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Sea kayak with beluga whales during your stay at Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge

Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge

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. Situated 500 miles (805 km) north of the Arctic Circle, the lodge offers guests fully guided opportunities for diverse adventure activities, and extraordinary polar photography thanks to 24 hours of daylight. Observe the elusive musk ox, polar bear and more wildlife in their natural habitat and enjoy comfortable accommodations and superb food, all accessible via a scenic flight from Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. 
Hike the pristine scenery at Arctic WatchRafting at Arctic WatchView herds of muskox during your stay at Arctic WatchA beluga whale breaks the surface by Arctic WatchTake a ATV ride across the Arctic tundra at Arctic Watch Wilderness LodgeEnjoy pristine fishing locationsBeluga migration at Arctic WatchAdmire the beluga whale from Arctic Watch Wilderness LodgeRaft the delta around Arctic WatchA beluga whale at Arctic Watch Wilderness LodgePristine Arctic wildflowersView polar bears during your stay at Arctic Watch Wilderness LodgeView the abundant wildlife of the Arctic at Arctic WatchExplore the Arctic with your family at Arctic WatchEnjoy great fishing during your stay at Arctic WatchAn Arctic fox wanders across the tundraView herds of muskox during your stay at Arctic WatchExplore the ice fields at Arctic WatchThe beautiful Arctic landscapeMuskox on the Arctic tundraBeautiful photographic opportunities await at Arctic WatchThe beautiul Arctic tundraRafting at Arctic WatchHike the Arctic terrain during your stay at Arctic WatchRaft the delta around Arctic WatchSea kayak with beluga whales during your stay at Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge
  • 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
Trip Type:
  • Independent
Activity Level: Relaxed

Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Arrive in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

  • 1 Dinner
Enjoy an included night in Yellowknife and meet your fellow travelers at a welcome expedition briefing, followed by boot and signature parka distribution.

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: Cunningham River Delta

  • Hotel
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
After a full breakfast, travel by ATV, crossing the Cunningham River delta and driving along the Muskox Ridge Trail, which provides a scenic overview of the entire area. It’s very likely that you see muskoxen and pass by an impressive arctic fox den, where you may have the opportunity to watch fox cubs at play.

Following an outdoor lunch at Inukshuk Lake, gear is provided for those who would like the opportunity to try catch-and-release fishing for arctic char. Returning on ATVs, the tour takes an alternate route via the River Trail, so you can view hoodoos (sculptured sand pillars) and local coal deposits. In the evening after dinner, enjoy an informal lecture.

Day 5: Kayak Cunningham Inlet

  • Hotel
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today, kayak in Cunningham Inlet. All equipment and basic instructions are provided. Paddle among icebergs, looking out for ring and bearded seals as well as beluga whales. Sightings of sea birds, including Arctic terns and eider ducks, can be expected. After lunch, take a short hike to explore a local canyon aptly named “Kayak Falls.” From there, have stunning views of the Northwest Passage and the opportunity to see polar bears.

In the afternoon, return to the Cunningham River estuary to watch the beluga whales. This site is unique because of the density of the whale population and their proximity to your lodge. Standing on the river banks, see the beluga whales frolic in the shallow water and be close enough to hear their calls. Guides use hydrophones so that you can also hear their underwater calls. In the evening, attend a lecture on the beluga research being conducted in Cunningham Inlet. 

Day 6: Somerset Island Canyons

  • Hotel
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today, depart for a trip to Flatrock Falls, crossing the Cunningham River delta. There, you have the option of hiking or travelling by Mercedes Unimog a (multi-purpose four-wheel drive truck). Visit the Somerset Island canyons, formed as the result of shifting fault lines. Observe nesting sites of local birds, including terns, plovers, and snow geese. 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 7: Cape Anne

  • Hotel
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Set out on ATVs to Cape Anne where you can visit five Thule sites all along the coast and look for polar bears. The Thule culture were bowhead whale hunters, ancestors of today’s modern Inuit. The ride includes scenic vistas, icebergs, ancient Inuit campsites, and giant prehistoric whale bones. The Cape Anne Thule site is the largest in the area and includes the remains of 15 stone and bone houses. Polar bears can often be seen on the shoreline, as they wander the coast, waiting for the ice to return. The return trip overland via the Red Valley gives you incredible views.

Day 8: 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 a farewell dinner and evening at Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge.

Day 9: Depart for Yellowknife

  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today, bid a fond farewell to the lodge team and the High Arctic. You may have time to take advantage of one last activity before you depart. In the late afternoon, the plane arrives for the return flight back to Yellowknife. Upon arrival in Yellowknife you are transferred to your included hotel.

Day 10: Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

  • 1 Breakfast
This morning, make your way home at your leisure or spend some more time in the Yellowknife area.


Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge

Relax at Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge
Arrive at Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge by comfortable private airplane

Dates & Prices

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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. An expedition parka is included in fare.
  • 7 Breakfasts, 8 Lunches, 7 Dinners
  • 7 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Professional, bilingual guide service as listed
  • Excursions and activities as listed
  • Coffee, Tea and Cocoa Available Around the Clock
  • Loan of Waterproof Boots for Landings
  • Expedition Parka 
  • Select Beer and Wine During Dinner
  • Snacks, Soft Drinks & Juices
  • Photographic Journal Documenting the Expedition
  • Emergency Evacuation Insurance to a Maximum Benefit of USD $500,000 Per Person
  • All Miscellaneous Service Taxes and Port Charges Throughout the Program
  • One Night Pre-Cruise Hotel
  • Arrival Transfer
  • Departure Transfer
  • Gear Rental
  • Arctic Watch Activities
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Laundry, bar, beverage and other personal charges unless specified
  • Internet & Phone Charges
  • Excess baggage charges
  • Mandatory Waterproof Pants for Zodiac Cruising & Any Other Gear Not Specifically Mentioned
  • International Flights
  • Optional Excursions - Beechy Island Excursion


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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The trip was terrific with great planning on your part. Most of the adventures were not mainstream and somewhat off the beaten path which made it especially enjoyable!! We felt taken care of and you all were readily available to respond to questions and issues. I would highly recommend your company and friends have already expressed interest based on our pictures and excitement.
Gale Cantor

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