Arctic Tours? Worth it?

Feb 4th, 2006, 02:39 PM
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Arctic Tours? Worth it?

While we're in Fairbanks in June, we're considering a tour bus trip to the Arctic Circle. The road trips, via a dusty gravel road, take a long time with the only reward a picture by a least that's the impression I get. What do you think?
Also looking at flight options, possibly as far as Barrows. But, those are pricey. Has anyone done this? And, what company do you recommend?
SanDiegoSue is offline  
Feb 4th, 2006, 02:49 PM
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We took an Arctic tour with Alaska Airlines to Kotsebue (sp????) and enjoyed it very, very much. We walked on the tundra and our guide was very informative. It was expensive but we are glad we did it.
cd is offline  
Feb 4th, 2006, 03:12 PM
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My husband and I are going to be in Alaska the whole month of June. I already have the Arctic Circle Adventure tour booked. For us it is how many times can one say "we crossed the Arctic Circle." To us this is one of our highlights among many already booked.
marleneawe is offline  
Feb 4th, 2006, 07:13 PM
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Yes, the road is dusty gravel, but I thought the scenery along the way was great. We took a tour that went all the way up to Prudhoe Bay (2 days of driving), and the only time I was bored with scenery (or I could have been exhausted with the pace of my whole trip, LOL!), was as we got past the Brooks Range & onto the flat wet area as you approach the Arctic Ocean (I think bird watchers would adore this part, though.) And, of course, this is far past the Arctic Circle.

We went with the Northern Alaska Tour Company out of Fairbanks. They used a van, not a bus, I liked that it was a smaller group. It looks like they have a number of different options for Arctic Circle trips, so you might check them

Is it worth it? I guess it depends on your interests, but I can tell you that I really did enjoy the scenery along the way, so for me, anyway, there was a lot more reward than just the sign when we hit the Arctic Circle. I was very glad I took the trip. On the other hand, I know my mother, for example, HATES driving trips, so I'd never send her on this tour - no amount of scenery would be able to compensate her for that time in the, I guess it's individual. Have fun with whatever tours & activities you pick in Alaska!
KMK is offline  
Feb 5th, 2006, 06:01 AM
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I do not recommend the round trip van trips. The fly/ shuttle are far better in my opinion. You don't have as much time on the road and the trip is broken up ad lib depending on interests. Barrow is not a day trip in my opinion, at least an overnight, I spent three. There are many places you can cross the "circle". One of the most scenic I have done was flying into Anaktuvuk Pass on a cargo run with Warbelows. I have flown with them several times to various places.

I find the Haul Road somewhat boring. Many many acres are burned and way too many trees/pipeline some times.
BudgetQueen is offline  
Feb 8th, 2006, 03:44 AM
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We did the fly to and drive back. We think it was worth it - great views flying over the mountain range. The engineer in my husband enjoyed Prudhoe and the oil fields. We saw more wildlife than in Denali, even bears, lots of caribou. Dip your toes in the Arctic Ocean, and stand on beached iceburg. The tundra was interesting too.
banares is offline  
Feb 8th, 2006, 11:39 AM
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I also took the Northern Alaska Tour Co. trip up to Prudhoe Bay - van out/plane in. It was the highlight of my trip. Deadhorse, the town at Prudhoe Bay, reminded me of a frontier town, with all the oil workers and truckers hanging out at the Prudhoe Bay Hotel. To me it was the real Alaska, not the tourist Alaska. The accommodations for two nights were very basic, but clean and comfortable.

The drive up, 2 days thru' a spreuce forest, the Brooks Range, along the tundra and past the ANWR, was wonderful - I loved the vast emptiness of the place and the starkness of the scenery. There's an interesting tour of the oil fields and you can take a dip in the Arctic. I was disappointed that it was much warmer than I expected, but it was fun.
I was told (by our guide, no less) that most people didn't think the extension to Barrow was worth it, and I'm glad I didn't bother with that. But if you like off the beaten path, I think the 3 day trip to Prudhoe Bay is well worth it.
panecott is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2006, 01:55 PM
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Like CD, we took the Alaska Airlines trip to Kotzebue and returned the same day. Kotzebue is about 550 miles from Anchorage, so flying is the only practical way of getting there. The all-day tour was excellent, but expensive. However it does give you a good look at a very different way of life. If you go, be sure to ask the Alaska Airlines agent in Kotzebue for your Arctic Circle certificate.
Orlando_Vic is offline  
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