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Take a ATV ride across the Arctic tundra at Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge

Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge

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Spend a week at this unique Canadian Arctic Wilderness Lodge and world-class beluga whale observation site. Situated 500 miles north of the Arctic Circle, the lodge offers fully-guided opportunities for hiking, kayaking, and exploring the Arctic tundra in all-terrain vehicles. Observe muskox, polar bears, plus more wildlife in their natural habitat while enjoying comfortable accommodations and superb food, all accessible within a short flight from Yellowknife, Northwest Territories to Somerset Island in Nunavut, Canada.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Arrive in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories
Day 2 : Fly to Arctic Lodge
Day 3 : Arctic Watch Lodge - Somerset Island, Nunavut
Day 4 : Kayak Cunningham Inlet
Day 5 : Somerset Island Canyons
Day 6 : Raft Cunningham River
Day 7 : Depart Arctic Watch Lodge
Day 8 : Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

Highlights

  • Hike to Kayak Falls for stunning views of the Northwest Passage
  • Watch and listen for beluga whales from the shores of the estuary
  • Explore the Canadian Arctic landscape by ATV
  • Kayak around Cunningham Inlet and watch for a variety of sealife

Places Visited

Activities

Trip Type

  • Independent

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

Take a ATV ride across the Arctic tundra at Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge A beluga whale breaks the surface by Arctic Watch Hike the pristine scenery at Arctic Watch View herds of muskox during your stay at Arctic Watch Muskox on the Arctic tundra A beluga whale at Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge Rafting at Arctic Watch Enjoy great fishing during your stay at Arctic Watch

Day 1 Arrive in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

  • 1 Dinner
Spend the first night of your journey with an included night in Yellowknife meeting your fellow travelers.

Day 2 Fly to Arctic Lodge

  • Hotel
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Board a private chartered plane to fly the 1,000 miles (1,500 km) to the Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge. During the four-and-a-half-hour flight, pass over the treeline as you cross the Arctic Circle. Following a refueling stop in the community of Cambridge Bay, circle above Cunningham Inlet. Enjoy aerial views of the lodge below, before landing on the private airstrip on Somerset Island. A short walk across the tundra—and an even shorter raft ride across the Cunningham River—brings you to the lodge. After a tour of the facilities, you are escorted to your cabin. Upon settling in, meet your hosts for a safety briefing and overview of the exciting activities and options ahead.

Day 3 Arctic Watch Lodge - Somerset Island, Nunavut

  • Hotel
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
After a hot breakfast, a typical first morning at the lodge may include receiving a hands-on introduction to driving all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), which are easy and fun to operate. Later, you may take a short hike to the Cunningham River estuary to spot beluga whales frolicking in the shallow water only a few yards offshore.

After lunch, there may be an opportunity for a hike to Triple Waterfalls, a five-story torrent of free-falling water. There, you can see nesting peregrine falcons and other birds such as loons, snowbuntings, sandpipers, and rough-legged hawks. Exploring this canyon introduces you to the delicate beauty of wild arctic flowers. Encounters with muskoxen are common. During your gourmet dinner, pair your meal with a fine Canadian bottle of wine from the Northwest Passage Wine and Spirit List. After dinner, there’s free time to explore in and around the lodge. The library has a broad selection of arctic and polar titles. The interpretive center contains collections of local fossils, the skeletal remains of arctic fauna, and a collection of traditional Inuit clothing from Canada, Greenland and Siberia.

Day 4 Kayak Cunningham Inlet

  • Hotel
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
One of today’s activities may be kayaking in Cunningham Inlet. Paddle among icebergs, looking out for beluga whales as well as ring and bearded seals. Sightings of seabirds, including arctic terns and eider ducks, can be expected. After a lunch served along the shoreline, take a short hike to explore a local canyon aptly named Kayak Falls. From there, enjoy stunning views of the Northwest Passage and the opportunity to see polar bears.

