Photo Credit: Kenai River Rafting

Alaska Rafting Tours

Alaska Rafting Tours  (:46)

Floating down the river, you hear the rush of water approaching. Suddenly you see them: the unmistakable caps of whitewater. Before you know it you're in the middle of the rapids, holding on tight as water splashes all around. You spin and speed down the raging tides, white-knuckled yet smiling from ear to ear. Or perhaps you'd prefer to skip the rollercoaster ride and relax on a gentle float through a silent stretch of pristine Alaska wilderness, as nature goes about its business.Whether you choose a whitewater adventure or a scenic float trip, visitors will enjoy their time on the water, regardless of age or ability. These trips are some of the best ways to connect with nature in Alaska. You're outdoors, away from motors and exhaust, working closely in concert with the water. Because of our massive glacier runoff and rainwater drainage, Alaskan rivers serve up more adventure than most anything you'd find in the Lower 48—from the Kenai Peninsula's Sixmile River to Denali's Nenana River.

There are so many amazing adventures to be had in Alaska. So why should you go Alaska whitewater rafting or calm water rafting?

It's Remote

Alaska rafting puts you right in the middle of nature, giving you up-close views of Alaska's wildlife.and its unique topography. Glaciers have carved U-shaped valleys and channels that move swiftly through the landscape. It also gives you an up-close look at wildlife.

It's Easy

Even a first-timer can experience advanced Alaska whitewater runs. Because of the high level of professionalism and experience in Alaska's river guides, you needn't have gone rafting before to enjoy it.

It's Cheap

Dollar for dollar, rafting is one of Alaska's best values. A basic 2-3 hour Alaska whitewater rafting trip or scenic float could cost between $50-85, versus $175 or more for a 1.5-hour flightseeing trip, or $450 or more for a full-day bear-viewing safari.

It's Historic

Rafting was used by those trying to make it upriver to the goldfields at the turn of the century. Sure, today's rafts are made of advanced vinyls and not the hand-hewn log rafts of yesteryear. But people moved through the country by water looking for gold, to go hunting, or to migrate to new, richer areas. And it's easy to imagine yourself as a pioneer while traveling this way.

How-To Tips

When planning a rafting trip, make sure you pick the right style for you. There are two basic types:

  • Whitewater rafting: Sometimes akin to a rollercoaster ride: Calm water followed by raging tides. You'll be white-knuckled but smiling from ear to ear. (Don't worry—even first-timers can handle it, and your guides are experienced.)
  • Scenic Floats: Sounds mellow, and it is. Relax on a gentle float through a silent stretch of pristine Alaska wilderness, as nature goes about its business. The emphasis is on wildlife viewing.

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McCarthy-Kennicott View All

Single to multi-day tours in beautiful Wrangell St. Elias National Park

Season: May 15 to Sep 15 $95+ per person 4 hrs

Tak­ing to the rivers is such an excel­lent way to explore Wrangell St. Elias Nation­al park, and this oper­a­tor out of McCarthy offers day trips that let you embrace the won­ders of the park in a com­fort­able, hands-on, way. Both day trips are four hours. One allows you to pad­dle around a glacial lake, relax, and take in the scenery. The oth­er takes it up a notch by float­ing down­riv­er through class 2 and 3 rapids after a brief pad­dle around the lake.  ...more

Season: May 15 to Sep 15 $195+ per person 6 to 8 hrs

Expe­ri­ence the thrill of try­ing out a new sport: pack­raft­ing. Led by expert guides, you’ll leave from the town of Ken­ni­cott out to the Alaskan back­coun­try, then strap a raft to your back (it’s under 9 pounds) and set off on an inter­pre­tive walk down to a lake. Then unpack the raft and put in the water. You’ll learn how to use and maneu­ver these unique boats in Class I‑II water, and even have the pos­si­bil­i­ty of tak­ing on some Class III rapids.  ...more

Season: May 15 to Sep 15 $775 per person 2 - 7 days

Sprawl­ing Wrangell-St. Elias Nation­al Park has huge moun­tains, North America’s largest con­cen­tra­tion of glac­i­ers, and thou­sands of rivers — but just two roads. That’s why tak­ing to the local rivers is such an excel­lent way to explore the park: this oper­a­tor out of McCarthy offers mul­ti-day adven­tures that embrace the rugged won­ders of the park, while keep­ing you com­fort­able enough so that you relax and enjoy it.

