PRIVATE & SMALL GROUP TOURS TO THE WORLD'S BEST DESTINATIONS
Three Amazing Alaskan Vacations To Choose From!
Summer Trips To Alaska
Grizzlies & Glaciers Tour
Winter Trips To Alaska
See The Northern Lights
Summer Trips To Alaska
Denali Discovery Adventure
Let’s Explore Alaska’s Far North Region!
The Far North Region of Alaska is located above the Arctic Circle. It encompasses the Arctic Circle, Alaska’s North Slope, and the Brooks Range. This sparsely populated region is an arctic wilderness, where caribou outnumber people! The Far North offers some of the best Alaska land tours to see the Northern Lights and to spot native wildlife like caribou, migratory birds, wolves, musk ox, Arctic foxes, and polar bears. You can also visit Athabascan, Inupiaq, and Nunamiut Eskimo villages, where the inhabitants live very much as the original inhabitants of this vast state did centuries ago.
Getting to the Far North is a bit of an adventure in and of itself – there is only one highway that links this vast, remote region to the rest of Alaska. The Dalton Highway, which is mostly unpaved, runs from Fairbank to Prudhoe Bay. When driving this route, visitors can see the 2,300-mile-long Yukon River or spot the Trans-Alaska Pipeline at several points. But if you really want to get into the interior of this region, you most likely will have to take a plane. Most destinations in the Far North are accessible by airplane, and Alaska Airlines offers jet service to major cities such as Barrow, Nome, and Kotzebue, while bush planes can be chartered for a fly-in to Bettles, Anaktuvuk Pass, national parks, and wildlife refuges.
Finding The Best Alaska Land Tours In The Far North
The Arctic region provides travelers with plenty of opportunities for rugged backcountry expeditions, off-the-beaten-track road trips, and unique cultural experiences. The best way to experience this region is to allow yourself enough time to get there and explore your surroundings. For that reason, many seasoned tour operators suggest a minimum of a 7 day Alaska Tour to the Far North. Why seven days? Not only is it an adventure to get to the Far North, but once you arrive there is so much to see and do that you want to have enough time to fit it all into your itinerary. Keep reading if you want to learn more about the best Alaska land tours in the Far North!
Alaska Winter Tours #1 – The Arctic Circle
The Arctic Circle sits at the northernmost fringe of the world. It stretches across three continents and is home to a number of natural phenomena, gorgeous sights, and cultural activities. Believe it or not, this frozen region draws thousands of visitors each year! Although you may think of Alaska winter tours when you think of the Far North, there is plenty of things to do year-round.
- View the Northern Lights
- Wildlife viewing, including whales and polar bears
- Mountain Climbing
- Glacier watching (from a cruise ship)
- Kayaking down an arctic river (for the more adventurous at heart)
Alaska Winter Tours #2 – Alaska’s North Slope
This area is located between the Arctic Ocean to the north and the Brooks Range mountains to the south. It is home to polar bears and whales, as well as some of the nation’s largest oil fields. The barren tundra is home to a scattering of Alaska Native communities, who endure below-freezing temperatures for months. One of the most interesting things about the North Slope is that the sun doesn’t set for 80 days in the summer and doesn’t rise for nearly 70 days in the winter. To visit this region of Alaska, you need to be a hardy soul!
One of the biggest attractions in the North Slope region is the city of Utqiagvik, which was formerly known as Barrow. This is the northernmost city in the nation and is named after the Inupiat people who populate the region. For visitors looking to get a glimpse of the true Alaska lifestyle and traditions not found in larger cities, this is a great place to visit. And if you take a 7 day Alaska tour to the North Slope, you can add a trip to Point Barrow, which is the most northern point in America and is located just 1,300 miles from the North Pole.
