All terrain, all the time! That could be the motto for transportation by ATV (all-terrain vehicle) at Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge. At this unique base camp, located on Somerset Island 500 miles north of the Arctic Circle, jumping on a four-wheeler is not only a fun way to get around, it’s a practical necessity.
The lodge offers myriad opportunities to explore fascinating, unique Arctic landscapes – canyons, waterfalls, wildlife habitats, tundra, and icy inlets – by all-terrain vehicle. The various all-terrain vehicles at Arctic Watch can take you wherever you want to go, depending on your mood. It’s a means of transport, a catalyst to get to places you want to go, to see things you want to see, whether that’s landscapes or wildlife.
While there are numerous included adventure activities at the lodge that don’t involve an ATV as part of the experience, about half have an ATV component.
Explore the Landscapes & Spot Wildlife by ATV
An ATV can be used to take you to a trailhead for the start of a good hike, or to a spot where you would begin a rafting trip on the Cunningham River, for example. The vehicles are also ideal if you want to see animals in their natural habitats.
To get to Polar Bear Point, for example, is much too far to walk. But by ATV, you can cover a lot of distance, then stop and park and get the binoculars out to scan the horizon for polar bears. If you’re going for a hike to see musk ox, you could just hike straight from the lodge. If you were going to see polar bears, though, you would have to ATV to the spot. It’s the only way to get there.
Many of Arctic Watch’s guests simply love to ride an ATV for the fun of it, even if they’re not going anywhere in particular! Everything you need for ATVing (and all of your adventure activities) is provided, so you don't have to worry about weighing your luggage down with gear.
What You Can Expect of the ATVs at Arctic Watch
You can simply go on an ATV ride through fantastic scenery. You may see wildlife on the way, you may stop and have a picnic lunch, or you may stop and take a photo of a beautiful waterfall. In itself, it’s an activity where you might go out for a couple of hours and that’s all you’re doing.
There are several types of ATVs at the lodge. The biggest ones – Gators - are manufactured by John Deere. They look like golf carts and can accommodate four passengers. It’s the sort of ATV where you could have a guide drive it and you can sit in the back with your camera and just enjoy the experience.
Arctic Watch also has ATVs for one or two people. Guides or guests can operate them, and lessons are mandatory on how to safely drive them. The short training course is simply to ensure guests have a certain comfort level in handling these vehicles, especially in areas where “all terrain” most definitely describes the area where you might drive them.
The trails are fantastic, and not solely flat and easy to navigate. There are times when you’ve got to go up some fairly steep hills and through mud and over rocks, so if you're trekking around on the smaller ATVs, you definitely want to have some sense of confidence driving one. If not, you can always choose to be a passenger in the Gator.
Riding an ATV is one of the wide variety of included soft adventure activities offered at this one-of-a-kind arctic wilderness resort. As the first land-based expedition for Quark passengers, Arctic Watch also offers a Polar Photography program, and is one of the best places on earth to see beluga whales.
Want to learn more about planning your own adventure at Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge?
- Read more Arctic Watch stories from expedition experts and travelers like you
- Get the Arctic Watch Adventure Guide
- Download your free Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge: Adventure and Wildlife at 74°N brochure
About the Author
A travel and business writer from Ontario, Canada, Miranda has written for Quark Expeditions since 2013. Right out of high school, she packed a bag and went west to embark on a 10-year career in camps, resorts and lodges across Canada. Miranda spent several months spent in the Canadian Arctic and years in the Rocky Mountains before returning home to Georgian Bay to raise her family. Now a digital nomad, she’s never happier than when traveling and writing. Miranda visited Antarctica with Quark Expeditions in 2016.More Content by Miranda Miller