12 Days Ultimate Arctic Expedition (Land)

12 Days Ultimate Arctic Expedition (Land)


In a single trip you’ll have the once in a lifetime opportunity to visit both Arctic Watch and Arctic Haven. This exclusive adventure encompasses the best of what the Arctic has to offer from the midnight sun to the spectacular Northern Lights.


First stop: Arctic Watch nestled along the shores of the Northwest Passage on Somerset Island. It’s a photographer’s paradise with belugas whales, polar bear, muskox, and more; go rafting, paddle boarding or kayaking on the Cunningham River; visit archaeological sites, spectacular waterfalls and canyons; bike the tundra; and fish for arctic char.


Second stop: Arctic Haven on the shores of Ennadai Lake in the Barren Grounds. The lodge is on the path of one of the last great caribou migrations, so the chances of a close encounter with a caribou is high. Hike and see the unique and stunning flora and fauna of a treeline environment and its wildlife - bears, wolves, wolverines, and eagles. And experience some of the best fishing in the Arctic - grayling, northern pike and lake trout. Enjoy the landscape and animals from the sky with a helicopter safari of Ennadai and its surrounding area.

  • In the wild and unpredictable Arctic, weather patterns and wildlife can disrupt even the best-laid plans. All of our itineraries are ‘suggested’– we strive to ensure your visit to Arctic Watch is a trip of a lifetime and showcases the variety of activities and sights Arctic Watch has to offer. Each day’s activities take into consideration the dynamic environment we operate within and may not always reflect the suggested itinerary outlined below.


    Arrival Instructions

    We recommend guests arrange their flights to arrive the day before the private charter departs for Arctic Watch. If you need a hotel suggestion, we recommend the Explorer Hotel.


    Day 1

    Fly to Yellowknife, the capital of Canada’s Northwest Territories and take in the sights and gather any last minute gear that may have been forgotten.


    Day 2 

    After breakfast, depart Yellowknife on a private charter for the 3-hour flight to Arctic Watch. Guests will land in the Arctic later that afternoon. After an introduction to the lodge and the surrounding landscape by the Arctic Watch team, guests will have time settle into their cabins. Before dinner is served, a short hike up to the local mountain is offered; breathtaking views of the Northwest Passage and ice formations on the Arctic ocean.


    Day 3

    ATVs are our most practical form of transportation to cover long distances on the tundra. Attend a hands-on introduction to all-terrain vehicles followed by a short drive to the Cunningham Estuary to watch beluga whales. The coastal area of Somerset has a unique history; archaeological sites dating to viking contact can be seen. Enjoy a delicious lunch buffet back at the lodge before departing for a short afternoon hike to the Triple Waterfalls. This short 5km roundtrip hike gives you an introduction to the plants and animals that live in the area. Encounters with muskox are common.


    Day 4

    Travel by ATV across the Cunningham River delta, to Muskox Ridge. This scenic trail provides spectacular views of the area and is a great vantage point from which to see muskoxen and arctic foxes. From the high ridge, hike down into one of the many depressions where muskoxen often spend the summer months foraging. After a picnic lunch at Inukshuk Lake, fishing gear will supplied to catch-and-release arctic char. Head back to the lodge along the River Trail keeping an eye out for birds such as snowy owls, jaegers, rough-legged hawks and more. After dinner, an informal lecture by Richard Weber on his North Pole expeditions - highlighting his historic (and unrepeated) 1995 unassisted journey -will be offered.


    Day 5

    Sea kayak the gin-clear water of Cunningham Inlet while enjoying views of Gifford Point in the distance. Watch for beluga whales passing by your boat as they travel between the open water of the Northwest Passage and the mouth of the Cunningham River. Hop out on the other side of the inlet at Kayak Falls and take a short hike to explore the small canyon.