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Juneau View All

Relaxing waters with glacier views on the Mendenhall River

Season: May 01 to Sep 30 $149 3.5 hrs

The focus of the 3.5‑hour Menden­hall Glac­i­er Float Trip is great views of the name­sake glac­i­er, which is 1.5 miles wide, 150 feet high, and the most famous part of the mas­sive Juneau Ice­field that even John Muir once raved about. Glide along the ice­berg-stud­ded lake and scope out the glac­i­er, get­ting up-close views of hang­ing glac­i­ers and tow­er­ing peaks. Keep an eye out for birds nest­ing in the rocky cliffs, as well as otters, seals, black  ...more

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Talkeetna & Willow View All

Calm waters with a view of Denali on the Talkeetna, Susitna, and Chulitna Rivers

Season: May 16 to Sep 16 $84+ 2 hr to full day trips

Float through the remote wilder­ness of Denali State Park with the com­pa­ny that has offered expert­ly guid­ed raft­ing day trips for the past 16 years. You’ll get breath­tak­ing views of glacial moraines, boul­der fields, gran­ite canyons, and sparkling hematite beach­es. Wildlife abounds in this spec­tac­u­lar coun­try, and it’s quite com­mon to see eagles, bears, fox, wolf, lynx, beavers, and moose, as well as many species of birds and fish. Choose a  ...more

Season: May 15 to Sep 15 $99 per person

Go for a relax­ing 3‑hour float trip down gen­tle Wil­low Creek as you take in the gor­geous scenery of the Alaskan back­coun­try. Depart­ing from Pio­neer Lodge, just off the Parks High­way south of Tal­keet­na, you’ll board a raft with up to 6 oth­ers and an expert guide. Then just kick back, or grab a pad­dle if you like: You can expect easy-glid­ing Class I and II rapids on this gen­tle river.

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Glacier View View All

Amazing Matanuska Glacier views just under two hours from Anchorage

Season: Jun 11 to Aug 20 $95+ 2.5 to 3 hrs

Expe­ri­ence a scenic float along a glacial riv­er. Just 90 min­utes from Anchor­age, the Matanus­ka Glac­i­er is Alaska’s largest road-acces­si­ble glac­i­er, and the water run­ning under­neath cre­ates a riv­er that’s per­fect for raft­ing. You’ll float down­stream for up to 2 hours, tak­ing in the scenery along the way — moun­tains, riv­er chan­nels, hill­sides, moraines — and look­ing out for wildlife. It’s fun for the whole fam­i­ly — any­one ages 5 and up can do this  ...more

Season: Jun 01 to Aug 20 $120+ 3.5 to 4 Hours

If you’re new to white­wa­ter raft­ing or expe­ri­enced in shoot­ing through rapids, Lion’s Head makes for an excit­ing white­wa­ter raft­ing trip. You’ll spend 2.5 hours speed­ing down class II, III, and IV white­wa­ter, either pad­dling your­self or hang­ing on as your guide steers the raft down­stream. All the while, you’ll be pass­ing through gor­geous wilder­ness — wide-open vis­tas with mas­sive rock for­ma­tions — where you’ll have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to look for  ...more

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Girdwood & Kenai Peninsula View All

Explore the Kenai or Sixmile Rivers, only 40 minutes to 2 hours from Anchorage

Season: May 21 to Sep 11 $120+ 3 or 4.5 hrs

Six Mile Creek is one of the most famous — and most chal­leng­ing — white­wa­ter runs in the entire state of Alas­ka. Your heart will be pound­ing and your mus­cles burn­ing as you pad­dle through rapids called Big Rock Drop,” Suck­hole,” and Let’s Make a Deal.”

Season: May 25 to Sep 15 $649 per person

Expe­ri­ence the wilder­ness of the Chugach Nation­al For­est from sev­er­al dif­fer­ent per­spec­tives. Com­bine a heli­copter ride, alpine hike, glacial lake tour, riv­er raft­ing and train ride all in 9 – 10 hours! It’s one big and bold Alas­ka tour de force with Chugach Adventures.

