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Thread: Juneau rafting opportunities

  1. #1
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    Default Juneau rafting opportunities

    I'm moving to Juenau at the end of the month, and trying to figure out if I should sell my raft and buy some kayaks. I did see that there was a rather short Mendenhall Galcier float trip, but was wondering if there were any other opportunities. It is a 14ft aire if that matters.

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    It's been decades since I lived in Juneau, but I do remember floating the bottom end of Eagle River once. I think that's even shorter than Mendenhall. Personally, if I was to move back to S.E. AK I would sell the rafts and buy sea kayaks. Lot more useful around there.

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    Thanks for the input, hard to argue with your experience and I was leaning that way anyway. Now I just need to do some kayak research, and see what courses are available.

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    If I lived in Juneau, I would take the ferry to Hains and float the Alsek-Tat. That has been on my list of rivers to do for some time. Maybe someday.

  5. #5

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    Alaska Boat and Kayak sells and rents sea kayaks here in Juneau. They could also hook you up with some lessons. http://www.juneaukayak.com/retail.html

    Quote Originally Posted by fbxballoon View Post
    Thanks for the input, hard to argue with your experience and I was leaning that way anyway. Now I just need to do some kayak research, and see what courses are available.

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    ^^^^^ They and Foggy Mountain Shop are about it for kayaks in Juneau anymore. Seems like at one time they were everywhere but that certainly peaked and fell.

    Not to say that there aren't any rivers in the area that are float-able but on the road system they are all pretty short 3-4 miles and not that exciting. Mendenhall's rapids last about 5 minutes and you are back to the flats. Eagle and Herbert are pretty tame and you'd have to hike/carry the raft several miles. I know so people will pack a raft up lemon creek but that must be a heck of a hike. Otherwise, you'll need to be flown or riverboated out to someplace to raft back. You don't see many rafts around here other than the tour companies. Lots of sea kayaks and a few whitewater kayaks but not much for rafts.

  7. #7
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    Smile Taku River Float

    Quote Originally Posted by fbxballoon View Post
    I'm moving to Juenau at the end of the month, and trying to figure out if I should sell my raft and buy some kayaks. I did see that there was a rather short Mendenhall Galcier float trip, but was wondering if there were any other opportunities. It is a 14ft aire if that matters.
    The Taku River comes to mind as a longer multi-day float trip. River classification would rate at most a III+ in sections. In the tributaries/headwaters you'd have exceptional Salmon, OK Steelhead and fun Char fishing.

    Couple things to keep in mind on this wilderness float are:
    -- Starts in Canada ends in Alaska
    -- The watershed is snowmelt plus Southeast Rain (highly variable)
    -- Much of the trip will be swiftwater through the forest of Big timber (sweepers + log-jams in fast current probable)
    -- Highlights of trip can be multi-mode, physical challenge, etc.
    -- Ends at tidewater and tidewater glaciers.


    Rafters or Kayakers venturing a multi-day should have good wilderness skills, decent at scouting/strategy, knowledgeable on swiftwater rescue techniques, physically fit, and be self reliant.

    Your 14' AIRE raft or cat would be an excellent choice!

    Cheers,
    Brian

  8. #8
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Rivers in Southeast Alaska

    I'm not personally familiar with the rivers down that way, but you have the following that would be worth some investigation at least; perhaps someone here knows something about them?

    • Alsek River
    • Chilkat River
    • Taiya River
    • Katzehin River
    • Antler River
    • Taku River
    • Whiting River
    • Stikine River
    • Unuk River
    • Chickamin River
    • Salmon River


    A map on our Region 1 page shows the location of these rivers.

    I have placed a quick-reference chart on this site, which lists about 350 rivers (or more), and the print, DVD and map resources currently extant that provide some information on the rivers. Several of the rivers that I listed in this post are on that chart. If you click on the appropriate reference, you'll be taken to our store where you can see if the resource is worth your time. You can find the chart ON THIS PAGE, toward the bottom. I am going to move it to another section of the site later, but for now, that's where you can find it. I hope all of you find it useful for trip-planning purposes.

    I am actively working on information of this kind, and would be very interested in hearing from anyone with knowledge or experience on these rivers in this post.

    Thanks!

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
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    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
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  9. #9
    Moderator kingfisherktn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Strahan View Post
    I'm not personally familiar with the rivers down that way, but you have the following that would be worth some investigation at least; perhaps someone here knows something about them?
    • Alsek River
    • Chilkat River
    • Taiya River
    • Katzehin River
    • Antler River
    • Taku River
    • Whiting River
    • Stikine River
    • Unuk River
    • Chickamin River
    • Salmon River

    A map on our Region 1 page shows the location of these rivers.

    I have placed a quick-reference chart on this site, which lists about 350 rivers (or more), and the print, DVD and map resources currently extant that provide some information on the rivers. Several of the rivers that I listed in this post are on that chart. If you click on the appropriate reference, you'll be taken to our store where you can see if the resource is worth your time. You can find the chart ON THIS PAGE, toward the bottom. I am going to move it to another section of the site later, but for now, that's where you can find it. I hope all of you find it useful for trip-planning purposes.

    I am actively working on information of this kind, and would be very interested in hearing from anyone with knowledge or experience on these rivers in this post.

    Thanks!

    -Mike
    Mike, I've been on the Unuk in a jet boat a couple times 20 years ago and we were only able to get up maybe 10-15 miles, but it all depends on the water levels. A good friend floated it in a raft from the headwaters out of a lake in Canada and had a few issues but if I remember right it wasn't too consequential. I went up the Chickamin about 5 miles but you can't float out from too far up because of some severe rapids and blockages on the river. My friend wanted to float it from the headwaters but changed his mind after he flew it in a chopper.

  10. #10
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    Stikine floating out from Canada has a class VI section. That would be exciting.

    Logistics of flying to a Canadian launch site always involves some additional legal steps. More money too, I would guess. Other than the very few, short local Juneau rivers, the only rfloat that seems to be road accessible is the Chilkat, and that's after a ferry ride to Haines. At least a portion of it is accessible from the highway. Looks doable from what I've seen of it.

    I still think I would ditch the rafts and take up sea kayaking.

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