Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge

Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge, the most northerly fly-in lodge in the world, is located on the world-class beluga whale observation site on Somerset Island in Nunavut, Canada, situated 500 miles north of the Arctic Circle. With 24 hours of daylight, guests are offered fully guided opportunities for diverse adventure activities and extraordinary polar photography.

Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge is a family-run basecamp, hosted by arctic enthusiasts Josée Auclair and her husband, Richard Weber, along with their two sons, Tessum and Nansen. They are distinguished across the Canadian High Arctic as polar experts, particularly in Nunavut, and specialize in North Pole and Arctic tourism. The lodge operates with 16 staff and crew members with a maximum guest occupancy of 26.

Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge Review

AdventureSmith Explorations’ Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge review includes a detailed description and photo gallery. Our adventure travel experts can help compare the Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge with other adventure lodging and Arctic tours.

Choose the Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge to take advantage of a wide range of included activities including photography lessons, and to seek out the famed beluga whale. This unique arctic adventure lodge is run by a family of polar explorers. Richard, Josée, Tessum and Nansen have spent the past 25 years exploring the polar regions. Having lead some of the first polar expeditions to successfully reach the North Pole, set speed records at both poles, recipient of the Order of Canada, renowned Arctic Wildlife photographer and world-class polar guides, the Weber family knows Arctic. They’ve skied, kayaked, hiked and explored across Canada’s far north and in 2000 this incredible family purchased the Arctic Watch lodge. Guests get to learn from and spend time with these Arctic legends during their stay at Arctic Watch.

Common Areas at Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge

The Great Hall serves as the main lecture hall and lounge where presentations are provided and announcements provide daily schedules, wildlife sightings, lectures, events, meal times and safety instructions for excursions. When not exploring the natural beauty of the Polar regions, use the complimentary Wi-Fi provided via satellite that is available throughout the lodge for basic web browsing and email access. Cell phone service is not available at Arctic Watch, though guests are welcome to use Skype via Wi-Fi. There is a satellite phone for emergency communication.

At the Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge, a small library of polar books, reference materials, field guides, picture books, general reading material and a selection of games are at your disposal. The Interpretive Center features local artifacts, maps and fossils dating back 42 million years. The lodge runs on diesel generators, which are turned on at 6:00am every morning and turned off at 11:00pm every evening. There is electricity, heating in central areas, Wi-Fi and hot water available between these times.

Dining at Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge

There is one dining room located off the Great Hall with space for all guests to dine together and enjoy delicious meals on a daily basis with two main dinner course options per day. Because food provisions to Arctic Watch arrive from Yellowknife where supplies are not always guaranteed to be available, meals cannot be made to order. All reasonable efforts are made to accommodate dietary requirements, as long as needs are clearly indicated on the required forms when booking. There is a wide selection of meats, vegetables, pasta and grains, and to a certain extent dairy-free and gluten-free diets may be accommodated. Locally sourced, gourmet Canadian cuisine includes options such as Arctic Char, Baffin Bay turbot, Alberta Organic Beef, French Canadian cheeses and more. The talented chef makes breads, yogurts, ice creams and other delights daily. Additionally, staff at Arctic Watch work with some of the best wineries in the Okanagan Valley to provide a special selection of wines. Please note that beer, soft drinks, juices, vegan and kosher foods are not available at Arctic Watch.

Activities at Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge

Active adventures are central to a stay at Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge. The lodge’s location on Somerset Island provides endless and varied terrain to explore the Arctic and take in its beautiful nature and wildlife. Kayaks, stand-up paddleboards and river rafts are ready for a paddle along a winding river canyon, or in the Arctic ocean alongside possible beluga whales. Mercedes unimogs and adventure-ready ATVs enable roaming tundra backroads in search of wildlife and stunning vistas. And fat-tire bikes offer the unique experience of early-season mountain biking over ice floes, as well as tundra rides over the dramatic surrounding landscape. And anglers will appreciate opportunities for fishing.

Accommodations at Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge

Each cabin has either two single-sized camp beds or one double bed, a window and a generator-powered electric heater that operates at peak times for added warmth. Heaters are switched on remotely from 6:00am to 8:00am and from 9:00pm to 11:00pm. Each cabin has a private bathroom with a marine toilet and wash basin. Showers are adjacent to the main cabin and feature two sinks, two shower stalls and two toilet stalls each in the men’s and women’s sections. Hair dryers are not provided at the lodge, and the lodge cannot accommodate corded hair dryers brought from home. If a hair dryer is required, then please bring a battery-operated unit. The electrical supply at the lodge is 110 volts, 60 Hz. Guests coming from outside the USA and Canada may need to bring a small 220v/110v converter. Electrical outlets in cabins and around the lodge accept standard North American two flat pin. Four twin cabins each feature two single beds, seven twin cabins each feature a double bed and one triple cabin is available for families with a child. 

Complimentary amenity kits are provided upon arrival in Yellowknife that include a toiletry bag with eye mask, earplugs, lip balm, moisturizer and hand-warming packs. Shampoo and conditioner are provided. All guests receive an eco-friendly, reusable water bottle in their cabin upon arrival as well as a hot water bottle to warm the bed, which can be filled from the hot tap in sinks. There is no hot water available in the cabins, but staff can provide a Thermos for hot water in the evening. The water is very clean on Somerset Island and all running water is safe to drink.