Kongakut River Rafting
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska
Kongakut River Rafting
Rafting the Kongakut River takes you above the Arctic Circle into an area of vast beauty and tundra wilderness that few people ever see. Keep an eye out for a plethora of wildlife. Regular sightings of caribou, wolves, musk oxen, moose and grizzly bears occur along the shoreline. A hiker’s dream, this trip offers long treks on multiple layover days that will fill even the most seasoned adventurer’s heart with awe. Traverse expansive forests, fields, and hills of the famous Brooks Range. Your adventure ends with another spectacular 300-mile flight over a lush alpine landscape blanketed with wildflowers, intricate valleys, ancient rock formations, and cascading waterfalls.
See our blog summarizing the top Alaskan multi-day rafting trips. If you are considering rafting in Alaska checkout the classic Alsek River in southern Alaska.
$6,400 - $7,200 per person
Length: 10 – 11 days
Price: $6,400 – $7,200 per person
Season: June – July
Min. Age: 10 years
Activity: Whitewater Rafting
Rapids: II – III
Kongakut River Rafting Details
Located on the Northern Slope of Alaska, the Kongakut River is Alaska’s most north-eastern river. It runs approximately 60 miles through the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and Alaskan tundra. The rafting trip begins and ends with a 300-mile scenic plane ride over the top of North America. The flight provides a birds-eye view of the Arctic’s vast wilderness before landing right beside the river.
For 10 days travel down the Kongakut while immersed in the grand terrain of tundra. With not set schedule each trip revolves around the best options depending upon weather and migration patterns. The river flows through the Brooks Range, abounding with miles of mountains and hills covered in lush vegetation, wildflowers, and boulders covered in mossy, colorful flora. At the end of our journey, camp at Caribou Pass, just shy of the Arctic coastline and Beaufort Sea.
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Need to Know
Making the most of your rafting trip
We find people have the most fun when they are flexible. A Kongakut rafting trip provides an adventure where the guides continually adjust plans to make the most of each day.
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 travels through 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.
What to Expect
Your rafting trip begins in Fairbanks, Alaska. The night before your river trip begins you will meet your outfitter for a mandatory orientation to pass out equipment and discuss the trip logistics. The following morning, take a bush style plane from Fairbanks to Arctic Village, Alaska. From here a shuttle takes you to the put-in spot to begin your river trip.
Your trip ends 60 river miles downriver at the Arctic coast on the Beaufort Sea. Another bush plane transports you back to Fairbanks, Alaska.
Your outfitter provides 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.
Kongakut take place in June just after the snows melt before the mosquitos take over. The great Caribou migration happens at this time. The second time to go is in August which is fall with cooler nights that limit the mosquitos and provides an opportunity to enjoy the fall colors of the tundra.
The Kongakut River Rafting trips float 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 has best weather, 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.
The Kongakut River
The Kongakut River contains numerous class II-III whitewater rapids during its fast flowing descent. 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.
Boats & Group Size
Your trip will use either oar powered rafts or paddle boats. Oar powered rafts carry camping 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. Paddle boats are 14-16 feet long inflatable rubber rafts. They carry five to six people, and each person paddles as a guide calls out commands. Paddle boats require 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 specialize 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, special dietary requirements can be accommodated.
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