Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
The Hulahula River rafting trip is always an adventure. Beginning near the continental divide in the northern portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and ending in the controversial “1002” area on the inspiring coastal plain. While rafting down the Hulahula river is exciting in itself there will be opportunities to experience the largest mountains in the refuge, Mt Michelson (8855 ft.) and Mt. Chamberlin (9029 ft.), wildlife viewing, hiking opportunities, photography and simply enjoying the land of the midnight sun.
The river is fast and challenging with multiple braided channels and rocky rapids, dropping 2300 feet over 100 miles. Everyone could in the fun of paddling or rowing the boats around rocks and shallow spots under the guidance of a raft guide. Previous paddle raft experience is not necessary, but participants should be in good health and comfortable being around fast moving water.
A relaxed pace on this trip gives you several layover days, allowing your group time to hike away from the river. Gaining elevation on the ridges lends a new perspective on our surroundings; the snow capped peaks of the Brooks Range stretch as far as the eye can see. Spring wildflowers; the white mountain heather, purple-mountain saxifrage and the brilliant blue forget-me-nots delight us in their “rock garden” settings along our route.
The Hulahula River flows through the area near the coast that is being considered for oil exploration and development. This fragile ecosystem, often referred to as the Arctic coastal plain, is important habitat for caribou and musk oxen as well as nesting habitat for snow geese, swans, and scores of other waterfowl. you are likely to see these and other birds and mammals on the Hulahula.
Decisions made over the next few years may affect the Hulahula River and the wildlife populations of this section of the refuge. Presently, the area has much to offer in terms of a remote wilderness experience; opportunities to view wildlife, excellent hiking in its rugged untouched mountains and exciting whitewater.