Upper Alsek River Rafting
The Alsek is an international wilderness river flowing from the Yukon Territory of Canada to the Gulf of Alaska. It is the 5th largest drainage on the west coast of the Americas and runs abreast of the largest non-polar ice field and highest coastal mountain range in the world.
The Alsek flows through the northernmost and southernmost limits of the geographical ranges of an estimated 53 species of mammals and 125 species of birds. The upper Alsek is home to the largest concentration of grizzly bears in Canada. Sightings of bears, moose, Dall’s sheep, and mountain goats are common.
On our Upper Alsek River trip we will paddle roughly 50 miles from near the Yukon village of Haines Junction to Lowell Glacier in 16 and 18-ft. oar rafts. This section of the river only has a few rapids.
We allow for several layover days to accommodate inclement weather and to explore the surrounding forests, ridges, and valleys. One of the many joys of this expedition is experiencing the heart of Kluane National Park with the comfort of a fully outfitted river trip. Enjoy gourmet camp food around the campfire, sleep in comfortable tents with plush sleeping pads, and revel in the wildest scenery on earth.
Our Alsek rafting trip has a lot of variety and numerous wildlife sightings. As a true wilderness expedition, it has challenges and the weather is not always our friend, but with the help of our seasoned guides, this trip is suitable for those with a thirst for adventure and a reasonable level of personal fitness. Join us for the trip of a lifetime.
What follows is a general flow of events. Expect the unexpected and prepare to be flexible.
Day 1: Arrive in Haines, AK in time for our 4 pm orientation meeting. You will be staying at the Hotel Halsingland (included) where we will rendezvous for the pre-trip meeting. Meals on your own this day.
Day 2: 7:00 AM van departure up the Chilkat Valley and across the Canadian Border (You must have your passport) then to our put-in near the Yukon community of Haines Junction. It is a 3-hour drive to the Junction where we will eat lunch before beginning the final vehicle leg along a rough 4-wheel drive route to our launch site at Serpentine Creek. Depending on the weather we may camp at the put-in or push off for a camp downstream.
Day 3-4: Time to raft, hike, and look for bears. Kluane National Park and Preserve is grizzly bear and moose country so keep your cameras and binoculars handy. We keep the river time short on day 3 as we scan the shores for wildlife and make frequent stops to explore on foot. On day 4 the pace picks up and we’ll settle in for some river miles as we raft through the heart of the Grizzly Bear Special Preservation Area keeping a watchful eye for our furry friends.
Days 5 – 6: We will spend two days at Lowell Lake to soak in the ice age vista and hike Goatherd Mountain for a close-up view of the resident mountain goats. This is an advanced hike with some exposed bouldering and some folks may elect to hike along the iceberg-studded lake instead.
Day 7: Today is the take-out day. After an early breakfast, we will break down camp for the exhilarating helicopter ride back to civilization. Your driver will be waiting at the helicopter pad to bring you back to Haines, Alaska.