Into the Canadian Arctic Wild

We journey to the far Northwest territories to be immersed in the pristine nature and extraordinary wilderness at the Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge - home to perhaps the most incredible population of beluga whales, a healthy population of polar bears, musk ox and more. Here, we combine wildlife appreciation with adventures and lots of it in true Canadian style. 

HIGHLIGHTS

Encounter rarely-seen iconic Arctic wildlife

Visit the Cunningham River estuary - seasonal home to beluga whales

Get active and adventurous with a range of activities in Arctic pursuits

Visit Cape Anne Thule sites with ancient stone and bone houses

ITINERARY

DAY 1: ARRIVE YELLOWKNIFE

Arrive into Yellowknife today and meet your fellow travellers for a welcome expedition briefing and rest and relax at leisure. 

Overnight: The Explorer Hotel, Yellowknife

Meals: NIL

DAY 2: YELLOWKNIFE / ARCTIC WATCH WILDERNESS LODGE

Today, we board our private-chartered plane to fly the 1,000 miles to the Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge. During the 4.5 hours flight, you will pass the treeline as you cross the Arctic Circle. Following a refueling stop in Cambridge Bay, you will circle the Cunningham Inlet where you may admire the aerial views of the lodge below, before landing on the private airstrip on Somerset Island. A half mile walk across the tundra and a 100m raft ride across the Cunningham River brings you to the Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge where you will be warmly received and introduced to the facilities and a briefing of the activities. 

Overnight: Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge

Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

DAY 3: ARCTIC WATCH WILDERNESS LODGE

After breakfast, a typical first morning at the lodge may include an introduction to driving all terrain vehicles. Later, we 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 storey 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 this canyon introduces you to the delicate beauty of wild arctic flowers and encounters with musk oxen are common.

Overnight: Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 4: ARCTIC WATCH WILDERNESS LODGE

After a full breakfast, you will travel ATV, crossing the Cunningham River delta and driving along the Muskox Ridge Trail, which provides a scenic overview of the entire area. It is very likely you will see musk oxen 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, try your hand perhaps at catching and releasing Arctic char. Returning on ATVs, the tour takes an alternate route via the River Trail, so you can view hoodoos and local coal deposits. 

Overnight: Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner 

DAY 5: ARCTIC WATCH WILDERNESS LODGE

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, you will take a short hike to explore a local canyon aptly named Kayak Falls. From there, you will enjoy stunning views of the Northwest Passage and the opportunity to see polar bears. In the afternoon, we return to the Cunningham River estuary, a beluga whale migration site - unique for its density of beluga population and proximity to the lodge. 

Overnight: Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner 

DAY 6: ARCTIC WATCH WILDERNESS LODGE

Following breakfast, you will depart for a trip to Flatrock Falls, crossing the Cunningham River delta. Once there, you have the option of hiking or travel by Mercedes Unimog four wheel drive truck to visit the Somerset Island canyons, formed as a result of shifting fault lines where its steep walls vary from 60 to 300m high. It is here we can admire a variety of fascinating birdlife and the perfect place to serve an alfresco lunch on the flat rocks surrounding the canyon. After lunch, we travel to Gull Canyon to see the striking colour 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. 

Overnight: Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner 

DAY 7: ARCTIC WATCH WILDERNESS LODGE

Today, you will head out on an ATV to Cape Anne, where you will visit some Thule sites along the coast and look for polar bears. The Thule people were bowhead whale hunters, ancestors of today's modern Inuit. The ride showcases 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 overland trip via the Red Valley will give us incredible views of the place we have called home this week. 

Overnight: Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner 

DAY 8: ARCTIC WATCH WILDERNESS LODGE

Today's full day rafting adventure will begin after breakfast with a Mercedes Unimog truck ride to the Arctic Watch raft launch on the Cunningham River where you may opt to hike the final 6km 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 and more animals. Savour a picnic lunch on the beach, beside the river and after lunch, return to the lodge by raft on the swift-flowing, crystal clear water of the gentle rapids. 

Overnight: Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner 

DAY 9: ARCTIC WATCH WILDERNESS LODGE / YELLOWKNIFE

We bid farewell today to the lodge team and the high Canadian Arctic. Later, we board our flight return to Yellowknife where you may continue your onward journey home or continue your adventures in Canada. 

Meals: Breakfast & Lunch

HOTELS

Boasting an onsite restaurant and bar, The Explorer Hotel is just 5km from Yellowknife Airport. Rooms are simple and well-appointed and offers a relaxing stay and an ideal base before and after your adventures in the Northwest Passage. 

The Explorer Hotel, Yellowknife

Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge is a Nunavut resort, located 500 miles north of the Arctic Circle. Situated on the shores of the Northwest Passage, Arctic Watch is a world-class beluga whale observation site that offers access to hiking, kayaking, Arctic safaris with muskox, polar bears, belugas and more. 

Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge

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