Interior Alaska, Denali & Prince William Sound

Join us on an incredible once in a lifetime adventure this fall to photograph Alaskan Polar Bears up close and personal! We’ll travel to a remote island in the Arctic Ocean to photograph scores of Polar Bears at eye-level from a small boat. Travel with an experienced professional photographer and Inupiaq boat captain who have been living with and photographing Polar Bears for decades.

This trip takes us to an isolated Inupiaq Eskimo Village situated on the shores of the Beaufort Sea in the heart of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Each day we will head out in our privately chartered boat to photograph Polar Bears as they swim, play, wrestle and forage for food along the icy shores. Phenomenal close-up images are possible with focal-lengths of 300mm to 400mm as we will often get as close as 90 feet in our boats.

Fall is the optimal time of year for photographing Polar Bears in the Alaskan Arctic as they are waiting for “freeze-up” when they can begin their migrations across the vastness of the frozen Arctic Ocean. Often we will be able to photograph between 20-30 different bears on this trip.

Each evening we will retire to our rustic village accommodations where you can relax in the warm great-room after an excellent day of Polar Bear Photography. Meals are fantastic and guests can swap stories with other travels to this remote corner of the world. The Northern Lights are usually visible every night that it is clear along the Arctic Coast – if they are out we will photograph the Aurora as well! Life in the Arctic with the Polar Bears is the definition of living on the edge!

Trip Extension: We offer an optional Northern Lights Extension immediately after Polar Bears of the Alaskan Arctic if you are interested in spending additional time photographing the Aurora Borealis. Please click here for details


  • Maximum of six photographers
  • High concentration of Polar Bears
  • Includes Chartered Flight & Polar Bear Boat
  • Up to 25% more time with the bears!
  • Get incredible eye-level Polar Bears shots
  • Stay in an authentic Eskimo Village
  • Northern Lights
  • All Inclusive Trip

Interior Alaska, Denali & Prince William Sound

6 Days

Trip Price: from $9295 double occupancy (includes chartered flight, meals, lodging & Polar Beat boat)

+$1250 single occupancy (very limited availability) 

Deposit: $2500

Fitness Level: 1 (Easy)“Boat-Based trip – Must be able to get into / out of small boats”

Meals: Most meals included (see itinerary)

Lodging: 2 nights lodging in Fairbanks, 3 nights in Kaktovik

Please note: Lodging in the village is rustic & shared occupancy. There is very limited availability for single supplements

Start/End: Fairbanks, Alaska

Hours: Mon-Fri 8am to 4pm Mountain Time

*trip difficulty ratings

Trip Extensions

Trip Extensions

We offer an optional Northern Lights Extension immediately after our Polar Bears of the Alaskan Arctic trip. The extension can be reserved with the main trip while making your online reservation or it can be booked as a standalone trip.

Trip Extension #1: Northern Lights Extension

A post-trip excursion to Fairbanks, Alaska to photograph the Aurora Borealis

Learn More

Trip Details

Physical Requirements

Must be able to get into and out of small boats on potential rough seas. No hiking involved on this trip.

Group Size
This trip is limited to six participants

We will be staying at Hampton Inn in Fairbanks, Alaska and the Waldo Arms Hotel in Kaktovik, Alaska.


All meals are included during the trip dates. We’ll have a group dinner in Fairbanks at one of our favorite local restaurants the first night and then be eating fantastic meals served up in the great room of the Waldo Arms Hotel after that.

Weather in the Alaskan Arctic is unpredictable at best.  In past years we have had everything from beautiful, sunny fall days to overcast with blowing winds to foggy white-out conditions. Daytime temperatures are usually around between 25-30 degrees Fahrenheit and evenings are usually between 20-25 Fahrenheit. Remember some of the best photographs are made before, during and immediately after a storm cycle. There is no such thing as bad weather just poor layering and gear choices – please plan accordingly! For more info on what to bring please email or call us.

Price Includes
Meals, ground transportation, charter flight to/from Barter Island, accommodation during the trip dates, professional photography instruction, medically certified wilderness guide.

Price Does Not Include
Airfare to/from Fairbanks, alcoholic beverages, accommodations before or after the trip dates, guide & staff gratuities

Itinerary – Most meals included – (B,L,D) denotes Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 1 (Travel Day) (D)

Arrive in Fairbanks, Alaska this evening for orientation and welcome dinner.

Day 2 (B,L,D)

Today we will board a small charter flight for Barter Island. After a safety briefing and we will board our private boat and begin photographing Polar Bears! We’ll spend the entire rest of the day photographing the bears from several locations.

Days 3-4 (B,L,D)

Full Days of boat-based Polar Bear photography.

Day 5 (B,L,D)

We’ll have one last 3-4 hour morning session of photography from our boat and then eat a hearty lunch before we board the charter plane bound for Fairbanks.

Day 6 (B)

You can make flight reservations home anytime today

Please note that the exact sequence of the itineraries on all photography trips will be based on weather and lighting conditions. The goal on these trips is to make sure we are at the right place at the right time for the perfect light on our subjects. Also, itineraries can change for a variety of other circumstances including floods, forest fires, national park closures, road closures and more. Due to the nature of wildlife and nature photography we do not guarantee any specific sightings or specific compositions regarding wildlife or natural phenomena. 

Trip Extension: Northern Lights

We offer an optional Northern Lights Extension immediately after our Polar Bears of the Alaskan Arctic trip if you are interested in spending additional time photographing the Aurora Borealis in Fairbanks, Alaska. Please click here for details.

“Had a fantastic trip to the village of Kaktovik, Alaska to photograph polar bears. Russ put together an excellent trip as usual. I have been on several other trips with him. The polar bears were plentiful! Russ is a terrific photographer so these trips are geared for photographers. We went out on a boat with local guides and saw adult and cub polar bears. Russ is an easy going leader but he attends to all the details necessary for a successful experience. On this trip I met others who had also traveled previously with Backcountry Journeys.”

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