    Day 6

    Hike across the Badlands of Somerset - a preserved ocean floor, 10 km from the sea - with 8,000 year-old whale bones and shells. See muskox, arctic fox and snowy owls. This time of year the muskox begin to rut - so have your cameras ready. The hike will conclude at the Cunningham River raft launch followed by lunch on the beach. Then there is a choice to kayak, paddle board or raft back down stream on the the river through the canyons back to Arctic Watch Lodge. After dinner there’s a traditional Inuit games workshop.


    Day 7

    Time to make the move south from the High Arctic to the treeline and Arctic Haven. Departure time is midday, with a stopover to stretch our legs and refuel in Baker Lake, Nunavut - the calving grounds of the Qamanirjuaq caribou. The nomadic Inuit that once lived long the shores of Ennadai, now live in the community of Baker Lake. We will visit the town and local community centre before re-boarding for the final leg. Arriving in the early evening, guests will meet the Arctic Haven team and settle into their rooms before dinner. Afterwards there will be the opportunity to unwind in the wood fired sauna by the lake and take in the Northern Lights.


    Day 8

    Breakfast is served daily at 8:30 am. A water safety briefing will be given prior to going out on Ennadai Lake. Head to the northern reaches of the lake, above the tree-line where the numerous islands are used by migratory wildlife - search for the Qamanirjuaq caribou, wolves, and wolverines. The photo opportunities are unparalleled so be sure to bring your camera. Enjoy a picnic lunch on the beach. Spend the afternoon cruising around the islands and going on short hikes to get a closer look at these majestic animals. Visit archaeological sites where the Ahiarmiut in the area have camped for hundreds of years. Return to the lodge for a gourmet meal, and an informal lecture by Richard Weber on his North Pole expeditions - highlighting his historic (and unrepeated) 1995 unassisted journey. There will be the opportunity to unwind in the wood fired sauna and take in the Northern Lights.


    Day 9

    An active day of fat biking along the expansive western esker is a great option for a clear sunny day. A quick helicopter ride will drop you off on top of a long reaching esker from where you will start your bike ride. Eskers are formed by glacial deposition which, after the retreat of the last ice age, left long winding trails of sand. Sitting above the marshy tundra, eskers offer a great vantage point of the surrounding scenery and wildlife. Well drained due to their elevation and sandy composition, eskers are not only perfect for hiking and biking but also a popular location for animals to den. Returning to the lodge by boat, guests will enjoy the final evening’s gourmet meal. For those wishing to sea kayak - we also offer the option to kayak amongst the caribou islands on Ennadai Lake. A small series of islands used by caribou to migrate south, the sea kayak excursion is often an excellent place to observe wildlife! Afterwards, your host Josée Auclair will give an informal workshop on local edible tundra sourced items.


    Day 10

    Guests are invited to join us as we explore the tundra via helicopter - it’s the ultimate way to experience the wildlife and stunning landscapes. Stop to hike or fly fish along the way. Helicopter flight time is included in this adventure but additional time can also be purchased at Arctic Haven. After dinner there will be a presentation on the Ahiarmiut or “people of the deer” - the Inuit who lived on the shores of Ennadai until the 1950’s.


    Day 11

    For those interested in experiencing the thrill of landing a grayling on the end of their line, Epic Creek offers amazing fishing and is only accessible by helicopter. Grayling are not only stunning fish, with an impressive dorsal fin, but are also tenacious fighters and highly sought after by anglers. Small but mighty, these energetic fish are known to put up a hard fight. With a pickup and drop-off by helicopter, fishermen can enjoy a full day casting into the steady and even current of the small arctic stream. After a freshly caught fish fry lunch and a full day outdoors, an informal evening presentation on the Mythology and Folklore of the Northern Lights will be given - it is inspired by stories from around the world about the Aurora Borealis.


    Day 12

    By now, guests are familiar with the area, and can opt to do an activity that they missed or would like to repeat. It is possible to kayak, hike bike or fish. It’s an afternoon departure for Yellowknife on the first leg of your return flight home.