A week-long journey from Chitina to Cordova
The Copper River Expedition takes you through some of the most majestic territory in Alaska over the course of a week of rafting and hiking in the Chugach mountains. You’ll have the opportunity to see bountiful wildlife, calving glaciers and stunning mountains.
This trip is offered as a seven or eight day journey, depending on group schedules. The seven day version of the trip is described below. The eight day itinerary allows for more hiking and weather-related flexibility. A six day version of the trip may be available depending on river flow; please contact us for more details.
DAY 1 – You will meet your guides at the confluence of the Chitina and Copper Rivers, just outside the town of Chitina. You’ll be provided with rain gear and rubber boots, along with waterproof drybags for your personal belongings. Your guides will introduce you to the rafts and discuss the safety equipment and techniques that will keep you warm and dry for the next week. Then it’s off to the races! The Copper will take you through the towering cliffs of Woods Canyon, where you may stop for lunch and watch the water thunder by. After departing the canyon, you and your guides will keep your eyes open for a good camping spot for the night, either by a stream or on a beach or bluff next to the Copper. Once the group has found a good spot, you’ll unload the boats and get ready for a delicious dinner and a beautiful night under the stars.
DAYS 2-3 – Each of these days will take you deeper into the magnificent Chugach Mountains, cut through with massive hanging glaciers. Depending on water level and weather, you’ll spend between a half day and a full day on the water, leaving several opportunities for short hikes as you pass terrain you’d like to explore on foot. In the past, groups have explored Dewey Creek and ruins of an old railroad tunnel holding on beneath the alders, and have spotted bears, moose, and bald eagles perched high above the river’s edge. Where the Bremner River meets the Copper, you’ll see steep bluffs and tremendous sand dunes in sharp contrast the the glaciers coming up!
DAY 4 – Today is the day for all sorts of Alaskan wildlife! The Copper will take you through Baird Canyon to Abercrombie Rapids, where grizzly bears line the banks to hunt for (famous and delicious) Copper River Red Salmon as they make their way upstream. The rapids will propel the rafts towards Miles Lake and its legion of curious and friendly seals. The lake and all of its many beautiful blue and white icebergs are formed by the calving terminus of Miles Glacier. You’ll set up camp for the next two nights beside the lake, with a great view of the ice breaking off into the water.
DAY 5 – You’ll leave the rafts tied up today and go exploring around the edge of the Miles Glacier. From many of the day hikes off of the Miles, you will also have an amazing view of the calving terminus of the Child’s Glacier as well!
DAY 6 – It’s back in the rafts this morning and one last chance to view the Miles and Child’s Glaciers as you get back into the main current of the Copper. You’ll dodge icebergs breaking off of Child’s until the river widens past the face of the glacier, turning into a verdant delta. The delta is known for its wildlife, so keep a look out! The river spreads wider and wider, leaving us at a final night’s camp that appears to be in a different world from the first night’s canyon campsite.
DAY 7 – After six days on the water, your last day begins with several hours of floating downstream towards Cordova. Near the edge of town (“edge” is relative in Alaska – you’ll still be about 20 miles away), you’ll bank the rafts and find a Copper Oar van awaiting your arrival. You’ll have the chance to get your gear out of drybags and put it back into your luggage while the guides dismantle the rafts. The drive into Cordova will give you a chance to prepare for seeing other human beings again. The first stop will be at a hotel to shower, which should also help ease the reentry process.
Cordova is a beautiful, secluded fishing town with no roads (only ferries and planes) connecting it to the rest of the state. We understand that your schedule may require a flight out to Anchorage shortly after dinner, but if you’d like to spend an extra night or more exploring the town, we would be happy to assist you in making reservations and finding local activities for you to try out. Please contact us for more information on transportation and accommodation information.
When you go on the Copper River Expedition 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.