Photo Credit: Bob Kaufman

Alaska Float Trips

Ever rafted a river in the Lower 48? That’s nothing like rafting in Alaska. Up here, those rivers are known as creeks. Alaska’s rivers are huge bodies of water that move fast, run deep, and are cold. Fed by snowmelt or glaciers, a flipped boat or swim in a river can lead to hypothermia. In short, Alaska rivers are serious forces of nature.

Floating down one of these aquatic highways is an unforgettable way to experience Alaska. Rivers take you quickly into the heart of the Alaskan wilderness, without the physical exertion of hiking or climbing. Everyone travels at the same pace, silently, watching the wildlife without scaring them away. And you can bring along little luxuries—an extra tent, good food, bottles of wine—that would make for an impossibly heavy backpack on a hiking trip.

So get out there and go rafting, Alaska style!

Trip Planning Considerations

Things to think about before you even start planning. Your answers will affect where in the state you go, what river you run, and what time of year you start out.

  • Are you looking for whitewater/rapids or a scenic float?
  • Is there particular wildlife you’d like to see?
  • Are we experienced enough for the river we want to float, or should we hire a guide?
  • Should we shuttle cars at drop-off & pick-up spots, or budget for air service?
  • Does anyone want to fish or go for day hikes?
  • Pick up a copy of The Alaska River Guide, a great resource for investigating floatable rivers.

Trip Preparations

Some things to think about before you set out:

  • How comfortable are you and/or your group being alone in the wilderness?
  • Who have you talked to about this river?
  • Are there significant winds?
  • Any tricky rapids or good camp spots to be looking for?
  • Did you talk to anyone about the water level?
  • What will the weather be like?
  • Where’s the patch kit?
  • What is the bear situation?
  • What is the weather like? Is there an optimal month or time for this river, especially as it relates to water flows?

What Kind of Boat?

Everyone uses self-bailing boats nowadays. But you will have to decide between:

  • Paddle rafting. Each person has their own paddle; you work together to maneuver the boat. This gives everyone an activity, but has limited gear capacity.
  • Oar rafting. One person paddles using oars on a metal frame. Unless your paddlers are all very strong, oar rafting gives you more control over the boat. Those not manning the oars can relax and watch the scenery go by.
  • On harder rivers, try to have more than one boat in case one boat dumps, loses gear, or rafters fall out. The other boat can help with rescue and recovering gear, though you should lash your gear to the boat so it won’t fall out—even if the boat turns upside down and scrapes the rocky bottom.

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Float Trips

The Win­ner Creek to 20 Mile Riv­er loop is a great first pack­raft­ing trip. For those with pack­raft­ing skills, this route offers a quick, easy-to-access, mul­ti-sport adven­ture. The hike up to Berry Pass is seri­ous­ly under­rat­ed, and the views of the 20 Mile water­shed are absolute­ly stunning.

A com­bi­na­tion of clas­sic Alaskana: float planes, big moun­tains, crys­tal blue lakes, and home­steading his­to­ry. This route” is unique­ly freeform. You’ll be able to choose from hun­dreds of avail­able hik­ing options. With the vast major­i­ty of the pad­dling being on flat water this is a great option for a novice packrafter.

The 95-mile long Ivishak Riv­er flows north, through the Philip Smith Moun­tains and the north­ern foothills of the Arc­tic Nation­al Wildlife Refuge, to join the Saga­vanirk­tok Riv­er on the coastal plain, 50 miles south of Prud­hoe Bay. Fed by glac­i­ers in the head­wa­ters area, the Ivishak starts at a lake in a glacial trough and flows quick­ly through rocky rif­fles for 8 miles, then forms a sin­gle chan­nel for a third of its length before becom­ing an…  ...more

The Holit­na Riv­er is an easy flow­ing riv­er in south­west Alas­ka, run­ning through a vast wilder­ness area. Flow­ing north along the base of the Kuskok­wim Moun­tains and out of the Tay­lor Moun­tains, the Holit­na is the largest riv­er sys­tem in the low­er Kuskok­wim Riv­er basin and offers a great fam­i­ly and friends trip in a true wilder­ness set­ting with a chance to meet local natives at the vil­lage of Kashegelok in the river’s head­wa­ter area. From the…  ...more

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…  ...more

The Nenana Riv­er, a glacial riv­er, forms the east­ern bound­ary of Denali Nation­al Park and is pos­si­bly the most pop­u­lar riv­er raft­ing des­ti­na­tion in the state. It offers a vari­ety of lev­els of dif­fi­cul­ty and has a thriv­ing com­mer­cial raft­ing indus­try that oper­ates 2 hour, 4 hour and overnight trips for locals as well as out of state tourists.

