Bike The Arctic

Bike The Arctic

The Arctic On Your Bike: Explore one of the most remote corners of the globe while tracking wildlife such as muskoxen and polar bears.

Bike The Arctic

Wildlife/Nature Sightseeing

  • 9 Nights
  • 2 dates available - View Dates

Price

$16,300.00CAD

Deposit

$2,900.00CAD



Bike The Arctic

Journey deeper into the Arctic. Limited to six guests. Your purpose built bike is your expedition cockpit and Arctic Watch is your basecamp. 800km north of the Arctic Circle, this human powered adventure will explore the frozen landscapes of the Northwest Passage floe edge as polar bears hunt seals and summer begins to grasp the polar landscapes. Bike the tundra in search of Muskoxen as the Arctic flora begins to bloom and life takes hold on the summer landscapes of Somerset Island. Equipped with a purpose built electric bike, daily excursions are fully guided and supported by the team at Weber Arctic. A special overnight campsite on the Arctic sea ice awaits - you'll be using the very same methods pioneered by the Weber Family over their 30+ year career of polar firsts to both the North and South Poles.

More on Arctic Watch: Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge is located on Somerset Island, Nunavut. Situated on the banks of the Cunningham River, where one of the largest beluga congregations in the world occurs, Arctic Watch is an off-the-grid basecamp built to withstand arctic weather. Normal daytime temperatures range from 6° to 14°C, and warm days can go as high as 21°C.

Previously, travel to the High Arctic required a tent on the tundra. The construction of Arctic Watch in 1992 radically changed this - and now both our locations set a high standard for guest accommodation and comfort in Nunavut. In addition to the main complex, there are 16 private guest cabins, each equipped with a marine toilet and sink. Due to the extremely sensitive natural environment showers are located in the main complex.

All culinary experiences are provided and prepared on-site from the finest ingredients in the Arctic. Our talented chefs bake breads, make yogurts, ice creams and other delights to satisfy you at breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you’re not out exploring the land or on the water, it’s all about great Canadian cuisine. Experience gourmet fare inspired by every province from locally sourced arctic char and Alberta Organic Beef to Okanagan Valley wines and more.

  • Arctic Watch - 16 private cabins
  • Small group focus - Average of 1:1.5 Staff/Guest Ratio
  • Expedition camping equipment purpose built and designed by Weber Arctic
  • Purpose built electric bikes for the Arctic

Cancellation Policy

Any cancellations before 180 days prior to the departure date will receive a full refund less a $500 administration fee, per person. Any cancellations after that are not eligible for a refund. For any reservations of 5 or more guests, deposits are non-refundable after December 1st. ADD-ON POLICY: If an Add-On trip is cancelled due to weather or insufficient numbers, everyone who signed up will receive a full refund. To ensure a stress-free adventure, we recommend guests purchase travel insurance prior to visiting the Arctic.

As per Canadian Law, all quoted rates are GST applicable at 5%. Prices are in Canadian currency.

Itinerary

In the wild and unpredictable Arctic the weather patterns and wildlife can disrupt even the best-laid plans. Therefore all of our itineraries are marked as ‘suggested’ - most excursions will be happen, just not necessarily on the days noted below.

Early July offers a very rare opportunity to explore the arctic ice edge by bike before the pack ice fissures and floats out to the open water of the Northwest Passage. Electric assisted mountain bikes are provided for guests upon arrival at Arctic Watch.

Arrival Instructions

All adventures to Arctic Watch include accommodation in Yellowknife the nights before and after at the Explorer Hotel. Guests arrive into Yellowknife the day before the private charter departs for Arctic Watch.

Day 1

Fly to Yellowknife, the capital of Canada’s Northwest Territories and spend the night at the Explorer Hotel.

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 to 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 Inlet where we'll get onto our bikes and head out onto the sea ice of the Northwest Passage. Today's goal is to familiarize ourselves with biking on this unique terrain. In the early summer season at Arctic Watch, a natural ice corridor forms around Somerset Island. At nearly two metres thick in places, this stable ice causeway (aptly named Arctic floe edge) is used by polar bears to hunt, birdlife, and seals who are busy sun tanning (and avoiding polar bears!). Read Emilie's blog on her experience biking the Arctic floe edge.

Today's focus is exploring Cunningham Inlet - along the route, we'll stop at a  historical site from the Thule people (circa 1100AD), nearby canyons and look for wildlife on the ice edge. A picnic lunch is served on the floe edge and dinner awaits our return to Arctic Watch lodge. 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 4

Today we venture further onto the floe edge - a morning ATV ride along the shoreline of Cunningham Inlet brings us to Polar bear point, where we embark towards the Northeastern shoreline of Somerset Island. The day is spent biking amongst the pressure ridges on the Arctic ice edge. Named “Sinaaq” in Inuktitut, this is where open water meets the ice still attached to the shoreline. The environment is where most marine wildlife will congregate in early summer - polar bears hunting seals, fish, migratory birdlife, whales and more.

Somerset's coastline is a stunning high-arctic topography. Barren shale bluffs laden with fossils and narrow creeks that spill into the ocean provide the perfect backdrop to this floe edge landscape. Lunch is served picnic style alongside one of these small creeks. Dinner is served at the lodge that evening. An informal lecture by Nansen Weber on wildlife photography is offered after dessert.

