3 or 4 Day Rafting Trip down 3 glacial rivers
The following is a sample itinerary for this trip. Due to individual abilities and goals, as well as the demanding environment of Alaska, all of our trips are customized as they unfold. The guide will constantly make decisions based on weather, logistics and group dynamics to maximize each day’s experience. There can be quite a bit of variation, but we always strive to make every trip your best ever.
The three day version is described below. We highly recommend the four day trip, where you’ll travel the same distance on the river but also have the opportunity to include day hikes over the varied Alaskan terrain to explore some of the beautiful sights you’ll see from the water!
DAY 1 – Before your journey begins, you’ll need to have the best equipment possible! You’ll meet your guides at the Motherlode Powerhouse in McCarthy, where they’ll outfit you with rain gear, rubber boots, and waterproof drybags for your personal belongings. Once you’re packed and ready, you and your guides will drive down to the Kennicott River where your vessels for the next few days are waiting! After loading the boats, your guides will once again go over the plan for the next few days and teach you safety techniques for rafting in glacial rivers. Finally, it’s off to the races and on to the Kennicott River!
Fed by the 23 mile long Kennicott Glacier, the Kennicott River is nimble and full of turns (and opportunities for getting splashed!). Eventually, the Kennicott feeds into the three-times-as-large Nizina River. The Nizina starts wide, but soon narrows into the infamous Nizina Canyon, filled with rapids and tight turns through which your guides will expertly steer your rafts. After surviving the canyon, you’ll make camp for the night along the edge of the confluence of the Nizina and Chitina Rivers.
DAY 2 – The second day of the journey will be spent entirely along the Chitina River and its intricately braided channels. This section of the Chitina is teeming with wildlife, and we’ll keep a lookout for spawning salmon, grizzly bears and soaring eagles. We’ll also have the opportunity to tie up the boats and explore some of the local terrain on foot. One of the biggest sights (and hardest to miss) is what remains of Nelson Mountain after a landslide in 1993 carried a large portion of it more than a third of the way across the Chitina River floodplain – more than three kilometers from where it began!
DAY 3 – The final day on the river takes you along the last reaches of the Chitina as it reaches its confluence with the Copper River in the shadow of the towering Chugach Range. After stopping for one last riverside lunch, you’ll float the last few miles towards the town of Chitina and the endpoint of your journey with us. Chitina is a great town to explore, with more salmon than you can shake a dipnet at!
In addition to Chitina, we also recommend you explore McCarthy and Kennicott before your trip. The two towns offer a tremendous amount of history as a conduit back to the turn of the century mining era, as well as a beautiful glacier for day hikes or ice climbing! We would be happy to arrange these or other adventures (as well as accommodations) for you in addition to your Alaska River Journey.
When you go on the Alaska River Journey with us, you’ll get our most experienced and talented guides along with all rafting gear (dry-bags, rain gear, life jackets, rubber boots and tents) and delicious meals – since we’re travelling by raft, we can bring fantastic fresh fruits, vegetables, meats and cheeses to cook up top-of-the-line backcountry meals.