Southcentral Alaska Float Trips

Its Boundaries

This refers to the rivers flowing south from the Alaska Range and east of the Tordrillo Mountains, north from the Chugach Mountains and the west out of the Wrangell Mountains. All the watersheds of the Susitna, Matanuska and the Copper Rivers are here.

What It’s Like

The Southcentral rivers tend to have more whitewater than flatwater, so almost every trip is full of shooting-rapids adrenaline—but you’ll also float through some majestic canyons, and near giant glaciers.

The area offers some great fishing—like at Lake Creek or Talachulitna Creek, which have fishing lodges —but in general, the region’s fishing opportunities are not on the scale of the southwestern rivers. Your consolation prize? The white water found on the Talkeetna, the Chickaloon, the Happy, the Nizina or Copper will give you more than just a fishing trip.

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Float Trips

Southcentral Alaska Float Trips

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

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 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 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

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 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 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

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

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

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

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

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

Float Through Anchor­age Neighborhoods

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