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Thread: Denali Hwy to Lake Louise?

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    Member jojomoose's Avatar
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    Default Denali Hwy to Lake Louise?

    I was wondering if it was possible to float from the Denali Hwy to Lake louise. I was discussing with my hunting partner that it would probrably be easier to go from lake louise to the denali hwy but had numerous question regarding that route. Reading on the the forums it sound like Tyone River could be very difficult to float when water levels drop in the fall. But i have also heard of people jet boating the Tyone as well. I was just wanting some clerification on Tyone before i continued on with the plan.

    Another question i had for the people who frequent the unit thirteen area, is.. How much boat/people traffic you see on the upper Susitna from devels canyon to the Denali Hwy? it seems to me that if you can get to it by road then i will end up seeing my fair share of company out there, during the fall caribou hunting season. Any help regarding this issue would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Joe.

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    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    Water flows out of Lake Louise into the Susitna River, so you'd be pulling rafts up river to get to Lake Louise. Conversely, you cannot float from Lake Louise to the Denali Highway because you'd have to drag upriver to the Denali Highway (a long ways).

    Can you float down the Susitna to somewhere near the mouth of the Tyone? You could, but you'd need to find a place to land a plane to get you back to where you launch from the Denali.
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    As AKDoug said, both of those rivers flow downstream to their confluence, meaning to do a point to point, you would have to find a way to float up river. You could float down either one but would need a pickup of some kind (jet boat, air boat, or plane) from the junction or nearby. If you are going to float down one, I would suggest the Big Su just because it would take a long time to get across the lakes without a good power source on your raft.

    Floating the Tyone wouldn't be too big of an issue. The problems with that river come up when you are running an outboard due to the frequent rocks just under the surface that take out their fair share of lower units. Slow water in the upper sections make it very difficult if not impossible to see the rocks before you hit them, especially if there is a light breeze. Usually, those who run the river either know it well or do significant damage to their boat/motor.....sometimes both. Being that you can't float out due to Devil's Canyon, you want to bring lots of spare parts and a good working knowledge of how to fix your equipment.

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    Member jojomoose's Avatar
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    This is all good info and appreciate it very much...So if we throw and outboard into this whole issue, to get accross lake louise/susitna/tyone, then float the tyone river, and once we get to the susitna we throw the outboard back on and motor up to the pickup point at the susitna/denali hwy bridge. Sounds like one heck of an adventure, but is it worth it. Are the numbers of people to caribou worth going through the trouble, if so. i would love to experience and the story of going from Lake louise to the denali highway and in the meantime maybe even harvesting some critters. thanks for all the info so far, and will keep checking back.

    Joe.

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    not happening. The section of river between the denali and the tyone confluence will be too fast, powerful and braided for a kicker motor hung off your raft. Might want to think constructively here and plan a new trip.

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    Yep. Kicker ain't going to work going either direction.
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    Quote Originally Posted by anchskier View Post
    The problems with that river come up when you are running an outboard due to the frequent rocks just under the surface that take out their fair share of lower units. Slow water in the upper sections make it very difficult if not impossible to see the rocks before you hit them, especially if there is a light breeze. Usually, those who run the river either know it well or do significant damage to their boat/motor.....sometimes both. Being that you can't float out due to Devil's Canyon, you want to bring lots of spare parts and a good working knowledge of how to fix your equipment.
    In 2001, I did a caribou hunt in a flat bottom John boat with a 25 hp prop outboard. We went across Lake Louise, across Lake Susita, across Lake Tyone and down river on the Tyone to a spot. Slow, slow, shallow water on the Tyone. I could not believe how many rocks had a white chalk mark on them. I remarked as much to my hunting buddy and he said, "That's not chalk, that's boats hitting 'em" And to my recollection the rocks in the Tyone are not the smooth round pebble type rocks, but jagged, pointed, have not been worn down by current for centuries, rip a hole in anything rocks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1S1K View Post
    And to my recollection the rocks in the Tyone are not the smooth round pebble type rocks, but jagged, pointed, have not been worn down by current for centuries, rip a hole in anything rocks.
    My nickname for many of the rock in that river is "can openers". You might get lucky and hit the rock from the sharp side and just slide along what is the equivelant of a knife blade, but if you hit it from the other direction (either up river or down river depending on the rock), you hit on what you could compare to the point of the knife.

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    Member jojomoose's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1S1K View Post
    In 2001, I did a caribou hunt in a flat bottom John boat with a 25 hp prop outboard. We went across Lake Louise, across Lake Susita, across Lake Tyone and down river on the Tyone to a spot. Slow, slow, shallow water on the Tyone. I could not believe how many rocks had a white chalk mark on them. I remarked as much to my hunting buddy and he said, "That's not chalk, that's boats hitting 'em" And to my recollection the rocks in the Tyone are not the smooth round pebble type rocks, but jagged, pointed, have not been worn down by current for centuries, rip a hole in anything rocks.
    1s1k, how far did you make it? is it raftable then have a buddy pick me up at the susitna mouth? or are the rocks to jagged for infatables? thanks for the info.

    jojo.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jojomoose View Post
    1s1k, how far did you make it? is it raftable then have a buddy pick me up at the susitna mouth? or are the rocks to jagged for infatables? thanks for the info.

    jojo.
    Personally, I would not consider floating it. Some years, the water level may be better than others, but in general the part of the river that I was on was relatively narrow, with basketball size and bigger, jagged, pointy, sharp rocks. Not the kind of river that would be easy to drag a raft through either at least in certain sections because you would be walking in two foot of water stumbling over these jagged rocks. It's not a "shallow" river with just little sharp shale that you could drag your raft over. Sections of it are a deep channel. Two-three foot deep, but filled with these sharp, jagged rocks that are laying just under the surface. I rode in the front of the boat and directed us left, right, stop, to keep from hitting them. It was a pain.

    I'm not a float hunter and don't own a raft so I'm no expert. Just talking out loud here, if you really, really wanted to do it. You might get away with a Jet Ranger type inflatable with a 25-40 jet. That way once you make it to the Susitna you could jet motor up river to the bridge. But like what was said below. You'll be running the river, see a rock, cut it back to idle, and hold your breathe as you slide your rubber boat over the knife edge of a rock, or worse frantically try and push yourself away from the point of a knife edged rock.

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    The trip from Denali to Tyone Lake is doable in a raft with kicker. Depending on the water level (and the size of your load!) in Tyone River you will drag your boat often as it can be too shallow to even float. There are deeper sections that you will be able to motor but in some places the current is too strong to make headway even with a motor.

    Floating down to the Big Su shouldn't be a problem either but it would be a long haul up the Su in a raft.....not to mention it gets pretty shallow in the braided sections of the Su.

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