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Thread: Copper River Float trip

  1. #1

    Default Copper River Float trip


    Got a big 18 foot Sotar coming. After I get familiar with the boat, I'm considering a Copper River float trip from Chitna to Cordova (I believe they call it the Million Dollar Bridge) later this year going along with a more experience rafter. I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to get the big raft back to my staring point - that doesn't involve flying gear. Can anyone point me in the right direction? Much appreciated.

    I done several archive searches and found some very useful - but old information on possible take out points and services and apparently it changes - so looking for the most up-to-date info. I can get.

  2. #2
    Member scott_rn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    power commuting twixt the valley and anchorage


    I haven't done it yet, but have a few friends who have. As I understand it, you arrange pickup by boat from cordova, then take the ferry to valdez or whittier. Obviously the whittier option would be if you were dropped off by someone returning to anchorage. I am sure there are a couple of options from valdez to chitina, including sticking pout your thumb.
    Keep in mind the river doesn't flow right to cordova - that is where the arranged pickup by boat comes in. I am sure there are a bunch of water taxis there.
    My only gear sponsor is the salvation army - Dick Griffith

  3. #3


    I have never heard of anyone being picked up by boat on the Copper River. The only pickups I have heard are trucks and vans coming out on the dirt highway from Cordova. Its about 20 miles. That would be an expensive water taxi if you look at a map...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Mile 102 Glenn Highway


    I have a friend that did it several years ago with at cataraft and they arranged for a pickup on the road for the trip back to Cordova and then motored back to Valdez.

  5. #5


    I am not 100% sure but I thinkyou can use a kicker to scoot across Paxon and then not untill you hit the sign that is just above the West Fork. The reality is a kicker is a waste of time untill you reach the Ox Bows due to shallow water. The Ox Bows is a Verrrrry Sloooow section and it is nice to scoot through to Sourdough.

    Gulkana River Rafting

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2006


    My write up on floating the Copper is here:

    The second to the last and last page has contact info and several shuttle ideas. I used Becky Chapek's shuttle service to go from the river to Cordova; the service was great. From there you can take the ferry to either Valdez or Whittier. Also April, who works at in Chitina can arrange shuttles, vehicle transport and gear haul from Valdez back to Chitina. I assume these ladies are still operating but you will have to call to make sure. Also Cordova has a web page listing various local service vendors that can provide anything you need.

    Keep in mind that the AK ferry system was requiring all gear and rafts be stowed in either a truck or trailer. But usually you can find empty trucks heading out of Cordova that will take your gear for minimal fee and drop it all on the dock in either Whittier or Valdez. The last time I did this though, there were no trucks available. Good thing we brought our own. And the ferry was not running every day to both Valdez and Whittier, so any delay will be a several day delay.

    The Copper River flooded a while back and took out the road to the Million Dollar Bridge. Last I heard, it was supposed to be fixed late this summer. I doubt the road to the bridge is open all the way (50 miles), so if you do the float you will have to continue under the bridge, past the face of Childs Glacier and on about 20 miles to Flag Point. In spite of what people say about this take out, this day of floating is probably the best (as long as the weather cooperates) and I would not miss it. It's certainly not difficult to float all the way to the road at Flag Point where you can be picked up. I think the Flag Point take out is also called 21 mile bridge. Its the first Copper River bridge heading out from Cordova.

    The last couple times I've done this trip I had a friend take his truck on the ferry from Whittier to Cordova, drive out to pick us up and haul us all back. The cost wasn't much more and it offered someone a nice trip on a really FAST ferry (50 MPH) and a nice night's camping at the takeout.


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