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Belugas in Cunningham River & Guests near Arctic Watch

Arctic Watch Discovery Experience

Example 10 Day Tour
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Spend a week exploring the Canadian Arctic at this unique wilderness lodge and world-class beluga whale observation site on Somerset Island in Nunavut, Canada. Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge is 800 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle. Arctic Watch is an unrivaled destination for the adventurous, home to polar bears, muskoxen, arctic foxes, and a world-class beluga whale nursery. We provide fully guided adventures in Canada's far north, including wildlife photography, riding and trekking on the frozen Arctic seas and tundra, and sea kayaking beside beluga whales. Our wilderness resort is the world's most northerly fly-in lodge, located on the ancient Northwest Passage. Arctic Watch is a one-of-a-kind trip for people wanting a once-in-a-lifetime experience, with gourmet meals and comfortable lodging at 74° north.
A beluga rubbing in the sandBelugas frolicking in Cunningham InletCunningham InletATV excursionExploring the sea ice on the Northwest Passage at Arctic WatchExploring the sea ice of the Northwest PassageA herd of Muskoxen on Somerset IslandMuskoxen ruttingBiking on the tundraHiking on the Northwest Passage sea iceCunningham River LandscapesHike in CanyonsExploring the Northwest Passage sea iceSea kayaking on the Northwest Passage with belugasBeluga whales & guestsPaddle boarding on the Cunningham RiverHiking on the Cunningham RiverExploring the tundra via ATV a polar bear skullExploring the tundra by ATVView the abundant wildlife of the Arctic at Arctic WatchEnjoy great fishing during your stay at Arctic WatchBelugas in Cunningham River & Guests near Arctic Watch
  • Encounter rarely seen arctic wildlife: polar bears, muskoxen, and more
  • Visit the Cunningham River estuary, seasonal home to 100s of beluga whales
  • Enjoy ATVs, a Mercedes Unimog, kayaking, rafting, fishing, and hiking
  • Visit Cape Anne Thule sites with ancient stone and bone houses
  • Delight in unique photography opportunities
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

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.

Day 3: Arctic Watch Lodge - Somerset Island, Nunavut

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 Cunningham Estuary to watch beluga whales. Archaeological sites and artifacts dating to Viking contact can be seen along Somerset’s coastline. Enjoy a delicious lunch buffet back at the lodge before departing for a short afternoon hike to the Triple Waterfalls. This short 5km roundtrip hike gives you an introduction to the plants and animals that live in the area. Encounters with muskox are common.

Day 4: Cunningham River Delta

Travel by ATV across the Cunningham River delta, to Muskox Ridge. This scenic trail provides spectacular views of the area and is a great vantage point from which to see muskoxen and arctic foxes. From the high ridge, hike down into one of the many depressions where muskoxen often spend the summer months foraging. After a picnic lunch at Inukshuk Lake, fishing gear will be supplied to catch-and-release arctic char. Head back to the lodge along the River Trail keeping an eye out for birds such as snowy owls, jaegers, rough-legged hawks and more. After dinner, an informal lecture by Richard Weber on his North Pole expeditions - highlighting his historic (and unrepeated) 1995 unassisted journey -will be offered.

A human powered option is also offered for guests - use electric bikes to explore the tundra with your guide.

Day 5: Kayak Cunningham Inlet

Sea kayak the gin-clear water of Cunningham Inlet while enjoying views of Gifford Point in the distance. Watch for beluga whales passing by your boat as they travel between the open water of the Northwest Passage and the mouth of the Cunningham River. Hop out on the other side of the inlet at Kayak Falls with stunning views of the Northwest Passage, and (with luck!) spot polar bear. After dinner, an informal lecture by Nansen Weber on wildlife photography will be offered.

Day 6: Somerset Island Canyons

Travel by Mercedes Unimog to the east side of Cunningham Inlet where a number of unnamed canyons offer great hiking opportunities. The afternoon will be spent at the estuary to watch the beluga whales play in the freshwater as it spills into the Arctic Ocean. Packing into the turquoise waters of the sheltered bay, they can be seen splashing and gurgling as they rub themselves on the river stones. This particular spot is renowned because of the density of the whale population and their proximity to the shore.

Day 7: Cape Anne

Enjoy the views of the Northwest Passage from passenger seat of the four-seater all terrain vehicles. Driving along the west shore of the inlet, stop at historic 1,000 year-old Thule sites situated along the coast and learn more about the rich history of the area. Turning west at Polar Bear Point, look for wildlife as we drive along the Northwest Passage. A short hike to Nansen’s ridge offers incredible views across the passage and showcases the characteristic Arctic landscape.

Day 8: Raft Cunningham River

Climb into the all-terrain Mercedes Unimog truck and head to the raft put-in on the Cunningham River. Hike the last stretch through the Badlands, a unique landscape with ancient 8,000-year-old bowhead whale skeletons exposed on the tundra. The area is inhabited by muskox, snow geese and arctic foxes. Savour a picnic lunch by the river as the team prepares the rafts, kayaks and/or standup paddle-boards for the two to three hour return to Arctic Watch. Leisurely paddle as the river narrows into a towering canyon, eventually opening up again into the braided flats in front of the lodge. Upon the return, it’s the final dinner of the adventure. In the evening take the polar plunge!

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
Guest Room
Lodge Room

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As per Canadian Law, all quoted rates are GST applicable at 5%. Prices are in Canadian currency.
  • 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
  • Gear Rental
  • Arctic Watch Activities
  • Charter flight between Yellowknife and Arctic Watch
  • 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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Our guide and driver were very good with their knowledge and were very helpful with our questions. It was a very pleasant visit that would have been impossible to do on our own. Hotels and restaurants were fantastic. The special places we got to go to, like the kitchens, were great. Enjoyed the entire trip!
Meyer Smolen

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