The hike is a combination of varied terrains and landscapes, including tundra, alpine and subalpine, boreal forest, and all the transitional landscape zones along the way. Gates of the Arctic National Park is a fantastically diverse area.
Starting out on the Alatna River, a designated Wild and Scenic River, we traverse through the boreal forest, mixed black and white spruce forest, interspersed with a few small groves of hardwoods here and there.
Ascend through the transition zone where we backpack through dwarf birch and brushy willow to reach the high subalpine country. Here you enjoy those amazing views of this special landscape; simply jaw-dropping granite peaks towering above our camp that we move beneath in amazement.
Endless talus and moraine tell the story of the harsh arctic climate here. The hiking is not always easy. It is, however, incredibly rewarding and you’ll snap your camera incessantly. This landscape is simply beyond description. Browse the slideshow of Arrigetch Peaks Trip Photos below and see for yourself.
Massive granite spires and craggy pinnacles soar skyward around us. We’ll be sure to have a grand time walking the alpine valleys and passes, the basins and the meadows.
This area includes the three drainages of the high Arrigetch Peaks valley. You’ll also take a nice ridge hike for that bird’s eye perspective.
Is This A Match?
Who’s It For?
Some backpacking experience is required for this trip. The walking can be a little intimidating for novice hikers.
This is a longer backpacking tour with a minimum 8-10 days of backcountry time so you carry a heavy load. We basecamp in the peaks area itself, which helps mitigate that slightly. It’s still quite a slog to get you and your gear and food up there. And back down again.
You’ll want to have some tolerance for discomfort. Heavy loads, bugs, (at times) uneven footing, and lots and lots of boulder hopping up in the peaks area aren’t for everyone. But if this stuffsomething you’re comfortable with the Arrigetch Peaks backpacking trip offers you a remarkable experience.
Getting there. It takes time. Just getting to the Arrigetch Peaks involves quite a bit of travel even once you’re in Alaska. This is the primary driver of the trip cost.
Bushwhacking through muskeg. Most Alaskans I know rate muskeg the toughest of the various terrain challenges we experience here (followed immediately by sidehilling). Muskeg is slow going. And hard.
Boulder hopping in the high country. Hiking over rocks isn’t for everyone either. The talus and boulders in the valley known as Aquarius are pretty tough going even without your backpack on. Prepare yourself for a challenge.