River Trips

Floating a wilderness river is a wonderful way to see the backcountry and experience the beauty, adventure and remoteness of Alaska. These trips can  provide great opportunities to hike, fish, explore and see a variety of wildlife. Nearly all of our river trips are very remote and require one or more flights in small aircraft with floats or tundra tires to a high mountain lake or tundra air strip. The float down the river will be in large inflatable rafts or inflatable canoes or kayaks. We provide all of the gear necessary to travel safely on these rivers in relative comfort. The meals on our trips are prepared fresh each day by our river guides and are hearty and nutritious.

Alyeska Mountain and River Guides has a large repertoire of rivers throughout Alaska that we know well and on which we can offer trips. Here are some of our favorites.

Aniakchak River

Rapids on the Aniakchak River below "The Gates."

 

The Aniakchak River in the Alaska Peninsula is a wild and fascinating river that originates in an active volcano on the Alaska Peninsula and flows through a magnificent landscape to the Gulf of Alaska. The crater floor has abundant wildlife and lush, grassy meadows surrounding cinder cones, steam vents and carbonate springs. The crater is a fascinating place to explore and offers days of fantastic hiking. The river is very clear and very fast with many rapids and narrow canyons. Fishing can be excellent for char and sockeye salmon. Aniakchak National Monument is a very remote region of Alaska with extreme conditions. This trip is recommended only for the adventurous travelers.

Alagnak River

Brown bears frequent the many bear trails on the shores of Kukaklek Lake and the Alagnak River.

The Alagnak River is a lovely river with  abundant wildlife, excellent water quality, good hiking, wide open scenery, and excellent fishing for 10 species of fish. Also known as the Branch River, it starts at Kukaklek Lake surrounded by treeless tundra in the northernmost part of Katmai National Park and flows to the Kvichak River and on to the Bering Sea. This is a fly fisherman's river with rich and varied fish habitat. The abundance of sockeye salmon make this river a destination for bears from all over. Brown bears are very abundant around the lake and along the entire stretch of river.

Copper River

Sand dunes, eratics and kettle ponds remain where Miles Glacier has retreated up the Copper River Valley.

Floating the Copper River is a spectacular trip through one of the largest protected wilderness preserves in the world: Wrangell St. Elias / Kluane World Heritage Site. As it courses from the Wrangell Mountains to Prince William Sound, the river passes through the barrier mountains, the highest coastal mountains in the world. Here numerous glaciers dump their icy loads into the river. Miles and Childs Glacier calve directly into the river creating an unbelievable sight and some tense moments as you float by.  The river also has historical significance as the route for the old narrow gauge Kennicott railroad. Old trestle bridges and section houses still stand in many places. We access the river after a half day drive from Anchorage.

Charley River

Abandoned trapper's cabin along the Charlie River.

From its headwaters in the Yukon-Tanana uplands near the Yukon border, the beautiful gin-clear waters of the Charlie flow from its source in the rugged Mertie Mountains  through spectacular rocky gorges on its way north to the Yukon River. The river offers thrilling white water rapids and the water quality is second to none. These canyon walls are home to a wide variety of raptors such as peregrine falcons, goshawks and sharp-shinned hawks as well as dall sheep. The grayling fishing is superb throughout the length of the river. The old homestead's and trapper's cabins in the Charlie River country are another memorable feature of this trip. Trips on the Charley start in Fairbanks with a drive on the Steese Highway to Circle on the Yukon River.

Talachulitna River

Class 3 rapids in The Notch - first canyon on the Talachulitna.

The "Tal" is a beautiful river flowing out of Judd Lake in the Alaska Range and continuing to the Skwentna River. A float on this river combines three distinctive sections. The upper Talachulitna Creek is a very narrow, very clear and very fast moving stream in the spruce forests. When the creek enters the Talachulitna River, the stream flow slows considerably, but the fishing for salmon, rainbow and grayling improves. At the end of the day, the river enters it first canyon and its first major rapid and the canyons and rapids continue until the glacial Skwentna River. The Talachulitna is accessible with a short flight from Lake Hood in Anchorage.

Nigu River

Flying through the high peaks of the Brooks Range to the Nigu.

The lonely Nigu River is a beautiful stream that originates in  the Central Brooks Range far north of the Arctic Circle. It flows northwest  through the range of the Western Arctic Caribou Herd. At over 600,000 animals, this herd is the largest in North America and the center of a great migration. The river runs for 70 miles through Gates of the Arctic National Park and  the National Petroleum Reserve where it joins the Etivluk River which flows into the mighty Colville River. Starting in Fairbanks,  we charter a small aircraft to Bettles then fly  in a smaller plane through the most magnificent peaks of the Brooks Range.. The float begins on small unnamed lake surrounded by tundra hills and craggy peaks. This is a truly epic Alaska wilderness experience in the most remote part of all of Alaska. Visitors here must be prepared for extreme conditions and solitude.

Kobuk River

Sheefish from the Kobuk River.

Draining the south slope of the Brooks Range for 374 miles from Walker Lake to Kotzebue, the Kobuk River is one of the top fishing rivers in Alaska. It has large and abundant grayling and char and huge runs of chum salmon. The Kobuk, however is known for the exotic sheefish which enter the river in mid June and swim to the upper river to spawn. The large, silvery sheefish are known as the eskimo tarpon due to their aggressive nature. The Kobuk originates in the high mountains in the southern part of the Gates of the Arctic National Park. The trip starts in Fairbanks with a charter flight to Bettles then a small float plane through the Brooks Range. The float trip can start at Walker Lake or Lake Minikokosa. 

Canning River

Hiking along the Canning River in the Shublik Mountains.

This is an exciting trip to one of the least visited parts of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Beginning our float trip from  a remote airstrip at the headwaters of the river, we float down the Marsh Fork  to the Canning River then on to the Arctic Ocean. The trip begins in Fairbanks with a flight to Arctic Village. From here we fly small bush planes through rugged mountain passes to the Franklin Mountains on north side of the Brooks Range. The Canning flows through magnificent mountain valleys, canyons and wide open tundra hills. Wildlife is abundant, the hiking is superb and the fishing for grayling and arctic char can be excellent.