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Thread: Canoeing the Kenai River Canyon?

  1. #1
    Member LindenTree's Avatar
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    Default Canoeing the Kenai River Canyon?

    Would I be crazy to canoe the Kenai River Canyon. I am a new member and this is my first posting. I moved to the Kenai Peninsula last summer from Minnesota, I brought my old town Royalax (sp) Pack canoe. it is 12 foot 6 inches long and weighs 35 pounds. I am 5 foot 10 inches and weigh 175 pounds. I have done a lot of fast water river canoeing in Minnesota as well as extensive paddles in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. I understand the difficulties getting across Skilak Lake to upper Skilak campground. I always wear a life jacket, but am I crazy to consider canoeing through the Kenai River Canyon from Jims Landing to the lake with my small canoe? What are you okay what are your thoughts?

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    I have floated it with one of the rafting outfits in Cooper Landing. Perhaps take a trip with one of them first. Water conditions could change with weather and water levels. Have you considered doing it in a kayak?
    GF, a life long Kenai resident says, "Don't do it in a canoe." This is from a gal who owns about a dozen canoes and kayaks and goes out regularly. If you want to get out and play in your canoe you might consider joining the Kenai Peninsula Outdoor Club, and share some adventures with them. We just did a trip across Engineer Lake 2 weeks ago and stayed in the cabin there. Had to do a little ice breaking on the way back out the next day.
    Hunt Ethically. Respect the Environment.

  3. #3
    Member ak_cowboy's Avatar
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    I wouldn't do it. Even the rapids below Bings have proven too much for canoes.
    Highly recommend Ross's idea of going with a raft first.

  4. #4
    Member ChugiakTinkerer's Avatar
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    I ran the canyon for the first time back in August. I have a 18' cataraft so the rapids weren't a big deal as long as I was paying attention. That day though a drift boat flipped and lost all their gear. Between the different factors of boat, river, and oarsman's skill level it's hard to recommend based on an internet post. I'd say at least run the upper portion in your canoe or run the canyon in a raft first.

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    Chugiak tinkerer has nailed it . but if you want do float it first with one of the guides that do it for a job, after you look at it '
    do as you see fit, but onlt after you have dun it once , as for the trip across the lake it all depends on the wind .
    but there is a trail from the mouth to the road an used a fair amount of time . that lake can get ruff real fast ,
    with a 35 lb canoe if you do the canyon with it . it would be your best bet to take the trail
    PS I don't think you will have cell service there at the mouth , could be wrong but ask people that fish it
    A lot from this forum do it SID

  6. #6
    Member LindenTree's Avatar
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    Thanks all, it sounds like I better play it safe and err on the side of caution. I do not have a big heart burn to do it, I was just curious. I will probabally do other parts of the river. I hiked to the river via the Hidden Creek trail a couple weeks ago, bear sign everywhere. I do want to raft it, I looked into it last fall but was having trouble finding an outfitter the first week of October when my wife was able to go. This is a great website, i just stumbled unto it. Linden

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    A nice paddle is from Lower Skilak to Bings. Don't go past Bings.
    Hunt Ethically. Respect the Environment.

  8. #8
    Member FishGod's Avatar
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    I've been going down the canyon for two decades. Is it possible to navigate down the canyon in a canoe? Yes, if you're an expert on the paddles and know the river. Would I suggest it? No. The first challenge would be getting down the canyon and the second challenge would be getting across the 6.5 mile section of Skilak Lake IF the lake is not treacherous. I've rescued more than a couple boats on Skilak and have had experienced friends sink their own boats. If you run the canyon in a canoe, do it alone so nobody else's life is in jeopardy. As mentioned, run Skilak to Bings or Sportsman's to Jims at first and run the canyon in an appropriate boat with an expert before you make your final decision.
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