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Thread: Gulkana River

  1. #1

    Default Gulkana River

    I am from Columbus, Ohio and planning a trip to Alaska in August 2016. I am planning a canoe trip to Tangle Lakes area, portaging and canoeing to Dickey Lake, then down the Middle Fork to Main branch of Gulkana down to Sourdough campsite and beyond. Does anyone have recent experience in this area?

  2. #2
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    you never told us what experance you have in a canoe it is doable people do it a lot , the stream out of dickey is rocky an the Gulkana is a fair size river with water that moves some rock's there is a book out on most of the rivers telling you a lot of what you want to know , you will pull the canoe a lot in that stream have a good trip SID I did the stream long time a go

  3. #3

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    I have over 30 years canoeing experience at Camp Wabun in North Eastern, Ontario. I have been to Hudson Bay by the Attawapiskat River.

  4. #4

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    It's a good float with some points for effort in the beginning. August is a great time to be in that area. It's a common float for summer fishermen and boaters, and the last time i did it there was a reasonably visible path that was worn to mark the portage route. straightforward river character.

  5. #5

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    I pack rafted through tangles and floated out of dicky to the Gulkana then walked out to the road from the Middle Fork / Gulkana confluence. The 3 or 4 Portages through the tangles are short and pretty easy. The longest is about a mile with steep
    Start and finish but not bad going. Dicky lake is good fishing. The creek out of dicky is shallow(July 4th time frame), rocky and fast in a few places. But you can stand up about anywhere in the river in the upper section. There is about a 6 mile stretch of fun fast rock gardens before you cross the Swede Lake trail. After that the river begins to slow WAY down. Lots of grayling, salmon and a few Rainbows in the river to this point. Expect to portage around 1\2 dozen trees across the river. The lower end was extremely slow (no current) for us in pack rafts but will be better for canoes. We saw at least 2 maybe 3 damaged / abandoned older canoes along the way so be prepared $!%# happens! Good Luck.
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  6. #6
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    For you guys who are looking at the middle fork we are your go to spot for this trip. I outfit 3-4 groups on that section every summer. The biggest factor is water levels out of Dicky Lake. Last summer was nasty with very low water. We can outfit your group in Old Town canoes or SOAR inflatable canoes.


    Shoot me a call if you need more info on what we offer and let's get this season going!


    Walt
    Gulkana Raft Rentals
    907-259-4290

  7. #7

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    Has anybody tried going up Tangle River with a canoe? It looks like it's a low gradient two mile float. What's it like?
    RandyS

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    it depends of what you mean ? the black rapids end to the HWY or from the HWY to Dickey lake ?? from the HWY to Black rapids end ,
    all of it is doable with a small set of rips that has a sign to portage around there was some old canoes there that tried to float [ bad water there ]
    going down or up your call SID

  9. #9
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    PS if I remember it is not a stream you can line up or down there at what they call the FALLS, for most people, there could be some one that
    could run it down but do way up right there . some people do hunt the lower section of the stream from the BLACK rapids ; this a CANOE.
    not a Kayak , don't know much about KAYAK's have seen them in some tuff water b SID

  10. #10
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    going up it is a SHALLOW river a lot of pulling or carrying most people just carry around good path I think less trouble SID

  11. #11

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    I've never canoed it, but I've floated it many times with my raft. And like others have said, I have found many canoes that were damaged and abandoned along the river corridor so be prepared. The Canyon Rapids can be easily portaged. There is a section of constant class II-III rapids for about 8 river miles after the Canyon that can be difficult to navigate. It moves fairly fast through this section and their are plenty of sweepers and sleepers to look out for. Once you get past this point it's easy cheesy. Good luck.

  12. #12

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    Sorry, I should have been clearer. What I meant by the Tangle River, and following the thread of the Gulkana R. float, is the stream that flows from a shallow muddy lake (BLM description) into the first Tangle Lake south of the Denali Highway. It is labeled on my map as the Tangle River. I was hoping it could be done with a small motor, not to do the Gulkana float, but to explore the lake country between there and Dickey Lake.
    RandyS

  13. #13

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    I did that route about 20 years ago. There was 2 people and two canoes, both with small outboards. We spent a lot of time both lining the canoes as well as just wading up the stream in hip waders along with occasionally paddling. It has been long enough time ago that I don't recall how much we used the outboards on the stream but It seems like I remember it was very little. Most folks, I believe, portage over into the lake to the East of mud lake and then after going about two thirds of the way up the lake they then portage West over into mud lake.

  14. #14

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    Those lakes beyond the second portage are really named mud lakes for good reason. They are nothing but very shallow muddy lakes. Leave your outboard at home. Go light.

  15. #15

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    Thanks, guys, those were the tips I was looking for to keep me from mucking around in the mud.
    RandyS

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