This bit of riv­er sys­tem is a crys­talline, spring-fed water­shed that flows into the Tanana Riv­er and is famous as being the largest doc­u­ment­ed spawn­ing area for Coho Salmon of the entire Yukon Riv­er sys­tem. It is a fair­ly short riv­er of 20 miles with 12 miles you can float, but when com­bined with the 30 miles of Tanana Riv­er down to the Alcan High­way Bridge, a long week­end or up to a 3 day trip is pos­si­ble and is entire­ly acces­si­ble by car.…  ...more

Overview The Squir­rel Riv­er is a very clear, small vol­ume arc­tic riv­er flow­ing south out of the foothills of the Baird Moun­tains to where it joins the Kobuk Riv­er at the vil­lage of Kiana. This is an easy float and well suit­ed to fam­i­lies or begin­ner pad­dlers that are com­pe­tent wilder­ness campers. There is good hik­ing in the upper moun­tain­ous region and good fish­ing all along the way. After August, water lev­els become low and the upper…  ...more

A trip down the Firth Riv­er, with its head­wa­ters in Alas­ka and most of the riv­er locat­ed in Cana­da, is a riv­er trip with no par­al­lel. It is said to be Canada’s old­est riv­er hav­ing been a refugium where the ice of the last ice age nev­er exist­ed. As a result, its land­scape is rugged and crag­gy and its riverbed with­out glacial out­wash grav­els. Locat­ed with­in Ivvavik Nation­al Park in Canada’s north­ern Yukon, the riv­er lies across the migratory…  ...more

Beaver Creek Nation­al Wild and Scenic Riv­er has its head­wa­ters in the White Moun­tains, north of Fair­banks, Alas­ka. The riv­er flows west past the jagged lime­stone ridges of the White Moun­tains before flow­ing to the north and east, where it enters the Yukon Flats and joins the Yukon Riv­er. It is one of the few road acces­si­ble streams in Alas­ka with a Wild and Scenic des­ig­na­tion. The first 127 miles of Beaver Creek were des­ig­nat­ed a National…  ...more

The Hula Hula Riv­er is some­times referred to as the quin­tes­sen­tial arc­tic riv­er trip. It has a gen­er­ous amount of white­wa­ter and moun­tain scenery as well as sev­er­al days of the arc­tic coastal plains where the riv­er plunges through the often dis­cussed 10 02 Land, the calv­ing grounds for the Por­cu­pine Cari­bou Herd. This is the con­tro­ver­sial land that is part of the drill for oil on the calv­ing grounds” debate that we hear about. The trip…  ...more

Overview Locat­ed in south­west­ern Alas­ka, in one of the rich­est fish­eries in the world, the Wood-Tikchik State Park has a great, easy to mod­er­ate float trip that is per­fect for fam­i­lies with wilder­ness camp­ing expe­ri­ence and for diehard fish­ing enthu­si­asts. From the fur­thest inland lake to Dilling­ham, Alas­ka is a 130-mile trip that involves pad­dling your way the length of 4 large lakes and down the three rivers that con­nect the lakes and then…  ...more

Overview The Talachulit­na or Tal” as it is com­mon­ly referred to, is locat­ed total­ly with­in state patent­ed lands. When peo­ple talk of float­ing the Tal it is usu­al­ly a 5 to 7 day trip, down Talachulit­na Creek and then down the Talachulit­na Riv­er to the Skwent­na Riv­er. From the start at a head­wa­ter lake there are 16 miles of shal­low Class I creek and then 32 miles on the Tal with Class I to IV rapids, depend­ing on water lev­els, and an additional…  ...more

Overview The Tana Riv­er is a short, chal­leng­ing Class IV+ stretch of riv­er that leads to the Chiti­na Riv­er. It flows out of the Chugach Moun­tains direct­ly towards the Wrangell Moun­tains and has a rep­u­ta­tion that deserves skill and expe­ri­ence pad­dling along fast, cold glac­i­er water. It starts as a medi­um size riv­er flow­ing out of the Tana Glac­i­er that is an ice trib­u­tary of the giant Bagley Ice Field. The Tana Riv­er alone is only 36 miles…  ...more

