Access the Nabesna River at Cabin Creek/Jack Lake for a 55-mile float through the Tetlin Wildlife Refuge down to Northway. For centuries this land was beneath the ancient, glacial Lake Ahtna that formed by the huge ice sheets of the last ice age blocking the Matanuska to the west and the Copper River to the south. At Mile 41 of Nabesna Road take a rough road to the left, down Jack Creek, fording it several times. It’s 5 miles to Cabin Creek. Line your boats down this creek to the river at a point about 16 miles below Orange Hill.
Reeve's Field and Reeve’s Field Trail
Reeve’s Field Trail leads 4.2 miles through the National Preserve, ending with views of the Nabesna River and what used to be an airstrip and the village of Nabesna Bar. The Reeve's Field airstrip is no longer here, but this area holds important historical significance. During 1941, trucks hauled 11,000 tons of equipment from Valdez to this rustic strip along the river, where Pilot Bob Reeve cut everything into pieces and loaded it into his Boeing Trimotor. He flew them to Northway, about 40 miles north, and then had them re-welded. This effort was organized to build the Northway Airport, a critical stopover in ferrying lend-lease aircraft to the Soviet Union during WWII. After the war, the airstrip and buildings at Reeve’s Field were abandoned, and were later used by Native people up until the 1990s.
Check in advance for off-road vehicle (ORV) access, as it is not always permitted. When permitted, you’ll need a permit from the National Park Service.
Access: The trailhead is located at Milepost 40.2 Nabesna Road Distance/Time: 4.2 miles / 3 - 4 hours by ORV. Land Status: National PRESERVE, Recreational ORV permit required when trail re-opens. Trail Conditions: Travel is difficult due to mud bogs and tussocks. Trail surface is dirt and corduroy improvements for the first 2 miles, with tussocks and mud bogs for most of the remainder of the trail. There are two creek crossings that can be hazardous. Trail users should stay alert to changing conditions and rising water levels. Private Lands: There are two private allotments located adjacent to the Reeve Field trail near Nabesna River. Private property begins shortly after the second Jack Creek crossing. A fifty foot easement is provided for trail users. PLEASE STAY ON THE TRAIL. Ranger Tips: The first mile of the trail is an easy hike to Jack Creek. After this, you must cross Jack Creek twice. The Recreational ORV trail ends at the Nabesna River, but hikers can continue up stream as far as the confluence with
Jacksina Creek. Use caution before attempting to cross the Nabesna River or Jacksina Creek.