Day 5

We've now had two days of Arctic ice biking under our belts - today is the big expedition. Today's goal is to bike down the north-western shores of Somerset Island towards Cape Anne, where we will spend the night camping on the Arctic floe edge. Cape Anne was home to a Thule settlement (two archaeological sites remain) nearly 700 years ago. Using the floe edge as our "bike trail" for the day, we bike the coastal environment to search for wildlife while exploring the unique landscapes. Lunch is served on the shoreline nearby a local grazing area for muskoxen. This full day expedition arrives into ice-basecamp that evening. The team welcomes cyclists with hot drinks and appetizers before settling in that evening. Dinner is served outdoors in the Arctic. Take in the midnight sun from the shoreline as you settle into your expedition tent for a restful sleep. 

Day 6

After breakfast, we break from camp and head back towards the lodge. Our route is overland - this time leaving the floe edge overland on the tundra back to Arctic Watch. In early July, the tundra comes to life as purple saxifrage is in full bloom, muskoxen graze and birds are nesting for the summer. Your bike trail over the tundra is bright red - almost martian like as the high iron content of the soil in the region lends to a mars-like feeling. 

The expedition arrives for a celebratory welcome back at Arctic Watch that afternoon. Take the evening to rest at the lodge and enjoy the midnight sun. 

Day 7

Today is the rest day from biking - guests are welcome to spend the day at the lodge, or join an excursion onto the tundra with non-cycling guests. Hike the inland canyons, fish for Arctic char, raft the Cunningham River and more. See a sample of the adventures offered at Arctic Watch here. 

Day 8

Aboard our electric bikes, today we head inland onto the tundra of Somerset Island. Using the local hill tops and ridges that are a perfect shale soil to bike, we aim for 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. Snowy owls are known to nest in the area as well - have your camera ready! Lunch is served on the tundra and dinner is served back at Arctic Watch. 

Day 9

By now, guests are familiar with the area, and can opt to do an activity that they missed during the week or would like to repeat. There’s lots of time before the flight departs in the late afternoon. Upon arriving in Yellowknife you will spend the night at the Explorer Hotel before your return flight home.

Day 10

Depart Yellowknife for the return flight home.

Preparing For Your Trip

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. Each day’s activities take into consideration the dynamic environment we operate within, your interests, and may not always reflect the suggested itinerary outlined below.

Travel Recommendations & Notes

All travellers must purchase travel insurance - even Canadian guests. We recommend trip interruption, cancellation and health insurance that includes air ambulance. If an air ambulance is required to Yellowknife, Iqaluit or Ottawa, all non-Nunavut residents are responsible for the cost.

Baggage allowance on the charter flight from Yellowknife to Arctic Watch is 20 kg per person, including carry-on. If you have additional gear that will exceed the weight limit please let us know in advance.

Gear List

  • Neoprene Boots - A comfortable update to the traditional rubber boot with neoprene uppers and a neoprene/polyurethane foot. The best brand is Muck Boots - muckbootcompany.com.
  • Hiking/Walking Boots - Sturdy, waterproof/water-resistant leather lightweight boots are nice to have, but if happy with the Muck boots, these are not needed.
  • Biking Shoes - Sturdy, water repellant biking shoes are recommended. Example here.
  • Biking Clothing - we recommend breathable clothing for biking. Temperatures between +5 and +15C. Merino wool is recommended.
  • Biking Shorts - bike shorts that are padded to keep ensure maximal comfort for full day excursions (Padded shammies! :-) )
  • Bike Pedals - if you prefer to cycle using clipless pedals, please bring them. We provide flats for our guests.
  • Light Winter Jacket/Raincoat - In the cooler evenings, a warm jacket is a must.
  • Comfortable Hiking Pants - Pack a couple pairs of quick dry pants made from tightly woven, wind-resistant material. No cotton or silk content.
  • Long Underwear - A couple sets of long underwear made from synthetic or wool - no cotton or silk content.
  • Biking Day Pack - You’ll need a day pack to carry cameras and extra clothing on your excursions. We recommend Osprey Backpacks. Waterproof/water resistant storage compartments are recommended.
  • Personal Items - Toiletries, cameras, sunglasses, extra glasses/contacts or any other items you might require.
  • Fishing - We have gear, but if you prefer your own - bring it.
  • Rain Pants - This item is primarily for protection against the wind while on the ATVs. Ensure your pants are waterproof and seam-sealed.
  • Lodge Shoes - Light, comfortable shoes to wear in the lodge are useful. We will supply guests with lodge shoes.
  • Fleece Jacket - A fleece jacket is another necessity as an extra layer under your raincoat, for warmer days, or just to wear around the lodge.
  • Hat - A wool toque or fleece hat. Any cap really that is made from a material that dries easily.
  • Gloves - Wind-resistant gloves/mittens for cold days or the ATV excursions.
  • Socks - Several pairs of good wool or wool-synthetic socks are a must. No cotton or silk content. Arctic Watch has Smartwool socks available for purchase if needed.
  • Sunscreen - The summer sun in the Arctic is extremely strong - not to mention it shines almost 24 hours a day. So pack sunscreen.
  • Binoculars - Great for spotting wildlife. We recommend Swarovski Optiks.
  • Arctic Watch has gear available for use on specific excursions: ATV helmets, fishing gear, paddling dry jackets and pants, life jackets, and more.

We're here to help.

We understand that booking a trip like this is a big endeavour. Please reach out to us with any questions that you might have regarding your upcoming adventure.

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