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Thread: Kenai Canyon

  1. #1

    Question Kenai Canyon

    I've floated the upper river several times and have always pulled out at Jim's landing. I would love to go thru the canyon down to Skilak and motor to the boat launch, but, I don't know how hazardous that stretch is. I have a 18' cataraft. Anyone float that section of river before? Any advice is appreciated.

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2006


    I wold rate it a class II+, others say it is class III. It's pretty easy in a raft/cataraft. If the wind is blowing Skilak Lake can be nasty. It's 6-8 miles from the entrance of the river to the first available takeout at Upper Skilak Campground. Unless you want some serious exercise you need an outboard on your boat.

  3. #3
    Member AK Troutbum's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Chugiak, AK.


    No problem at all, just stay in the middle of the river and keep 'er pointed down stream. It would be pretty difficult to turn a boat of that size over in the canyon of the Kenai.

  4. #4

    Thumbs up Thanks

    Right on. Just what I wanted to hear. I have an outboad for Skilak.
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  5. #5
    New member
    Join Date
    May 2008

    Default Skilak surf

    Before you go check the weather on Skilak to help you decide if you want to go down there. When the wind is up the "lake" becomes an ocean. The swells can easily top 4-6 feet or more. Even with an outboard it can be a pretty miserable 6 miles when the weather is crummy.

  6. #6


    Take enough gear to stay the night at Skilak if you can't get across and you have to wait until the wind dies down. If you do that it shouldn't be a problem. This lake can change drastically in short order.

  7. #7
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 1999
    Anchorage, Alaska

    Default Skilak Lake

    It has been my experience that Skilak Lake is generally calmer in the morning than by afternoon. Our plan is usually to camp where the Kenai dumps into Skilak (there's a nice place on river left as you enter the lake). We camp there for the evening, and motor to the upper launch in the morning. Of course it changes frequently..... your situation may be different.

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  8. #8


    I agree with the others, definately be prepared with a tent/sleeping bags and lots of extra clothes to stay overnight. I've been in 8 footers on that lake in an 18 foot wooldridge and that was NO fun at all. if they were swells it would be fine, but its just really bad chop close together coming at you in all directions.

    Now forgetting that, I've also seen days where that lake is super nice and flat calm. But it's still over 5 miles of rowing if you don't have a kicker.


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