The Chena Riv­er begins in the White Moun­tains and is fed by five trib­u­taries, the North Fork, South Fork, West Fork, Mid­dle (East) Fork and the Lit­tle Chena. All the forks emp­ty into the Mid­dle Fork, which is the main sec­tion of the Chena Riv­er. The spring-fed Chena Riv­er runs right through down­town Fair­banks and is a Class II riv­er with many inter­est­ing fea­tures along its length. There are some des­ig­nat­ed camp­grounds in a few loca­tions. In…  ...more

The Kanek­tok Riv­er is locat­ed in the Togiak Nation­al Wildlife Reserve of South­west Alas­ka and flows west­ward 85 miles from Pegati Lake and into the Bering Sea at the city of Quin­hagak. It starts in the scenic Ahk­lun Moun­tains then spills out across the Kuskok­wim low­lands and is a fly fish­er­man’s par­adise. It is a world class fish­ing des­ti­na­tion and sees quite a bit of fish­ing from lodges near­by and from fish­ing camps along the river.…  ...more

The Colville Riv­er ris­es in an iso­lat­ed area of the DeLong Moun­tains, at the west­ern end of the Brooks Range, north of the con­ti­nen­tal divide in the south­west­ern cor­ner of the Nation­al Petro­le­um Reserve. It flows ini­tial­ly north, then gen­er­al­ly east through the foothills on the north side of the range, broad­en­ing into a wide tun­dra expanse as it receives the inflow of trib­u­taries that descend from the mid­dle Brooks Range. It is a major river…  ...more

Overview Six Mile Creek is, per­haps, Alaska’s most acces­si­ble tech­ni­cal white­wa­ter run, well suit­ed to kayak or pad­dle raft, most­ly Class IV and one class V canyon. Flow­ing in the rugged Chugach Moun­tains of the Kenai Penin­su­la, with­in Chugach Nation­al For­est, this stream has a rep­u­ta­tion of boom­ing white­wa­ter and fast gorge style rapids. A small vol­ume stream, it has 3 dis­tinct canyons, with each one more dif­fi­cult than the pre­vi­ous. At most…  ...more

While the North Fork of Eagle Riv­er is only 40 min­utes from Anchor­age, it has as much beau­ty and some of the haz­ards of much big­ger, more remote Alas­ka rivers. Class I and only 7 miles long, this float is still fair­ly-com­mit­ting, espe­cial­ly dur­ing low water when the entire trip from the mile 7.4 put in to the take out can take 4 – 5 hours on the water. The riv­er isn’t braid­ed so you’re in one chan­nel the entire float, but there are a lot of…  ...more

Overview The Marsh Fork is a trib­u­tary of the Can­ning Riv­er, an arc­tic riv­er that forms the west­ern bound­ary of the Arc­tic Nation­al Wildlife Refuge and flows through the dra­mat­ic Phillip Smith Moun­tains and past the Franklin Moun­tains. The trip we describe is a 35-mile sec­tion of the Marsh Fork and a 5‑mile stretch of the Can­ning Riv­er to the first take­out option that is a grav­el strip at Plunge Creek. The Marsh Fork requires some Class…  ...more

Overview Begin­ning far up into the moun­tains of Lake Clark Nation­al Park, the Stony Riv­er is a lit­tle known but beau­ti­ful glacial riv­er that flows south away from the Rev­e­la­tion Moun­tains and out of Sled Pass to a point where it then flows north­west through the rolling foothills to where it even­tu­al­ly joins the Kuskok­wim Riv­er near the vil­lage of Stony Riv­er. The upper 50 miles of riv­er are inac­ces­si­ble and rarely see sum­mer­time traffic.…  ...more

Overview The Por­cu­pine Riv­er begins in the vast reach­es of inte­ri­or Cana­da in the Ogilvie Moun­tains and trav­els 300 miles of Cana­di­an water­way and 200 miles of Alaskan water­way, to where it joins the Yukon Riv­er near Fort Yukon. It is a Class I wilder­ness trip that is suit­able for any­one com­fort­able with camp­ing in mos­qui­to and bear coun­try and flows through the bore­al for­est of spruce, birch, poplar and wil­low. It has head­wa­ters that join…  ...more

Overview The Niz­ina Riv­er flows out of the Niz­ina Glac­i­er and into the heart of the Wrangell Moun­tains from a point not far from the divide with the St Elias Moun­tains to the east. This area is a part of the largest pro­tect­ed park­lands in the world and from near its source, it offers a 45-mile or 90-mile trip with mod­er­ate Class III dif­fi­cul­ties. It is a trib­u­tary of the Chiti­na Riv­er that flows into the even larg­er Cop­per Riv­er. The…  ...more

