      • Once in a Lifetime Experience
                      • Quality Equipment Provided
                      • Well Organized Itinerary

                      Cons

                        Best Uses

                          Comments about REI Adventures Gateway to the Arctic:

                          I can't speak highly enough of Jody [@]. Her professionalism, knowledge, humor, chef skills and spirit combine to make the ideal trip leader. The itinerary reflects her interest, passion and respect for the land and the people of this part of Alaska. After 30 years of hiking and camping on my own, I was skeptical about going on a guided trip. Now I can't imagine going on a trip without Jody!

                          • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
                          • Active Adventures, I Liked the Itinerary, Travel with Like-minded Outdoor Enthusiasts
                          • Why did you choose this trip?:
                          • Having previously camped and hiked on my own in other parts of Alaska, I was interested in exploring new territory that I probably wouldn't have done on my own.
                          • What was the highlight of your trip?:
                          • Seeing a remote but stunningly beautiful part of the country. We also saw amazing wildlife!! And swimming in the Arctic Ocean!
                          • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
                          • There is a good chance that weather will affect the itinerary so be prepared and flexible.

                          (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                           
                          5.0

                          My Alaska Dream-wishes do come true!

                          By Barbara from Kansas

                          from Topeka, Kansas

                          See all my reviews

                          Site Member

                          Pros

                          • Accommodations
                          • Exceeded Expectations
                          • Food
                          • Group Camaraderie
                          • Guides
                          • Once in a Lifetime Experience
                          • Quality Equipment Provided
                          • Totally amazing
                          • Well Organized Itinerary

                          Cons

                            Best Uses

                              Comments about REI Adventures Gateway to the Arctic:

                              Rain started our trip out and that resulted in one hike being cancelled but the joy was being warm and we had so much laughter, it didn't matter. We got to one area and they didn't have "gas" so we were stranded on the Yukon River area but our spirits were kept high by playing frisbie and poker. It also taught me about taking pictures of the Alaska pipeline-some areas are OFF LIMITS! (Ask Jody [...] about the Kansas girl that was introduced to security when we were stranded). Overall, it felt like I had a touch of family again and I would not trade this experience for the world.....it truly lifted my heart and restored my faith in human mankind. Jody and the group and all the natives we met were just warm and wonderful. As they say, my memories are "priceless". Thanks!

                                • Why did you choose this trip?:
                                • Dan [...] suggested it and he works for REI and I put my total trust in his judgement and thus far, after many, many travels, he has never been wrong. It was totally wonderful and the guide, Jody [...] was top notch-a jewell of a guide and person!!!
                                • What was the highlight of your trip?:
                                • My highlight was everything-except saying goodbye as our group was wonderful and despite challenges, Jody kept our spirits high and it was an exciting and fun adventure.
                                • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
                                • If you want a kindered heart experience, travel with Jody [...] and I promise you, you will laugh and feel the love and passion she has for Alaska and the natives.

                                (4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

                                 
                                5.0

                                Adventure of a Lifetime

                                By takeahike31

                                from Haverhill, MA

                                About Me Casual Adventurer

                                Site Member

                                Pros

                                • Exceeded Expectations
                                • Food
                                • Group Camaraderie
                                • Guides
                                • Once in a Lifetime Experience

                                Cons

                                  Best Uses

                                    Comments about REI Adventures Gateway to the Arctic:

                                    This trip truly is "off the beaten path". Our guide Jody was incredible, from her deep local knowledge and connections to the native Alaskans, her love for Alaskan nature and knowledge of all its creations makes this trip very special. Part of the fun was experiencing the journey of traveling where few have gone and being connected to the pristine wilderness that is northern Alaska. Having a sense of humor if things aren't perfect and being flexible with the unexpected things that come your way on this trip is a must!

                                    One thing that made the trip special was that all the food for the trip was purchased either at the local farmer's market or from locals along the way. All foods were so fresh; Jody's cooking was superb and the flavors were AMAZING! Each day we had a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, meats and grains to choose from and we never went hungry.

