snow owl

Wrangel Island: Overland Traverse

Across the Top of the World

Note: This Wrangel Island extension is an optional activity and conducted in conjunction with the voyage, but independently operated by the park rangers. It is subject to minimum numbers, reserve regulations, and weather and ice conditions. Participants should be aware that there is no discount or compensation for missed landings that the main expedition makes, possibly including Herald Island, while they are participating in the extension.


A true expedition in every sense, this is a rough and tumble adventure for those looking to explore well beyond the road less traveled and don't mind stepping out of their comfort zone. Built for conquering the corrugated terrain—not for comfort—transport is by a formidable, six-wheel Russian Tundra vehicle. While travel days can be long, there are countless opportunities for wildlife encounters and exceptional photography during your journey. At night, retire to the rustic surrounds of authentic Wrangel ranger huts and enjoy hearty and nourishing camp-style fare. Each off-road traverse across this rugged island is led by rangers from Wrangel Island and offers lucky guests a first-hand experience into the wilds of this remote region. A very limited number of seats are available on this special three-day expedition, so book your spot early!

Detailed Itinerary

Note on Options

Depending on the weather, wildlife and other external elements, there will be three Overland Traverse options. This is a sample itinerary of one option:

Day 1
Doubtful Harbor

Upon arrival, go ashore and spent the afternoon and evening exploring this wildly remote area. Visit the nearby spit known for large haul outs of walrus and wander around Devil’s Creek, the only archaeological site on the island where remains of a Paleo-Eskimos’ summer camp were recently discovered. Overnight in Wrangel ranger huts at Somnitelnya.

Day 2

This morning, travel north over the southern tundra slopes climbing gradually to a mountain pass through the Somnitelnie Mountains. A steep descent brings you to a tributary of the Mammoth River, the longest river on the island. In the evening, take a guided walk on the tundra slopes beneath the starry sky and keep an eye out for snowy owls, lemmings, Arctic foxes, and a huge variety of high arctic plants. Overnight at the Peak Tundra hut, a field hut for studies of the snow geese nesting nearby.

Day 3
Academic Tundra

Continue down the Tundra River to explore the Academic Tundra, an extensive area that makes up over half the island. In this nature reserve, there are opportunities to see amazing fields of wildflowers, musk ox, and possibly reindeer, although numbers have been reduced by harsh winters, among many other plants and animals. Depending on weather and wildlife, you may alternatively make your way up to, and along, Goose River to the birding cliffs of Ptichy Bazar where you will look for Musk Oxen and Arctic Fox. Enjoy fantastic views from the cliffs and over the coast where Kittiwakes, gulls, puffins, and cormorants can be seen during nesting season. Return to the ship at midday.


Length: 3 days
Cost From: $1450  
Arrive: Doubtful Harbor, Wrangel Island
Depart: Doubtful Harbor, Wrangel Island
Lodging: 2 nights in ranger huts
Meals: All meals included
Activity: Wildlife & Natural History, Photography
Trip Level:

Nature walks and guided tours