Portage Creek is the eas­i­est float near Anchor­age, a 1 – 2 hour float down flat water with the option of take outs at mile 4.5 or 6.5. With kids, how­ev­er, you’ll want to turn it into a half-day adven­ture, stop­ping on grav­el bars to play and explore. You’re nev­er far from Portage Val­ley Road, which can pro­vide a sense of com­fort. Even though the road does not have a deep wilder­ness feel, you are sur­round­ed by sev­er­al-thou­sand foot moun­tains which…  ...more

The Alagnak riv­er, a fed­er­al­ly des­ig­nat­ed Wild and Scenic Riv­er that orig­i­nates in Kat­mai Nation­al Park and Pre­serve, is a fish­er­man’s par­adise and the most pop­u­lar fish­ing float trip in the Bris­tol Bay region. From it’s head­wa­ters at Kukak­lek or Non­vianuk Lake, it is a 75 mile Class I and II riv­er with one Class III canyon that is a mile long and has a short falls, not eas­i­ly portaged or lined due to the steep walls. The riv­er is a good…  ...more

Overview The Now­it­na Riv­er, or Novi as locals refer to it, is a non-glacial Class I riv­er with a short bit of Class II riv­er flow­ing north of the Kuskok­wim Moun­tains and is a Nation­al Wild and Scenic Riv­er. Much of its length is with­in the Now­it­na Nation­al Wildlife Refuge, and for over 300 miles, this tea-col­ored riv­er slow­ly flows out of the Susu­lat­na Hills and Sun­shine Moun­tains, through wood­ed and hilly ter­rain, en route to its confluence…  ...more

The Can­ning Riv­er is an arc­tic riv­er that flows north out of the beau­ti­ful Phillip Smith Moun­tains and forms the west­ern bound­ary of the Arc­tic Nation­al Wildlife Refuge and is an ide­al riv­er for small boats and for those not inter­est­ed in chal­leng­ing white­wa­ter. It is a wide riv­er val­ley formed by the glac­i­ers that once flowed down from the high peak of Mt Cham­ber­lain, the sec­ond high­est moun­tain in the Brooks Range. It is a mean­der­ing river…  ...more

Overview The Yan­ert Riv­er is a lit­tle known gem that is the largest trib­u­tary of the quite pop­u­lar Nenana Riv­er, which forms the east­ern bound­ary of Denali Nation­al Park. It flows rapid­ly through a braid­ed glacial out­wash plain that fills a sec­tion of the ancient Hines Creek Fault line, and marks the zone of col­li­sion between ancient and new­er tec­ton­ic plates. There is a short but deep gorge and the riv­er is only 20 miles in length but by…  ...more

The Chick­aloon Riv­er runs strong and fast out of the Tal­keet­na Moun­tains of cen­tral Alas­ka on its way to merge with the larg­er Matanus­ka Riv­er which runs into Knik Arm of Cook Inlet. There is a 33-mile sec­tion of riv­er that is Class II and III+ and could become a bit more with high water flows. This is not a trip for begin­ners! It is a superb week­end trip for groups with good raft­ing gear and good read and run skills, as the main stretch of…  ...more

Flow­ing out of the west­ern edge of the Chugach Moun­tains, the Kenai Riv­er runs turquoise blue from Kenai Lake through canyons and white­wa­ter till it spills out onto the low ele­va­tion wood­lands to where it final­ly meets the salt water of Cook Inlet near the town of Kenai. For almost 80 miles the riv­er frol­ics through 3 sets of white­wa­ter and forms 7‑mile long Ski­lak Lake. A trip of 4 to 5 days is an ide­al time to spend on this world-class…  ...more

Overview With­in the Brooks Range lies the Endi­cott Moun­tains and in the heart of these moun­tains is the Gates of The Arc­tic Nation­al Park and Pre­serve. Where the moun­tains rise to meet the sky the begin­nings of the North Fork of the Koyukuk Riv­er lie. This is a riv­er that begins in these moun­tains and even­tu­al­ly flows into the giant Yukon-Kusko delta region. But at its start are the 7000-foot high moun­tains of the Gates, with Mt Doon­er­ak the…  ...more