Season: May 29 to Sep 15 $200+

The orig­i­nal hall­mark trip that got the Alas­ka Rail­road to bring the Glac­i­er Dis­cov­ery to Spencer Glac­i­er in 2002. This is one of the most scenic glac­i­er riv­er trips in Alas­ka and a per­fect float for all ages. Your trip begins with a scenic ride on Alas­ka Railroad’s Glac­i­er Dis­cov­ery train, which runs from Anchor­age, Gird­wood, and oth­er pick-up points along the rail­belt. Enjoy a beau­ti­ful ride down Tur­na­gain Arm and the Plac­er Riv­er Val­ley and  ...more

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Denali View All

Calm waters & exciting rapids with gorgeous canyon views on the Nenana River

Season: Year Round Group HIkes $199/person | Denali Park Road $895/vehicle (up to 8 people) Full Day

Tra­verse Alas­ka can craft ful­ly-guid­ed cus­tom adven­tures, or set you up on a trip into the Alas­ka wilder­ness arm­ing you with some know-how — and pro­vid­ing you with the inde­pen­dence to freely explore. Tra­verse Alaska’s own­er, Joe and his local team can help facil­i­tate stays in lodges, cab­ins, tents or yurts, and pro­vide the nec­es­sary gear and instructions..

Season: Jun 05 to Aug 15 $97+ 3 - 9.5 hrs

Just out­side Denali Nation­al Park, the Nenana Riv­er offers a unique raft­ing expe­ri­ence: The riv­er is big and icy cold, with glacial­ly fed waters. But this raft­ing out­fit­ter based near the Park Entrance offers a soul-warm­ing expe­ri­ence on the riv­er, which makes an excel­lent coun­ter­part to a bus tour through the nation­al park. Choose a quick 3 hour trip on mild water or splash through some rapids. Or opt for a longer excur­sion rang­ing from 5.5 -  ...more

Season: May 20 to Sep 18 $99

Expe­ri­ence the thrill of rush­ing rapids or a mild white­wa­ter float through one of America’s great wilder­ness areas with raft­ing from Denali Park Vil­lage. Oper­at­ing on two stretch­es of the Nenana Riv­er for near­ly 30 years, this company’s guides not only know the area, but also are versed in its nat­ur­al his­to­ry. Their guide safe­ty train­ing pro­gram is among the most exten­sive in Alas­ka. Add to that a pri­vate river­side launch, a brand-new boathouse,  ...more

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Haines View All

Mild waters through the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve

$137+ 4 - 6.5 hrs

With bald eagles, bears, and gor­geous scenery, these tours out of Haines are soft adven­ture at their best: You don’t have to have any pre­vi­ous expe­ri­ence to enjoy these kayak­ing and raft­ing tours, but you’ll get the up-close expe­ri­ence of a vet­er­an adventurer.

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Cooper Landing View All

Scenic floats & whitewater trips in Wrangell St. Elias National Park

Season: May 24 to Sep 15 $65+ 2 to 7 hrs

Alas­ka Wild­land Adven­tures pio­neered float­ing the mel­low, turquoise Kenai Riv­er and has oper­at­ed con­tin­u­ous­ly since 1977. Join them for a serene 2‑hour float, or take on a 7‑hour adven­ture, com­plete with fun Class II+ rapids and a cruise through a glacial lake. AWA’s Kenai Riv­er Scenic Float Trip offers a nice intro­duc­tion to the riv­er, tak­ing you along a stretch of the scenic Upper Kenai closed to motor­ized boats. Watch for wildlife as your  ...more

Season: May 01 to Oct 01 $59+ per person 3 - 9 hrs

Alas­ka Riv­er Adven­tures Kenai Riv­er raft­ing trips are some of its most pop­u­lar and acces­si­ble excur­sions – and are a great val­ue too. Full day trips show­case 19 miles of Alas­ka wild from Kenai Lake to Ski­lak Lake, giv­ing plen­ty of time for spot­ting wildlife, his­toric spots and gor­geous views from all angles. When you have just a few hours, a scenic and serene 14-mile float of the Upper Kenai Riv­er pro­vides a vari­ety of sights, from historic  ...more

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