                                    The Manley Hot Springs were so relaxing and a served as a springboard for the rest of the trip. Touring the village at Wiseman was deeply thought provoking and the hikes are a wonderful journey to experience a taste of both Gates of the Arctic NP and Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The scenery is breathtaking! The flight to Anaktuvuk Pass was spectacular! Visiting the Eskimo Village was a brief glimpse into a world that is quickly catching up with modern times. Also, we got to see the Aurora on our final night camping - what a treat! Hanging out with the other participants of the trip was so much fun and made the time fly by so fast – it seemed like we had been friends forever when we finally pulled into Deadhorse.

                                    I was very sad to go home, but I will definitely return to Alaska to see its beauty again.

                                    If you're a peakbagger, or someone in a rush to get to the final destination at the end of the day, this trip is not for you. If you are game to go with the flow, and be a part of the unique experience that comes your way, this is your trip - Don't delay in signing up!

                                    • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
                                    • Active Adventures, All the Details Planned for Me, Destination, I Liked the Itinerary
                                    • Why did you choose this trip?:
                                    • Mix of variety of attractions along the way, and the destination
                                    • What was the highlight of your trip?:
                                    • So many things made this trip great - Aurora Borealis viewing, spectacular scenery, ability to talk and hang out with local Alaskans.
                                    • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
                                    • Be willing to be flexible and ready for anything that comes your way - don't be in a rush to get to the destination - it's the journey that's important.

                                    (6 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

                                     
                                    5.0

                                    A trip I'll never forget

                                    By CeliaG

                                    from Sisters, Oregon

                                    About Me Casual Adventurer

                                    Site Member

                                    Pros

                                    • Accommodations
                                    • Activity Level
                                    • Exceeded Expectations
                                    • Food
                                    • Group Camaraderie
                                    • Guides
                                    • Once in a Lifetime Experience
                                    • Quality Equipment Provided
                                    • Well Organized Itinerary

                                    Cons

                                      Best Uses

                                        Comments about REI Adventures Gateway to the Arctic:

                                        Overall the trip was great. Not particularly being the "camping type" I found the camping part of the trip a necessity to see that part of Alaska but a stretch for me. However, the camp sites were beautiful, the tents impressive, and eating around a campfire was fun. Jody, the guide worked so hard and made the trip special for everyone. She is so knowlegeable of Alaska.

                                        • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
                                        • Active Adventures, All the Details Planned for Me, Commitment to Sustainability, Destination, I Liked the Itinerary
                                        • Why did you choose this trip?:
                                        • Normally I am a independent traveler but for this destination I thought it would be better to travel in a group. I had heard from friends that not only was the guide fantastic but she was also a great cook. That sounded like a winning combination and sold me on the trip.
                                        • What was the highlight of your trip?:
                                        • The highlight of the trip for me was meeting the different people that choose to live in the Artic, dog mushers, fur trappers, and Eskimos to name a few. The scenery was spectacular and a thrill to walk on tundra. It is so different.
                                        • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
                                        • Follow the equipment list provided. I used everything. And be flexible. The itinerary can change a bit because of weather and "whims of the group".

                                        (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                                         
                                        5.0

                                        I've left a piece of my heart in Alaska

                                        By Allison

                                        from Washington, DC

                                        About Me Casual Adventurer

                                        Pros

                                        • Exceeded Expectations
                                        • Food
                                        • Group Camaraderie
                                        • Guides
                                        • Intellectual Stimulation
                                        • Once in a Lifetime Experience

                                        Cons

                                          Best Uses

                                            Comments about REI Adventures Gateway to the Arctic:

                                            Some of the best parts of this tour were in the van driving north along the Dalton Highway. It was along the road that we got the rich information about the region from our guide. Her narrations as we covered the countryside on geology, lifestyle, and animal habitats constantly peppered the conversation. The drive was also where we spied many of the animals and birds (as a group we saw over 40 species on the trip). We were continuously stopping to hop out with binoculars and cameras to see a muskox herd, moose, or Ptarmigan. This was also the time where we got to know each other and formed great group cohesion.