Alaska Winter Tours #3 – The Brooks Range
Some of the best Alaska tours are available to visitors with backcountry experience, who want an adventure in the Brooks Range. Backpacking in these isolated mountains or floating down unspoiled rivers are experiences that can’t be duplicated elsewhere! Visitors with significant wilderness experience can hire an air taxi to drop them off in a remote area for a one-of-a-kind outdoor adventure, while those with less experience can join a 7 day Alaska tour with an experienced guide to lead them on wildlife viewing, hiking, rafting, and fishing excursions.
Here are four fun facts about Alaska’s Brooks Range:
- The Brooks Range was named after Alaskan geologist Alfred Brooks.
- The mountains of the Brooks Range travel through several Alaska national parks and wildlife refuges.
- The Brooks Range is technically an extension of the Rocky Mountains.
- The Brooks Range is most famous for the hundreds of thousands of caribou that pass through the region in massive migratory herds. This makes it a popular destination for wildlife enthusiasts!
Alaska Winter Tours #4 – The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge straddles the eastern Brooks Range from the Arctic Coast to the taiga of the Porcupine River Valley. There are no roads in the Refuge, but visitors can hike in from the Atigun Pass. Most visitors arrive by air, however, from air services that fly out of Fairbanks, Fort Yukon, Kaktovik, Coldfood, or Deadhorse. So why is a trip to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge considered one of the best Alaska land tours?
- The ANWR is home to some of the most diverse wildlife in the far north! The refuge is home to 42 species of fish, 39 land mammals, 7 marine mammals, and more than 200 migratory and resident bird species.
- The refuge is home to one of the most important polar bear denning areas in the country.
- It is a critical calving area for the Porcupine caribou herd.
- The ANWR is split by the continental divide and features a vast, treeless tundra on the north side and a coastal plain on the south.
This is a perfect place for a 7 day Alaska tour. Many tour operators offer guided wilderness trips through the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge that include rafting or packrafting, backpacking, camping, wildlife viewing, photography excursions, and hiking.
Alaska Winter Tours #5 – Gates of the Arctic National Park
This remote park is only accessible via scheduled or chartered air service from surrounding cities. There are no roads, campgrounds, or designated hiking trails in the park. But for those who want to see grizzly bears, wolves, Dall sheep, moose, and wolverines, the park is a paradise! Avid fishermen flock to the park’s streams and lakes for grayling, Arctic char, and trout. And for those who want to hike this remote wilderness, you can follow trails made by the Western Arctic caribou herd – one of the largest in Alaska!
Gates of the Arctic National Park attracts mainly experienced backcountry travelers for float trips, backpacking treks, or hay hiking and fishing. Many visitors join guided trips that are offered in the summer and winter months. Alaska winter tours include dog mushing and cross-country skiing. However, a trip to this national park requires careful planning and advance reservations.
Alaska Winter Tours #6 - Kobuk Valley National Park
Kobuk Valley National Park is a 1.7-million-acre park that occupies the valley where the Kobuk River is hemmed in by the Baird and Waring Mountain Ranges. It is located 75 miles east of Kotzebue, and is on the migration route of the Western Arctic caribou herd. Visitors flock to the park to enjoy outdoor activities and see wildlife.
Things to do at Kobuk Valley National Park:
- Take a float trip down the Kobuk River through boreal forests filled with wildlife.
- Join one of the best Alaska land tours for guided backpacking, fishing, dog sledding, and hiking trips.
- Go solo for a backcountry hiking adventure in the mountains, to gain expansive views of the park from up high.
- Camp at the Great Kobuk Sand Dunes or Onion Portage, to catch a glimpse of the Western Arctic Caribou on their annual migration.
- Book a flightseeing tour to see the park’s sites and wildlife from the air.
No matter where you go in the Far North region of Alaska, you are sure to have a once-in-a-lifetime experience. This remote region is so vast and so out-of-the-way that it’s not for everyone. But if you are feeling adventurous and like to explore unusual places, taking one of the Alaska winter tours to the Arctic might just be for you!