Alsek River Rafting Expedition
Many river running professionals list the Alsek River as World Class. From the big drop at "Lava North," to the class-5 helicopter portage at Turnback Canyon, this river expedition leaves a lasting impression of the ruggedness of the north. Experience the largest contiguous protected park in the world, Kluane Nat'l Park, B.C. Tat Alsek Provincial Park, and Glacier Bay National Park on this Alaskan adventure tour.
The Alsek and Tatshenshini Rivers pour from the Canadian interior to the Gulf of Alaska and cross two of the world’s most spectacular national parks: Kluane Park in Canada, and the Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska.
Following the paths of ancient glaciers, the river carries us into the heart of the world’s largest non-polar ice fields. It is a place still caught in the clutch of the last ice age, a place where the awesome forces of glaciation are still at work. It is one of the world’s most beautiful alpine regions. Today, most of the glaciers of the Alsek valley are retreating. In their wake has sprung a wide variety of life. Wild flowers bloom all summer, berries carpet the hillsides and mushrooms abound in the forests of alder, birch, evergreens, and cottonwood. On the steep hillsides, mountain goat and dall sheep feed on lush grass. Brown bear, wolves, lynx, wolverine, and black bear flourish in the pristine valley. Moose, ducks, geese, and swans, share marshes and ponds. Eagles, falcons, and a variety of hawks, soar in search of small prey. Kingfishers, jeagers, and arctic terns hover and dive for fingerlings in the river. Salmon battle the swift current of the river to return to the same spawning grounds in which they were born.
This adventure trip reaches its full crescendo at Alsek Lake, where the Grand Plateau and Alsek Glaciers create a face of ice nearly 8 miles wide, encircling a deep lake filled with huge icebergs. To see a massive piece of the glacier break off and thunder into the lake is one of those sights you will never forget. To top it all off, towering 15,000 feet above our camp, is the ice capped summit of Mt. Fairweather, the crown jewel of the Alaska coast.
We have three guidelines for our nutritious and delicious food selection: quality, quantity and variety. If you have special needs or desire a copy of our detailed meal descriptions, please let us know. With advanced notice we can accommodate most special dietary requirements (indicate on your pre trip questionnaire). Snacks and treats are provided, but if you have any special favorites, feel free to bring some along. We are able to adapt to special diet requirements. The earlier we know about any dietary considerations, the better we can prepare for them.
Each adventure tour is scheduled to allow for maximum opportunities to see the wildlife of that particular area. The Alsek and Tatshenshini are below tree line and we can see dall sheep, moose, black bear, grizzly bear, and wolf. The north is rich in wildlife even if it is not readily seen. Our guides will do their best to point out animal "sign" such as tracks, scat, bear scratching posts, etc. as they come across them. The interpretation of natural history is a significant focus on our trips. We do our best to impart our knowledge of the geology, wildlife and prehistory of the area. Depending on what trip you are on, you may see different wildlife. You are more likely to see more bears on the Alsek and more moose on the Tat. The Kongakut provides great viewing of caribou herds. Other wildlife you may see are dall sheep, mountain goats, wolves, lynx, wolverine, ducks, geese, swans, eagles, falcons, hawks, and salmon.
- 12 river days
- 11 camping nights
- 1 hotel night
- Charter flight: Dry Bay - Yakutat
- Helicopter portage
- 1st night hotel accommodations
- Transportation to the river
- All river meals
- Shared tent
- Sleeping pad
- Life jacket
- Rubber boots & gloves
- Dry bag
- Appropriate clothing
- Rain gear
- Sturdy hiking boots
Day by Day Itinerary
Our Alsek River adventure begins in Haines Alaska, a small town located 100 miles north of Juneau on the Lynn Canal. We will have an orientation session and gear check. From Haines, we will drive 165 miles to Haines Junction in Canada's Yukon territory. The stretch of road from Haines is one of the most spectacular in the world. At first, the drive follows the Chilkat River, home of the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve, the drive then climbs out of the coastal valley into the high alpine region, a wonderland of wild flowers, glaciers and incredible vistas. We will arrange hotel accommodations in Haines Junction.
About The Operator:
Chilkat Guides, Ltd.
Chilkat Guides was founded in 1978 by Bart Henderson after he led the first guided trip down the Tatshenshini River. Since then we have been expanding our knowledge of the region as well as our trip offerings. We have the best guides in the business. Chilkat Guides has a Guide School, where men and women can go through a demanding hands-on guide training. Rafting is our specialty, lasting memories are our business.
Each year we work to make our expedition trips a safe, fun, and memorable time for you our guests. It is our guides’ love for their jobs and love for the beauty of the wonders surrounding us that makes Chilkat Guides a top pick for expedition rafting trips. We exceed all safety standards and our guides are some of the most talented and qualified rafters in the business. Our guides are locals to the region and can share with you the “inside story” that guides from elsewhere may not understand.