The Ambler Riv­er is a small, clear riv­er with numer­ous small rocky rapids in its upper reach­es and flows out of the Schwat­ka Moun­tains of the west­ern Brooks Range. It has an 80-mile stretch of riv­er to where it joins the Kobuk Riv­er near the town of Ambler with 15 miles of rocky rapids in a sin­gle chan­nel at the start, 35 miles of braid­ed chan­nels in its heav­i­ly forest­ed mid­dle region and, final­ly, anoth­er 30 miles of sin­gle chan­nel all the…  ...more

The Kil­lik Riv­er begins in the north­ern por­tion of Gates of the Arc­tic Nation­al Park and flows north 135 miles to where it joins the Colville Riv­er at what is known as the Kil­lik Bend. There is a 105-mile and a 90-mile sec­tion of riv­er acces­si­ble to rafters and makes for a good 7 to 10 day trip. The riv­er starts in the Endi­cott Moun­tains, in the region of Sur­vey Pass at about GPS67 degrees and W 46.5 min­utes, and flows through a broad,…  ...more

Overview The Tal­keet­na Riv­er is, accord­ing to almost every guide­book or ref­er­ence you may con­sult, the most clas­sic, wilder­ness, white­wa­ter trip in Alas­ka. Its remote loca­tion, steep, fast-water canyon, abun­dant fish­ing and wildlife view­ing make it one of the true clas­sics for sure. It requires a bush plane to fly into the Tal­keet­na Moun­tains where there are huge views of the high­est peak in North Amer­i­ca, Denali, and in the head­wa­ters area…  ...more

Overview The Nabesna Riv­er is a glacial­ly fed Class I and II riv­er that flows north out of the heart of the Wrangell-St Elias Moun­tains and cuts through a shal­low canyon between the Men­tas­ta Moun­tains and the Nut­zotin Moun­tains of south cen­tral Alas­ka. It joins the Chisana Riv­er and, togeth­er, they form the mighty Tanana Riv­er, which flows through inte­ri­or Alas­ka to its con­flu­ence with the Yukon. The riv­er has 80 miles to float through, in an…  ...more

Overview This riv­er is a lit­tle known riv­er, short in length but long in attrib­ut­es, that flows in one of Alaska’s pre­mier wilder­ness park­lands, Lake Clark Nation­al Park and Pre­serve. With the Neo­co­la Moun­tains to the north and the Chig­mit Moun­tains to the south, the riv­er sits in a geo­graph­i­cal­ly impor­tant site where the Alas­ka Range ends and the Aleut­ian Range begins. The scenery along the river’s nar­row moun­tain lined val­ley is the river’s…  ...more

Overview The Salmon Riv­er, a des­ig­nat­ed Nation­al Wild and Scenic Riv­er, locat­ed in the Kobuk Riv­er Nation­al Park is a clear water­way with excep­tion­al scenic attrib­ut­es tra­vers­ing a vari­ety of veg­e­ta­tive zones as it flows south out of the Baird Moun­tains to its con­flu­ence with the Kobuk Riv­er. Gin clear and with­out any obsta­cles, it is a Class I riv­er for the 45 miles to where it joins the Kobuk Riv­er. There is an addi­tion­al 48 miles of…  ...more

Issu­ing out of the aqua­ma­rine waters of Twin Lakes, the Chi­likadrot­na Riv­er, a Wild and Scenic Riv­er, flows past the high peaks of Lake Clark Nation­al Park and Pre­serve and speeds the 60 miles to its con­flu­ence with the Mulchat­na Riv­er. The riv­er runs an aver­age of 5 miles an hour through birch and spruce for­est with the jagged peaks of the south­ern Alas­ka Range stand­ing above it. It can be run in as lit­tle as 4 days but a longer trip is…  ...more

From the Tanana uplands and The Mer­tie Moun­tains above 64 degrees north lat­i­tude, the Charley Riv­er is a Nation­al Wild and Scenic water­way and flows north­ward about 108 miles to the Yukon Riv­er. It is often thought of as one of the pre­mier wilder­ness white­wa­ter trips of the state and flows through three dis­tinct topo­graph­ic regions – open upland val­ley, cliff bound riv­er, and open flood­plain – offer­ing var­ied, and spec­tac­u­lar scenery as well…  ...more

Class III Pack­raft­ing Riv­er. Remote and exot­ic land­scape. 30 miles hik­ing, 30 miles float­ing. Fly-in to Port Hei­den, fly-out from Ani­akchak Bay. 

