Once you’ve booked your float trip, don’t delay in getting the rest of your travel arrangements made, particularly in Bethel or Coldfoot. Summer and fall are busy in Alaska, and lodging, car rentals and other travel services book up well in advance. Bethel and Coldfoot have more limited lodging options than you may be used to finding when traveling in the lower 48. Coldfoot in particular has only a single motel that rents rooms. You can find more travel planning details for your trip below.
Arriving for Your Trip: Please plan on being in either Bethel (for Aniak/Kisaralik trips) or Coldfoot (Kobuk trips) no later than the afternoon of the day before your scheduled trip departure. We will coordinate your arrival and transport to overnight lodging, and make sure that all of your gear is ready to go, and securely store any belongings you aren’t taking on the river.
Departing After Your Trip: Don’t plan on departing for home for at least 24 hours after your trip is scheduled to end. It’s a good idea to plan an extra day or two on the back end of your trip in case you are delayed getting back to civilization. If weather and air/water taxi schedules cooperate, you may be able to find an open seat on a commercial flight back to Anchorage or Fairbanks in the evening the same day you get off the river. However, if we have to spend an extra night on the river or in the hub town, having some extra time scheduled in can make adjusting your plans much less stressful. Don’t schedule that big job interview the day after your trip!
Aniak and Kisaralik Trips
Rendezvous Point: Bethel, AK
Bethel is the hub of western Alaska, and it will serve as our rendezvous point for your trip. Alaska Airlines and Ravn Alaska both offer regularly scheduled commercial flights from Anchorage to Bethel. You should plan on arriving in Bethel the day before your scheduled trip departure. Once you are on the ground in Bethel, pre-arranged transportation will take you to your overnight lodging. Travel from Bethel to the river, and back, is included in the cost of your float.
After your float trip is over, you will return to the air taxi operator’s base of operations, where you will have a chance to change clothes, repack gear, and start swapping stories. If we get back to Bethel early enough you may be able to catch an evening flight back to Anchorage. If not, we will arrange transport to your overnight lodging, as well as to the airport the next day.
Lodging in Bethel
The air taxi operator we use, Papa Bear Adventures, also offers lodging at their facility. If they don’t have any availability, or you want to venture further afield while in Bethel, our insider contacts recommend you start with the following B&B’s, then work down the list to the hotels if you need even more options.
B&B’s: Brown Slough B&B – http://bethelbnb.com
Old Mission House B&B – http://oldmissionhouse.net
Sleepy Salmon B&B – http://sleepysalmon.net
Hotels: Long House Hotel – http://www.longhousebethel.com
Suite 881 – http://www.suite881.net
Kobuk River Trips
The Kobuk River flows just above the Arctic Circle, along the southern foothills of the Brooks Range. Coldfoot, Alaska serves as our jumping off point to access the vast wilderness of the Kobuk region. Small by any standard, Coldfoot is a tiny community located approximately 230 miles north of Fairbanks on the Dalton Highway. Nestled on the southern edge of the Brooks Range, it offers an air strip, gas station/motel (Coldfoot Camp), and beautiful surroundings.
Rendezvous Point: Coldfoot, AK
Via Air: You’ll travel to Fairbanks on a commercial flight. There are a few direct flights into Fairbanks from the Lower 48, and lots of flight options from Anchorage. From Fairbanks, Wright Air offers daily scheduled service to Coldfoot through the summer months. For the 2019 season, rates were about $230 per person one way.
Via Car: Coldfoot is one of the furthest north road accessible communities in Alaska. Reachable in about 6 hours by vehicle from Fairbanks, driving up to Coldfoot offers a different kind of Alaskan adventure. Primarily utilized by big-rig trucks hauling materials to and from Prudhoe Bay on Alaska’s North Slope, the Dalton Highway offers an opportunity to see Alaska’s famous oil pipeline, drive across the only bridge over the Yukon River in Alaska, and see endless miles of Interior Alaska’s beautiful boreal forest. You can also practice your Formula1 driving skills dodging countless potholes.
Lodging in Coldfoot
Coldfoot Camp – Offers lodging at Slate Creek Inn, as well as breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the Trucker’s Cafe. And you can get a drink at the Frozen Foot Saloon.
Flying In Bush Alaska
Please note that weather conditions dictate whether we can fly to our put-in points. Flying in Alaska involves a certain level of risk, and that risk increases exponentially when weather conditions deteriorate. We contract with some of the most experienced bush pilots in Alaska, with proven track records of safe operation. If the pilots say we cannot fly, theirs is the final word on the matter. To counter potential trip disruptions due to weather, it is a good idea to plan an extra day or two on both ends of your trip. Having a bit of flexibility can make all the difference if a big storm rolls in the morning that you are scheduled to fly out to the river. And a delay in returning to civilization is also possible, so try to avoid scheduling that big job interview for the day you are supposed to arrive home.
In the event that a trip must be cancelled due to weather or other events beyond our control, trip deposits and fees are non-refundable, but they are transferrable to a future booking. Remote Waters is not responsible for extra costs that arise as a result of weather or other uncontrollable circumstances. We recommend that you consider purchasing travel insurance.
Luggage and Gear:
The float planes that transport you to and from the river have strict weight capacities that we must adhere to. Remote Waters provides the boats, tents, and other heavy camping and river gear, leaving you responsible to bring only your clothing, fishing gear, and personal items. You should aim to have 50 pounds or less of luggage to bring with you on the river. This will help ensure that we stay within the float plane weight limits, and leave room for extras like alcohol or soft drinks.
You should feel free to use whatever type of luggage you prefer to transport your belongings to Alaska. Once you arrive in Bethel, we will do a gear inventory to make sure that everyone has what they need to stay safe and comfortable, and then transfer your equipment to dry bags for use on the river. Luggage, town clothes, and any other items that you do not plan to take on the river can be stored securely at the air taxi facility.