Rafting in the Canadian Arctic
Active Travel

Canada: Arctic Wilderness Lodge

Rafting in the Canadian Arctic

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Canada: Arctic Wilderness Lodge

Arctic Adventure Activities

Looking for an active adventure? During this distinct Canadian adventure, you experience Arctic safaris, raft the Cunningham River, sea kayak with hundreds of beluga whales, hike the tundra, spot polar bears roaming the Northwest Passage, investigate the mysterious Thule ruins crafted from giant whale bones, fish for Arctic char and more. Led by experienced kayak guides, guests will paddle among icebergs, on the watch for ring and bearded seals and beluga whales. Sightings of sea birds, including arctic terns and eider ducks, can be expected.

Discover Arctic Wildlife

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.

Spend a week at this unique 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 (ATVs). Constructed and opened in 1992, the Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge is located in Cunningham Inlet, on Somerset Island, in Nunavut, Canada’s largest and newest territory, which formally came into being in 1999. Arctic Watch offers a range of unique adventure travel experiences. 



Daily Itinerary

Canada Arctic Wilderness Itinerary

  • Day
    1

    Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

    Enjoy an included night in Yellowknife and meeting your fellow travelers.

  • Day
    2

    Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

    We’ll meet early in the morning to board our private chartered plane to fly the 1,000 miles to the Arctic Watch Lodge.

    canadian arctic photos plane
  • Day
    3

    Arctic Watch Lodge, Summerset Island

    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 drive. Later, we may take a short hike to the Cunningham River estuary to watch beluga whales frolic in the shallow water only a few yards offshore, followed by a wonderful buffet lunch. Enjoy 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, snow buntings, sandpipers and rough-legged hawks. Exploring the canyon introduces you to the delicate beauty of wild Arctic flowers. Encounters with muskox are common. After a hearty 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 centre contains collections of local fossils, skeletal remains of Arctic fauna, and a collection of traditional Inuit clothing from Canada, Greenland and Siberia

  • Day
    4

    Arctic Watch Lodge

    Today we 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 we’ll see muskox and pass by an impressive Arctic fox den where you may have the opportunity to watch fox cubs at play. Following a picnic lunch at our shelter at Inukshuk Lake, we’ll supply gear for those who would like to take the opportunity to “catch-and-release” fish for Arctic char. In the evening after dinner, we’ll have an informal lecture.

  • Day
    5

    Arctic Watch Lodge

    Today we may attempt to 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 a lunch served along the shoreline, we’ll take a short hike to explore a local canyon aptly named “Kayak Falls.” From there we’ll have stunning views of the Northwest Passage and the opportunity to see polar bears. In the afternoon, we’ll return to the Cunningham River estuary to watch the beluga whales. This site is unique the world over because of the density of the whale population and their proximity to our lodge. Standing on the river banks, you’ll be able to see the beluga whales frolic in the shallow water and be close enough to hear their calls. Guides will use our hydrophones so that you can also hear their underwater calls. In the evening, following a delicious dinner, we’ll have a lecture on the beluga research being conducted in Cunningham Inlet

    Canadian Arctic: Beluga whales
  • Day
    6

    Arctic Watch Lodge

    Today we’ll depart for a trip to Flatrock Falls, crossing the Cunningham River delta. There, you’ll have the option of hiking or travelling by Mercedes Unimog a (multi-purpose four-wheel drive truck). We’ll visit the Somerset Island canyons, formed as the result of shifting fault lines. You may also have the opportunity to observe nesting sites of local birds, including terns, plovers and snow geese. A picnic lunch is served directly on the flat rocks that surround this canyon. After lunch, we’ll travel to Gull Canyon, where you can see the striking biological contrasts between barren canyon and a lush gull rookery. The Canadian Wildlife Service recently visited and claimed this spot to be a unique and special ecosystem for the gull rookery and the presence of peregrine falcons. In the evening, Arctic Watch’s scientist- in-residence will give an informal lecture.

  • Day
    7

    Arctic Watch Lodge

    Today we’ll set out on ATVs to Cape Anne where we’ll 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, will give us incredible views of the place we’ve called home this week.

    Canadian Arctic: Polar Bear
  • Day
    8

    Arctic Watch Lodge

    The first leg of today’s journey will be by Mercedes Unimog truck. We’ll get to the Arctic Watch raft and kayak launch on the Cunningham River.

  • Day
    9

    Depart for Yellowknife

    Today, you’ll bid a fond farewell to the lodge team and the High Arctic. You may have time to take advantage of one last activity before we depart. In the late afternoon, the plane will arrive for the return flight back to Yellowknife. Upon arrival in Yellowknife you will be transferred to your included hotel.

  • Day
    10

    Yellowknife

    Today you can make your way home at your leisure or spend some more time in the Yellowknife area.

Accommodations

Arctic Wilderness Lodge

Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge

Located 500 miles north of the Arctic Circle and 50 miles from the nearest town, Arctic Watch is a permanent wilderness resort that offers hotel-like accommodations in a remote Arctic setting. It’s the most northerly fly-in lodge in the world and offers a level of accommodation that’s the equivalent to that of a five-star hotel in Nunavut. Our guests experience the beauty and wonder of this fabulous place, while enjoying the comforts of home and delicious meals.

Every night, our guests receive hot-water bottles to take with them as they bed down under thick duvets that keep them cozy and warm through the Arctic night. Water comes from the Cunningham River. It’s fully potable and is pumped daily into a holding tank on a hill above the lodge. Gravity ensures that fresh water is delivered to the lodge and cabins 24 hours a day.

Guest on this Arctic adventure tour enjoy Canadian gourmet fare with local dining experiences such as Arctic char sashimi, Baffin Bay turbot and more - Arctic Watch guests feast on the same fresh, chef-prepared fine cuisine you're just as likely to find in the best urban restaurants yet with northern flare. All our dining experiences are made from scratch: homemade European-style breads baked fresh daily, homemade yogurts, ice creams, organic Canadian meats, Ontario fruit and more. 

Call 800.234.9620
Duration
10 Days, 9 Nights
Trip Type
Travel Style

Trip Highlights

  • Encounter rarely seen and iconic Arctic wildlife & their habitats: polar bears, muskoxen, ringed seals, bird cliffs, fox dens & more.
  • Visit the Cunningham River estuary, seasonal home to hundreds of beluga whales.
  • Explore the area aboard all-terrain vehicles, a Mercedes Unimog, kayaks, rafts & while fishing & hiking.
  • Visit Cape Anne Thule sites with ancient stone & bone houses.