                                            • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
                                            • I Liked the Itinerary, Member Benefits, Recommended by a Friend
                                            • Why did you choose this trip?:
                                            • Reading the descriptions of the Alaskan adventures, we agreed that this trip promised (and delivered!) the most unusual and unknown experiences. I would get to explore parts of the United States that few traverse. I also love big open spaces full of nature and sky.
                                            • What was the highlight of your trip?:
                                            • Galbraith Lake. We spent 2 nights there, far above the Arctic Circle and in view of the sun 22 hours a day. The view from out tent was stunning in all directions with the Gates of the Arctic NP to the west and Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to the east. It's a peaceful place brimming with life. (A close second would be the time spent in the town of Wiseman)
                                            • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
                                            • I signed up for this trip because of the access to the natural world it would provide. The truly unexpected experience was the time we spent with the people that live year round in the Arctic. The tour provided a perfect balance of nature and culture and I came away with a more holistic understanding of what "Arctic" actually means.

                                            (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

                                             
                                            5.0

                                            Even better than my high hopes.

                                            By Paul L

                                            from Edmonds-On-The-Sound, north of Seattle

                                            About Me Avid Adventurer

                                            Pros

                                            • Exceeded Expectations
                                            • Food
                                            • Group Camaraderie
                                            • Guides
                                            • Once in a Lifetime Experience
                                            • Well Organized Itinerary

                                            Cons

                                              Best Uses

                                                Comments about REI Adventures Gateway to the Arctic:

                                                The food was great, and a wonderful surprise. Jody is an excellent chef as well as an inspiring and knowledgeable guide.

                                                The hiking level might vary depending on the interests and capabilities of the group. Probably not for intense hikers.

                                                The landscape, flora, and wildlife were all magical. While reminiscent of certain other vast places I've been (Alberta, Montana, Mongolia), the vistas were stunning and had a signature I now call "Alaskan" - though it's clearly a different Alaska than the southern coast.

                                                There's a fair amount of time in the van, which is par for the course in traveling the length of the Dalton Highway in a fairly quick trip.

                                                This trip was outstanding and full of adventure from start to finish.

                                                • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
                                                • Active Adventures, All the Details Planned for Me, Commitment to Sustainability, Destination, I Liked the Itinerary, Travel with Like-minded Outdoor Enthusiasts
                                                • Why did you choose this trip?:
                                                • I wanted to have an authentic experience above the Arctic Circle, so I checked out several trips offered by different adventure touring companies, and this looked like the best match for my interests.
                                                • What was the highlight of your trip?:
                                                • Wonderful day hikes on several different days, including to the ridges of Midnight Dome (north of Wiseman) and the area east of Galbraith Lake (on the north slope of the Brooks Range). Also, meeting people who have lived off the land for decades.
                                                • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
                                                • Read John McPhee's book "Coming Into The Country". Bring some warm clothes but all in layers. Be prepared for the possibility of hot as well as chilly weather. Do some research on mosquito repellants and get comfortable with what you will use if there are bad spots - make sure you have a mosquito head net, and consider "picaridin" repellants over ones w. DDT because they are better on synthetics and seem to work fine. Prepare yourself for a mind warp at Deadhorse: after the wilderness, the oil facilities and the hotels on Prudhoe Bay are a shock.

                                                Displaying reviews 1-10

                                                Back to top

                                                Previous | Next »

                                                How are we doing? Give us feedback on this page.

                                                • Join REI today!
                                                • REI Membership
                                                • REI members enjoy discounts on REI Adventures trips and more benefits.
                                                • Join REI today!
                                                • Sign up for REI Gearmail®
                                                • and get 15% off selected items!
                                                • Store Locator
                                                • Locate an REI store near you.
                                                • Find a Store
                                                © 2014 Recreational Equipment, Inc. All rights reserved. REI, the REI Tree and Mountain design, Novara, and
                                                REI Adventures are trademarks of Recreational Equipment, Inc.

                                                Find REI on: FacebookTwitterYouTubeFlickrMobile site