Wild River

Overview

The Wild River is not as wild as the country around it. In fact, it is one of the best family float trips that is available to those who want a dose of wilderness that is far from the security of the neighborhood watch group. It is a 63-mile trip from where it heads in a lake nestled in a lovely forested valley to where it joins the Koyukuk River and flows past the town of Bettles, and is easily floated in 6 days time. It is a Class I river with only a few lineable Class II riffles. It is a crystal clear stream that is swift at first, then gradually slowing in current as it approaches the larger Koyukuk River.

Put In

To get on the river you will need to fly to Bettles, Alaska on a regularly scheduled flight from Fairbanks. In Bettles there are flight operators who will take you into the river where you can land on the lake on floats or on a gravel strip on wheels.

Take Out

Take out involves hugging the left shore of the Koyukuk River once there, till you sight the town of Bettles and then pulling in to a point where you can find out where the closest point to the airstrip is.

The Trip

Wild Lake to Bettles: 63 miles

Wild Lake is a long, deep narrow lake set in a broad valley just south of the northern tree line. Sand beaches and a white spruce forest surround the 6-mile long lake. The upper stretch of river, after leaving the lake is swift flowing with no real obstacles. It is south flowing and eventually becomes a meandering course as it approaches its confluence with the bigger Koyukuk River. Once you join the Koyukuk it is only a few miles to where the town of Bettles is situated along the left hand shore.

USGS Maps

Bettles D-3, D-4
Wiseman A-3, B-3, B-4, C-4

Distance

63 miles

Days

6

Difficulty

Easy

Class

I, II

Craft

Canoe
Kayak
Raft

Cost

$$$

Getting There

Coordinates
Latitude: 67.504103
Longitude: -151.571617

Show Map

Wild River Points

To get on the riv­er you will need to fly to Bet­tles, Alas­ka on a reg­u­lar­ly sched­uled flight from Fair­banks. In Bet­tles there are flight oper­a­tors who will take you into the riv­er where you can land on the lake on floats or on a grav­el strip on wheels.

Take out involves hug­ging the left shore of the Koyukuk Riv­er once there, till you sight the town of Bet­tles and then pulling in to a point where you can find out where the clos­est point to the airstrip is.