Overview With the Tal­keet­na Moun­tains to the north and the Chugach Moun­tains to the south, the Matanus­ka Riv­er pours forth from the large Matanus­ka Glac­i­er in a swift, freez­ing cold, tor­rent of Class II to Class IV white­wa­ter for near­ly 70 miles before it meets the sea where the Knik Arm of Cook Inlet reach­es into the inte­ri­or. The riv­er runs down the trench formed where the Bor­der Ranges Fault line sep­a­rates the two mighty moun­tain ranges,…  ...more

Overview The Noatak Riv­er flows through the largest undis­turbed water­shed in North Amer­i­ca and is list­ed as an Inter­na­tion­al Bios­phere Reserve as well as hav­ing a Nation­al Wild and Scenic Riv­er sta­tus. It starts in the dra­mat­ic, granitic, Endi­cott and Schwat­ka Moun­tains in the Gates of the Arc­tic Nation­al Park of the Brooks Range, flow­ing along at a leisure­ly pace in a west­er­ly direc­tion for 300 miles, then turn­ing to the south for anoth­er 100…  ...more

The Chulit­na Riv­er flows to the south out of a huge val­ley from Broad Pass, one of only two breaks in the Alas­ka Range Moun­tains, where the high­way, the train, the geese, and the riv­er, all pass on their way to Cook Inlet. It offers a chance for a float of 75 miles and can take as lit­tle as 3 days in kayaks but can be a nice 4 or 5‑day trip. Canoes and kayaks are fun on the upper but tip­py on the low­er sec­tion. There are three forks of the…  ...more

Overview The Lit­tle Su, as it is known, is a clear stream that flows out of the Tal­keet­na Moun­tains and through a con­strict­ed, boul­der-choked canyon before becom­ing a mild, mean­der­ing riv­er. It is a rel­a­tive­ly small stream, warmer than most Alaskan rivers and offers two dis­tinct type trips. One is a Class IV+, 7‑mile sec­tion of near con­tin­u­ous white­wa­ter suit­able, only for skilled kayak­ers, and is the upper most sec­tion of riv­er that you can…  ...more

The upper Kobuk Riv­er tra­vers­es a wide, for­est-cov­ered val­ley with sweep­ing views from the riv­er of near­by moun­tains. From its start at Walk­er Lake the riv­er is in the Gates of the Arc­tic Nation­al Pre­serve and it has sev­er­al Class IV chal­lenges as well as miles of Class I riv­er. A wilder­ness envi­ron­ment exists down­stream to approx­i­mate­ly the Pah Riv­er area. Fur­ther down­riv­er, the Kobuk is a major trav­el cor­ri­dor for local inhab­i­tants and…  ...more

Locat­ed in south­west Alas­ka and flow­ing out of the Ahk­lun Moun­tains to the Bering Sea, the North Fork of the Good­news Riv­er is an ide­al fam­i­ly and/​or friends, 5 day float trip of 60 miles on an easy riv­er that is choked with fish in the sum­mer months. The upper half lies with­in des­ig­nat­ed wilder­ness in the Togiak Nation­al Wildlife Refuge and is sur­round­ed by green tun­dra cov­ered moun­tains and has good cur­rent in the upper reach­es with little…  ...more

Overview The Nigu and Etivluk Rivers, begin­ning in Gates of the Arc­tic Nation­al Park, are sel­dom-vis­it­ed riv­er val­leys in the high arc­tic at above 68 degrees north lat­i­tude and flow north out of the Brooks Range to join the Colville Riv­er. Begin­ning in the moun­tains, the rivers flow north from the Brooks Range, out of the east­ern edge of the DeLong Moun­tains into the Arc­tic foothills through rolling hills and tun­dra. Both rivers car­ry small…  ...more

The Chatani­ka Riv­er, a Class II riv­er, is a part of the Yukon Riv­er drainage and is a clear or light­ly tan­nic stained rapid-runoff stream. It has its head­wa­ters in the moun­tains of the north­east­ern por­tion of the Alas­ka Range and flows west­ward through val­leys between sum­mits and uplands for about four-fifths of its length before it enters Minto Flats, even­tu­al­ly join­ing the Tolo­vano Riv­er. It is most suit­ed to small craft such as canoes or…  ...more

The Trip Drain Creek to the Gorge: 16 miles The upper sec­tion is all shal­low braids where the riv­er winds its way through the British Moun­tains, an area of beau­ti­ful lime­stone cliffs rich with fos­sils. This is an area of some of the best high ridge hikes that are acces­si­ble from most camps. There are sev­er­al good camp­sites that are just down­riv­er of the land­ing strip mak­ing it fair­ly easy to launch the same day if there is another…  ...more

