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Thread: The West Fork Of the Gulkana River

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Gakona Ak

    Default The West Fork Of the Gulkana River

    West Fork:

    I have gotten a number of calls about running the West Fork of the Gulkana which is rarely done for lots of reasons. I had a group a few years ago pick up some SOAR Canoes from me and they got a ride to Lake Tyone and they sliced and diced their way into the upper Gulkana. Very hard 10 days. The river is very skinny that far up and what we do with groups who want that trip is send them out with Lee's Air in Tolsona and for very little money and about 15 mins of fly time will put you in a nice lake (No Name I guess) with a very short portage into the West Fork of the Gulkana. From there you are looking at 7is days to reach Sourdough boat launch.

    This section is totally reliant to snow melt and rain runoff so make sure there is water in the river before attempting this run.The West Fork is like a snake with constant twists and turns. Bugs in the upper section are nasty! Always take a saw with you because the river is so narrow when a tree falls down it can cover the entire river and make it impassable. The wildlife is crazy good with plenty of moose and caribou. Be prepared for bears so pack the heat! Even in the lower section near the main branch there is not a lot of with to the river so inflatable canoes are your best bet.

    Shoot me an email if you are interested in the gem of a river and plan on 7-10 days depending on the put in.


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  2. #2

    Default Canoeing the West Fork of the Gulkana

    A little over 30 years ago, I did a canoe trip down the west fork of the Gulkana using a 17' old town Tripper canoe. After a long car shuttle. We put the canoe in at Lake Louise. We used the afternoon winds and a home rigged sail using a black spruce tree and a tarp, to sail the canoe across Lake Louise and Susitna lakes. The next day we paddled through Tyone lake and a little ways down the Tyone River. Got an early start the 3rd day then portaged and paddled lake to lake to lake across the water shed divide on the north side north of Mt Tyone. (This was a long day using 1" to the mile USGS maps and a Silva compass) it was 3 trips for each portage. The last lake's outlet was the head waters of the West fork of the Gulkana. From Start to finish It took a total of 15 days to finally pull out at Sourdough. It was a great trip!


    Jim King

    Alaska Series Inflatable Boats,
    The Toughest Bottoms in the Business,
    River Rafts, Catarafts, Inflatable Kayaks,
    Inflatable Canoes, Inflatable Sport Boats,
    Inflatable Jet Boats, Tenders and Dinghies. (907) 248-2900


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