Spend a week at this unique Canadian Arctic wilderness lodge and world-class beluga whale observation site. Situated 500 miles north of the Arctic Circle, the lodge offers fully-guided opportunities for hiking, kayaking, and exploring the Arctic tundra in all-terrain vehicles (ATVs). Observe muskox, polar bears and more wildlife in their natural habitat and enjoy comfortable accommodations and superb food, all accessible within a short flight from Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, to Somerset Island in Nunavut, Canada.
Hiking is a great way to appreciate the immense windswept landscapes of the Arctic. The tundra comes alive during the brief Arctic summer, with bursts of color from the shrubs and plants that eke out a living in this polar environment. You’ll find each hike is different - exploring shorelines or landscapes, often on the lookout for wildlife. Hiking participation is optional and your Expedition Team will advise you of what you can expect prior to each excursion.
Typically lasting two to three hours, guests will travel by raft on a river excursion. The Cunningham River is swift-flowing, crystal-clear water with no difficult sections or rapids. Guests are given a hands-on introduction to rafting prior to departing, and no previous experience is required.
A great way to better explore the terrain of Somerset Island is by all-terrain vehicle. Guests receive a hands-on introduction to driving ATVs, which are easy and fun to operate. Helmets are provided.
Led by experienced kayak guides, guests will paddle among icebergs, on the watch for ring and bearded seals and beluga whales. Sightings of sea birds, including Arctic terns and eider ducks, can be expected. All equipment and basic instructions are provided.
Guests have the opportunity to try “catch-and-release” fishing for Arctic char at Innukshuk Lake. Fly fishing is also welcome and guests are free to bring their preferred gear. Fishing equipment and gear is supplied, and spinning equipment is also available.
POSSIBLE LANDINGS AND WILDLIFE SIGHTINGS
Every summer, this sheltered inlet is home to about 2000 beluga whales who pass through the Cunningham River estuary on Somerset Island, Nunavut. Arctic Watch Lodge is located within walking distance of this cluster of whale activity, and we will be able to view them enjoying the warmth of the river water and socializing.
A hike from the lodge brings you to a five-story torrent of free-falling water. Here you can see nesting peregrine falcons and other birds such as loons, snow buntings, sandpipers and rough-legged hawks.
MUSKOX RIDGE TRAIL
The trail provides a scenic overview of the entire Cunningham River delta. Here you will see an Arctic fox den and are very likely to encounter muskox herds.
Located two hours from the lodge by ATV, at Inukshuk Lake you can fish for Arctic Char as part of the lodge’s catch and release program.
Here you can view the Somerset Island canyons, formed as the result of shifting fault lines. Their most vertical walls vary in height from 200 to 1,000 feet. Keep your eyes open for fossils of prehistoric plants and animals.
Named by Arctic Watch owners Richard Weber and Josée Auclair, Gull Canyon shows the striking biological contrasts between barren canyon and lush gull rookery.
A trip to Cape Anne includes seeing scenic vistas, icebergs, ancient Thule campsites and giant prehistoric whale bones. The Thule were a culture of bowhead whale hunters, and ancestors of today’s modern Inuit. The Cape Anne Thule site is the largest in the area and includes the remains of 15 stone and bone houses.