The Brooks Range and Wildlife of Alaska's North Slope
September 2-9, 2023
$5,800 per person
August 31 - September 7, 2023
Starts and Ends in Fairbanks, Alaska
This workshop is limited to 6 participants.
About the Trip
Get ready for an experience of a lifetime! The Brooks Range and Wildlife of Alaska's North Slope is an itinerary set for the adventurous.
The Brooks Range is one of the largest uninhabited regions in Alaska and is the furthest north extent of the Rocky Mountains. This 126 million-year-old mountain range lies above the Artic Circle and extends 700 miles from east to west. While we won't see all of the range, we'll still get great views of this breathtaking wilderness.
We'll be on the periphery where the greatest mammal migrations occur annually. Here, vast herds of caribou and muskox range. Each year, hundreds of thousands of caribou migrate from their summer range to their winter haunts. In addition to the big mammals on Alaska's North Slope, ptarmigan, arctic fox, Dall sheep, and the occasional wolf or grizzly bear is also possible.
Since summer is passed by the first of September, fall colors should be in full swing. With the length of the nights roughly the same as the length of the day, aurora viewing ought to be getting good. Add to the whole itinerary a trip to the Arctic Ocean, a plane ride to the Gates of the Arctic National Park, and plenty of good photography and fellowship, this trip is a "can't miss."
The Brooks Range and Wildlife of Alaska's North Slope trip is truly one that will take us to the end of the road and into some of North America's most wild places. Since it is a vehicle-based excursion, there'll be minimal hiking. In addition, since we'll be off the beaten path, every room is double occupancy.
Ready for an adventure? Read on for the full itinerary.
We'll meet on the first evening at 5pm at our headquarters hotel in Fairbanks. You'll get an overview of the trip at the orientation meeting and meet your fellow travelers! After this brief orientation, we'll head to supper. Then if the conditions allow, we'll go out and hunt for the aurora borealis.
On day one, we'll head north, searching for incredible scenery and wildlife. Our journey will take us along the fabled Haul Road you've undoubtedly seen on shows like Ice Road Truckers. Along the way to our destination in Coldfoot, Alaska, we'll see notable sites such as the Yukon River, Finger Mountain, and the Arctic Circle. Along the way, we'll be looking for moose, caribou, and other species of Alaskan wildlife.
After our travels, we'll check into our lodging in Coldfoot before heading out for another adventure.
We'll head out at night to look for the Northern Lights if conditions are ripe. Above the Arctic Circle, you'll have a unique opportunity to photograph the heart of the auroral circle. Instead of the aurora being on the horizon, it will often be straight overhead.
Day two finds us traveling north from Coldfoot deeper down the Haul Road. We'll head to Atigun Pass and the Brooks Range, where we'll photograph one of Alaska's most majestic mountain ranges. It's a long day out, so we'll eat lunch in the field while we look for caribou, musk ox, and arctic fox. At the day's end, we'll travel back to Coldfoot for supper and another shot at the aurora borealis.
Come day three, we're back on the Haul Road, headed deeper into the Arctic landscapes. We'll explore more of the Brooks Range and in to Alaska's North Slope. Today is mainly a repeat of the day before but it will give us additional chances of seeing wildlife.
While this trip is long and we've covered some miles, the adventures is just getting started. Today we'll take charter flights over to the Gates of the Arctic National Park and explore one of the nation's lesser-known and least-visited national parks.
After a half day of flying, we'll head over and check out the old mining camp called Wiseman. Wiseman is the true old Alaska and we'll explore it in earnest.
As always, if the weather permits, we'll head out at night to photograph the Northern Lights.
We've had a busy week! Today, we'll make a slow launch from Coldfoot on our way back to Fairbanks. Along the way, we'll again shoot landscapes and look for wildlife. It's a long way back to Fairbanks but we'll make plenty of stops to photograph the stunning landscapes.
We'll also have more chances to photograph the Northern Lights. This time of the year, the water isn't yet frozen so we have the possibility of getting the aurora reflecting in open water.
Today, we'll strike a change of pace. Heading east of Fairbanks, we'll spend part of the day at Chena Hot Springs. Bring your bathing suit because this place is incredible. With a warm spring swimming pool, you can swim, explore the ice sculptures, and enjoy this unusual resort in the heart of the Alaskan wilderness. Along the way out here, we often see moose and an occasional lynx.
After supper, we'll head out at night to photograph the Northern Lights as they dance over some spectacular landscapes.
We've had a busy week! On the last morning of the trip, we'll we'll enjoy brunch and get ready for everyone's departure from Fairbanks.
*Topics and schedules are subject to change.
Recommended Gear List
Digital Mirrorless or DSLR Camera
Wide angle lens (i.e. 16-35mm)
Short telephoto (24-105mm)
Medium telephoto (70-200mm)
Large telephoto (400mm and above)
Waterproof cover for your camera
The temperature in Coldfoot, Alaska ranges from a low of around 35 degrees Fahrenheit to the mid-50s around the first week of September. In Prudhoe Bay, it ranges from 35-42 degrees Fahrenheit. The skies vary from clear half the time to overcast and light rain the rest. As such, I recommend dressing in layers to comfort. Those layers should include:
Wool or synthetic material socks that insulate when wet
Photography shooting gloves or mittens
Wool or synthetic material shirt that insulates when wet
Wool or synthetic material pants that insulate when wet
Rain jacket (if your top jacket isn't waterproof)
Sturdy, waterproof hunting-type boots
What else is included?
Lodging during the duration of the workshop
Meals during the workshop
Hands-on photography instruction
Transportation during the workshop
Gratuities for waitstaff and service providers
What's not included?
Transportation to and from Fairbanks, Alaska headquarters hotel
Personal snacks and refreshments
For whom is this trip designed?
Anyone with a love for nature photography! While it's best if you have some working knowledge of your camera and its settings, you definitely don't have to be a seasoned expert with your camera. Since it is a vehicle-based excursion, there'll be minimal hiking.
As such, all skill levels are welcome.
A Note on Lodging
Since we will be staying in remote locations, there is a chance that only room share is available.
Please feel free to send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
To reserve a spot for this workshop, a 50% deposit of the total cost is required by June 1, 2023. If booking within 30 days of the start of the trip, the total cost of the trip is required in order to make a reservation.
For payments, we accept Credit Card, Paypal, and Venmo.
If final payments are not received within 30 days of the start of the trip, we are allowed to consider your reservation canceled and can offer that spot to someone else.
If you do cancel, we require written notice in which cancellation fees in the following amounts
If canceled within 31 days or more prior to the start of the trip, the total cost of the deposit plus a $50 per person administrative fee.
If canceled within 30 days prior to departure - the total cost of the trip fee.
No partial refunds will be made for any reason for parts of the academy that are not used by the client, itinerary changes, or any unforeseen circumstances.
Russell Graves reserves the right to cancel a trip for any cause and is not responsible for any additional expenses incurred during the trip, such as medical expenses, clothing, equipment of any kind, etc.