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A herd of Muskoxen on Somerset Island

High Arctic Muskoxen & Polar Bear Photography

Example 10 Day Tour
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Experience the stunning Arctic wilderness of Canada and witness the migration of muskox and polar bears on this 10-day High Arctic expedition. This adventure takes you through 24 hours of sunlight, polar bear and muskox habitats, and amongst a variety of wildlife, including narwhal, snowy owls, and more. Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge, situated 800 kilometers above the Arctic Circle, is your basecamp as you set out to explore the tundra of Somerset and the coastline of the Northwest Passage. Set out to explore and take pictures of the beautiful Canadian High Arctic with your camera, your team from Arctic Watch, and all the gear you need (including a helicopter for one day of hiking).
Muskoxen ruttingExploring the Northwest Passage sea iceMuskox photographyExploring the tundra via ATV a polar bear skullATVing on the tundraExploring the sea ice on the Northwest Passage at Arctic WatchHigh ArcticExploring the sea ice of the Northwest PassageHelicopter on Somerset Island Northwest passage near Arctic WatchA herd of Muskoxen on Somerset Island
  • Witness the migration of muskox and polar bears
  • ATV ride into Somerset Island's tundra to an area called Muskox Ridge
  • Enjoy breathtaking views of the Northwest Passage and ice formations on the Arctic ocean
  • Encounter rarely seen arctic wildlife: polar bears, muskoxen, foxes, snowy owls and more
Places Visited
Activity Level: Relaxed
Involves minimal physical effort and is typically associated with leisurely activities. Activities are low-intensity or last less than a few hours each day.

Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Arrive in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

  • 1 Dinner
Fly to Yellowknife, the capital of Canada’s Northwest Territories and spend the night at the Explorer Hotel.

Day 2: Fly to Arctic Lodge

  • Hotel
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
After breakfast, depart Yellowknife on a private charter for the 3-hour flight to Arctic Watch. Guests will land in the Arctic later that afternoon. After an introduction to the lodge and the surrounding landscape by the Arctic Watch team, guests will have time to settle into their cabins. Before dinner is served, a short hike up to the local mountain is offered; breathtaking views of the Northwest Passage and ice formations on the Arctic ocean. Spend time with your guide that evening, as you prepare your camera gear for the adventure.

Day 3-4: Somerset Island's tundra

  • Hotel
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
ATVs are our most practical form of transportation to cover long distances on the tundra. Attend a hands-on introduction to all-terrain vehicles followed by a short drive to the badlands of Somerset. The area is a distinctive grazing around for muskoxen denoted by salt deposits. The flora, combined with the natural salt deposits attract muskoxen herds. Spend the afternoon following and photographing muskoxen. In August bull muskoxen will battle for breeding rights in the herd. These fights can often be heard from big distances - males colliding heads at 60km/h. Female muskoxen (and young) will often nearly stand in observation. The area is also home to foxes and snowy owls. 

A short ATV drive from the lodge, head inland into Somerset Island's tundra to an area called muskox ridge. Deep peat moss and sedge grasses will attract residential muskoxen to spend most of the summer feeding in this area. Herds will wander between feeding sites - looking for the best foliage to graze on. Spending the day hiking the ridge and surrounding area, our goal is to follow and photograph the local herds. An arctic fox den in the vicinity can often have denning kits and snowy owls are known to hunt lemmings in this area. 

Day 5-8: Northwest Passage

  • Hotel
  • 4 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners
head onto the Northwest Passage to track polar bears. Climbing aboard our helicopter, Spend the day travelling and stopping to hike areas along the coast where autumn pack ice begins to collect. These areas are often inhabited by polar bears, who are actively hunting seals. Beautiful floating pack ice, the scree slopes of Somerset and the open waters of the Northwest passage are in themselves jaw-dropping. It's also the time of year that narwhal are migrating through. These quiet and gentle marine creatures are often best observed from hill sides on the Northwest Passage or from the air.

Daily excursions led by the Weber Arctic team at Arctic Watch focus on observing, photographing and encountering the animals of Somerset and the Northwest Passage. Guests are provided the best opportunities to photograph unique moments and are welcome to bring handheld and drone based photographic equipment (under the guidance of our team to ensure we don't disturb any Arctic animals).

Day 9: Depart for Yellowknife

  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
By now, guests are familiar with the area, and can opt to do an activity that they missed during the week or would like to repeat. There’s lots of time before the flight departs in the late afternoon. Upon arriving in Yellowknife you will spend the night at the Explorer Hotel before your return flight home.

Day 10: Yellowknife | Return Home

  • 1 Breakfast
Depart Yellowknife for the return flight home..

In the wild and unpredictable Arctic the weather patterns and wildlife can disrupt even the best-laid plans. Therefore all of our itineraries are marked as ‘suggested’. Daily excursions are planned based on guest desires, abilities and interests as well as daily wildlife and weather conditions.


Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge

View the beluga whales from your tent at Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge
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Lodge Room

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  • 9 Breakfasts, 8 Lunches, 9 Dinners
  • 9 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)


When to Go

Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.
Typically not offered during this period because of weather conditions.


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Beyond expectations! Then again we weren't sure what to expect. Lovely stay at the lodge, met other like-minded travelers (many had their trips planned by Adventure Life) and the owner was a gracious hostess. It felt like you were one happy family, visiting with a favorite aunt.
Nancy Sin

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