The John Riv­er is a clas­sic stretch of arc­tic riv­er: sceni­cal­ly spec­tac­u­lar, clear with good fish­ing, great hik­ing in the upper reach­es, no dan­ger­ous sec­tions of riv­er and lots of wildlife view­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties. It flows swift­ly, south out of the arc­tic inte­ri­or through Anak­tu­vuk Pass into the rugged Endi­cott Moutains and rep­re­sents a path from the Inu­it cul­ture of the north to the Athabaskan cul­ture of the forest­ed inte­ri­or. To the north,…  ...more

A major trib­u­tary of the Yukon Riv­er, the Fortymile is a clear water stream that has 6 main forks flow­ing east of the Mer­tie Moun­tains and north of the Tanana State For­est area, out of the Yukon-Tanana Uplands, not far south of the Arc­tic Cir­cle. To the west of the Mer­tie Moun­tains is the Charley Riv­er and the moun­tain ridge­line is the bound­ary for the Yukon-Charley Rivers Nation­al Pre­serve to the west. Both the Charley and the Fortymile are…  ...more

The Gulka­na Riv­er is an approx­i­mate­ly 80-mile long riv­er that can be done in 5 to 7 aver­age length days. It is a Nation­al Wild and Scenic Riv­er and one of Alaska’s most pop­u­lar white­wa­ter riv­er trips. It is an excel­lent fish­ing riv­er trip, as well, with a large King Salmon run and lots of small­er sport fish to try for. The first three miles are, gen­er­al­ly, Class II with 4 mph cur­rent and some Class III. The next 13 to 15 miles to canyon…  ...more

The Alat­na Riv­er is a fed­er­al­ly des­ig­nat­ed wild and scenic riv­er that lies, par­tial­ly, with­in the bound­aries of The Gates of the Arc­tic Nation­al Park. It orig­i­nates in the cen­tral Brooks Range and flows through the Endi­cott Moun­tains. It flows past Cir­cle Lake, has beau­ti­ful views of the Arrigetch Peaks and even­tu­al­ly flows through the Help­me­jack Hills. The low­er sec­tion of the riv­er flows in a SSE direc­tion through the Alat­na Hills to its…  ...more

Overview This inter­est­ing com­bi­na­tion of rivers and lake is a rarely done cir­cuit that would be a great mul­ti-day wilder­ness float trip for kayaks and rafts. With good fish­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties and only Class III at times, it is most­ly a Class II trip and for 80 miles it trav­els through an amaz­ing land­scape. The Nelchi­na Riv­er sys­tem is a rocky glacial riv­er with dai­ly water lev­el fluc­tu­a­tions amid a forest­ed val­ley and with spec­tac­u­lar views of…  ...more

The Delta Riv­er, includ­ing Tan­gle Lakes to mile 212 on the Richard­son High­way, is an out­stand­ing riv­er to float, although there is a set of falls to portage around. It offers a vari­ety of water chal­lenges: qui­et lake, fast and rocky Class I to the falls, good Class II rapids fol­low­ing the falls, Class I mean­der­ing water to Eure­ka Creek, and fast glacial water to the take­out 7 miles below Eure­ka Creek. The scenery is superb with canyon,…  ...more

Overview The Sheen­jek Riv­er begins in a near arc­tic envi­ron­ment and trav­els hun­dreds of miles into the sub­arc­tic, flow­ing a souther­ly route out of the Roman­zof Moun­tains, with­in Alaska’s Brooks Range. It car­ries a Nation­al Wild and Scenic Riv­er dis­tinc­tion and offers sev­er­al options for extend­ed trips into a vast wilder­ness. The great­est dis­tance one can trav­el is about 290 miles from its head­wa­ters to the town of Fort Yukon along the…  ...more

Expe­ri­ence the back­coun­try of Denali Nation­al Park in a way few oth­ers do. You’ll board a bus from the Vis­i­tor Cen­ter and dis­em­bark just before Sable Pass and then immerse your­self in the wild Alas­ka land­scape. Rec­om­mend­ed for inter­me­di­ate back­pack­ers and begin­ner packrafters.

