Nizina River Trip
Hello all! I am new to the site and am looking to get some information about the Nizina River outside of McCarthy. I have done some reading, realize that mid June would be ideal for this river, but I am also looking for additional (objective) information from people that have experience with this river. I plan to fly into terminus Lake at Nizina Glacier and float to O'Brien creek take out. Any general info much appreciated and am hoping to get info concerning the difficulty of this river and potential hazards.
I plan on doing this trip with a 10-person group. I have a NRS Otter 13' and have a moderate amount of boating experience, a buddy has a 14'er that he plans on running but it looks like we are planning on renting a third raft of which a buddy with less boating experience will man. Thanks for any info!
I did it the Kennicot route several years ago, and thought the Kennicot was a little more fun too. The Nizina has some class II and has a few holes to paddle around, but the canyon is really cool, great camping spots on the ledges. The Chitna is pretty fun up there too, super long class II wave trains, some a mile long, this was at higher water when we did it.
It's a pretty long trip to the Copper, plan on getting off of the water early in the afternoon or face the winds of truth, which will plug your nose, eyes, and ears full of silt. I think you have about 57miles of the Chitna, off the top of my head.
Last edited by mark oathout; 03-06-2015 at 20:21.
Here I forgot I had this. Like I said the Kennicot was a little exciting. This is 2008 or 2009 footage, it took me awhile to upload it. lol
I agree with the other guys, once you drop in to the Kennicott, you'll have an exciting ride. There are numerous 90 degrees bends that plow into the canyon walls, so be on your toes.
Gorgeous route with great camping. Once you get closer to the Chitina, don't trust water levels to stay constant. We've had periods of warm weather and then noted surging water levels covering our low-lying sand bars while sleeping. Kind of freaky, so dont let it sneak up on you.
Last note, this would not be a choice selection for newbie rafters. It may be mostly Class I-II, but boating errors are unforgiving in this region. I would not want to swim in the Chitina for any reason. Water is extremely cold and fast.
The last leg on the Chitina is about 60 miles, but we've covered that stretch easily in one day. Average speeds can be 6-9 mph if upstream winds aren't a burden. The whole trip is a great 3-5 day journey.
Thanks Mark and Larry. Looks fun! How was the canyon during high water in those IKs? Good for you, nice trip. Yes Larry, I am trying to decide about the third raft. The other experienced boater pulled out of the trip so next man up has less experience behind the oars. Mainly I'm curious how the big raft will do in the canyon if the hydraulics are big. What was the most challenging section for you guys? Thanks.
All you have to do is oar away from the canyon walls, and they are sharp bends.
The trip was technically very easy for my nephew and I in the IK's, but we kayak. The water was very high, I was a little worried before we got to the canyon, we did not know what to expect. There are a few big holes, but these are huge wide open rivers, you would have to be pretty green on the oars to mess up. However, like Larry pointed out, it is remote, not a good place to screw something up.
The most challenging section was busting out of the eddlyline upsteam of the McCarthy Bridge, where we put in. It was a beast, big waves, and it was very fast water going two directions, again, it was very high water. These eddylines can be pretty challenging in a kayak, you had better be on edge when you break through and meet the other current. They can also be very hard to get a raft to go through, but there is no danger.
Anyway my video shows the worst stuff, but I did not get nearly all of the trip.
Did you do the trip as a single overnighter Mark or two?
We camped at the mouth of the Gilahina for one night, we call it Camp Grenada. We also boated that one in 2008, I think, it had way too much wood, but has a super cool canyon, is class II-III. It is 27 miles to the Copper from there. Remember though, it was really high water when we did the route from the Kennicot, the Chitna was very fast. I also have been on it at low water, then it is slow and horrible, it will probably take a day or two longer to complete at low flows.
Honestly, take your time, the scenery is spectacular, it is a great getaway camping trip type of adventure.
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