In the afternoon, return to the Cunningham River estuary, a beluga whale migration site. This site is unique the world over because of the density of the beluga population and its proximity to the lodge. You may even be able to see the whales while you stand on the river banks, and be close enough to hear their calls. Guides use hydrophones so you can also hear the whales’ underwater song. In the evening, following a five-star dinner, hear a lecture on the beluga research being conducted in Cunningham Inlet.

Day 5 Somerset Island Canyons

  • Hotel
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Following breakfast, depart for a trip to Flatrock Falls, crossing the Cunningham River delta. There, you have the option of hiking or traveling by Mercedes Unimog (a multipurpose four-wheel-drive truck). Visit the Somerset Island canyons, formed as the result of shifting fault lines. Their steep walls vary from 200 to 1,000 feet (61 to 305 meters). Millions of fossils of prehistoric plants and animals are scattered around the ground. You may also have the opportunity to observe nesting sites of local birds, including terns, plovers and snow geese. An alfresco lunch is served directly on the flat rocks that surround this canyon.

After lunch, travel to Gull Canyon, where you can see the striking color contrasts between the barren canyon and a lush gull rookery. This spot was recently declared a unique ecosystem by the Canadian Wildlife Service due to the area’s gull rookery and the presence of peregrine falcons. In the evening, a Scientist in Residence gives an informal lecture.

Day 6 Raft Cunningham River

  • Hotel
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today’s full-day rafting adventure begins after breakfast with a Mercedes Unimog truck ride to the Arctic Watch raft launch on the Cunningham River, 12.5 miles (20 km) from the lodge. Opt to hike the final four miles (6 km) through the Badlands, passing the skeletal remains of two bowhead whales that date back 8,000 years. On the way to the launch you may encounter muskoxen, snow geese, jaegers, arctic fox, sandpipers and rough-legged hawks.

Savor a picnic lunch on the beach, beside the river, as the staff and guides prepare the rafts. Return to the lodge by raft on the swift-flowing, crystal-clear water of the gentle rapids. The views are amazing and include steep canyon walls that at one point make a 180-degree turn Tonight, enjoy your farewell dinner and evening at Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge.

Day 7 Depart Arctic Watch Lodge

  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Bid a fond farewell to the lodge team and the High Arctic. You may have time to take advantage of one last activity before leaving on the charter flight. In the late afternoon, the plane arrives for the return flight back to Yellowknife. Upon arrival in Yellowknife transfer to the included hotel.

Day 8 Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

  • 1 Breakfast
After breakfast and boot return you can make your way home at your leisure or spend some more time in the Yellowknife area.

Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge

Per person starting at
$7,495

Notes

Select a Date
Please add 5% GST for Canadians and 2.5% for non-Canadians, from Yellowknife, NT, Canada. Any two consecutive weeks for $11,990 per person plus 5% GST

The mandatory two-night transfer package from Yellowknife includes: Hotel shuttle transfers on arrival and departure between airport and hotel in Yellowknife *Pre-expedition hotel night in Yellowknife and breakfast *Group transfer to and from charter flight to Arctic Watch lodge *Charter flight from Yellowknife to Arctic Watch lodge (return)*Group transfers to and from hotel to Charter flight *Post-expedition hotel night in Yellowknife and breakfast.

Waterproof expedition boots are available on loan. Included in your fare is an expedition parka to keep.

Included

  • 7 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 7 Dinners
  • 7 Nights Accommodations
    • 2 Nights Hotel
    • 5 Nights Lodge
  • 8 Days Private Guide Service
  • Gear Rental
  • Arctic Watch Activities

Excluded

  • Internal Flights
    • $1,690 (2017) mandatory transfer package
    • $1,795 (2018) mandatory transfer package
    • Flight cost is subject to change
  • International Flights

Recommended Budgeting

  • $895 Optional Excursions
    • Beechey Island Excursion
Payment & Cancellation Policies
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Kassandra Miller
Kassandra M

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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

When to Go

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
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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