The Alsek is one of the great rivers of the world. It has been a water­way for hun­dreds of thou­sands of years and its mouth has the fifth largest dis­charge of water on the west coast of North and South Amer­i­ca. It flows down through the heart of Klu­ane Provin­cial Park in Cana­da and runs through the largest pro­tect­ed parklands/​biological pre­serves in the world. It cross­es 4 major tec­ton­ic fault lines. It is part of a UNESCO World Her­itage Site…  ...more

The Cop­per Riv­er and its many trib­u­taries drain one of the great­est regions of moun­tain, ice, snow and for­est in North Amer­i­ca. It is a giant riv­er in its low­er reach­es, often flow­ing at rates over 200,000 cubic feet per sec­ond, while its head­wa­ter trib­u­taries flow down steep, rocky gorges and through wide, braid­ed glacial val­leys. It is in a region that encom­pass­es sub­arc­tic to tem­per­ate zones with­in a lat­i­tude range of 60 to 62 degrees. It…  ...more

Float Through Anchor­age Neighborhoods

Overview Flow­ing south away from the Kuskok­wim Moun­tains and out of the Nusha­gak Hills and into Nusha­gak Bay of the world famous Bris­tol Bay region, this riv­er rep­re­sents one of the most impor­tant fish­ery habi­tats in south­west Alas­ka. For 275 miles this riv­er runs as a Class I riv­er that is well suit­ed for fam­i­lies that have good wilder­ness camp­ing skills and enjoy inter­ac­tions with local native peo­ples as it flows past sev­er­al native…  ...more

The Hap­py Riv­er is a gem of an Alas­ka Range Riv­er. Locat­ed in a vast wilder­ness and drain­ing the south slopes from Rainy Pass, and flow­ing into the much larg­er Skwent­na Riv­er, it is a swift, rocky riv­er of mod­er­ate to slight­ly above mod­er­ate dif­fi­cul­ty. Kayak­ers find it an easy run, while it presents sev­er­al chal­lenges to raft­ing par­ties. In the upper val­ley the riv­er is with­in a most gor­geous loca­tion with swift, con­tin­u­ous but small rapids,  ...more

At the very west­ern edge of Alaska’s moun­tain­ous inte­ri­or and adja­cent to the giant delta region of the Yukon Riv­er is the lit­tle known, fed­er­al­ly des­ig­nat­ed Wild and Scenic, Andreaf­sky Riv­er and its trib­u­tary, the East Fork Riv­er. Flow­ing south west away from the Nula­to Hills, the Andreaf­sky Riv­er and its trib­u­tary the East Fork, run for 105 miles and 122 miles as clear streams flow­ing out of alpine tun­dra and into the spruce and birch…  ...more

The Chiti­na Riv­er flows down a huge val­ley that traces a path sep­a­rat­ing the Wrangell Moun­tains and the St Elias Moun­tains of Alaska’s south­east­ern moun­tain region. This riv­er trip can be done in 4 to 8 days depend­ing on where you start your trip. This val­ley sits astride a giant fault line that runs through a region that has formed as col­lid­ing tec­ton­ic plates have pushed up some of the high­est moun­tains in North Amer­i­ca with Mt Logan…  ...more

Lake Creek is one of south cen­tral Alaska’s most famous streams, pri­mar­i­ly due to its supe­ri­or salmon runs. King Salmon use Lake Creek and Chelat­na Lake as a spawn­ing site and return in large num­bers and trout and grayling fol­low right behind them. Lake Creek is a clear, swift, and at times, very strong riv­er with two sec­tions of Class III+ and IV rapids and many tech­ni­cal boul­der gar­den rapids to get through. The two hard­est sec­tions can be…  ...more

This is an easy float (Class I & II) on the largest trib­u­tary of the Holit­na Riv­er. Like the Holit­na this is a world class fish­ing des­ti­na­tion. The riv­er begins at the large White­fish Lake and pass­es through a lot of windy, slow turns mov­ing on its long trip down to meet the Holit­na Riv­er and even­tu­al­ly to the Kuskok­wim Riv­er. It is a remote, rarely trav­eled riv­er, and it is very unlike­ly that you will see any oth­er peo­ple. The upper…  ...more

The Aniuk Riv­er begins in the moun­tains north­west of Howard Pass, an easy pass full of lakes and was a tra­di­tion­al path­way for migrat­ing ear­ly native cul­tures. The riv­er flows south­west­er­ly for 80 miles to its con­flu­ence with the Noatak Riv­er. It is a small, clear water stream with numer­ous rocky rapids. For any­one want­i­ng to do the Noatak Riv­er, yet want an alter­nate, more remote start­ing place, this is an option and tra­vers­es a rarely…  ...more

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