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Thread: Swanson River float trip

  1. #1
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    Default Swanson River float trip

    My girlfriend and her friend visiting from Seattle are considering floating the Swanson River in a couple weeks. I'm helping her plan this thing and I was hoping someone that's done it could shed some light on the subject.

    How long is it? Could you make it into a 2 to 3 day trip? Are there places to camp? Are there any fish in the river? Is it remote? is it a busy river? All these questions and more....

    Thanks in advance!
    Kub-Air

  2. #2
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    Default Swanson River

    I did the trip a couple of times several years ago. We would take the Paddle Lake to Lynx Lake to King Lake route. We would take 3 days--I think this is a minimum to really enjoy the trip, so you can fish, wildlife view, relaxed portages and time for pleasant camping. Lots of campsites in the lake system. We floated the river out on the last day.

    Here's a link that gives pretty good timetables for the various possibilities of routes:http://www.alaskaoutdoorjournal.com/.../canoekp2.html

    It's a wonderful trip. Have fun, and be safe.

  3. #3
    Member bgreen's Avatar
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    Default

    Your asking about floating the river right?

    There are lots of places to camp but if you catch it on a busy weekend they can be hard to find. Especially if its cloudy and you wait too long to look. I used to have them all on my GPS but I lost them, sorry brother. I normally plan on three full days so you dont have to rush, but you can do it in a full day if you wanted to.

    I'll let everyone else comment on the fishing, but yes, there are fish. Lots of them at times. Bears, Moose, Coyotes, and Wolves too.
    The individual right to keep and bear arms shall not be denied or infringed by the State or a political subdivision of the State.

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    Default swanson

    Swanson River's is 24 miles long. Its a slow moving current and could be powered through in about 8-10 hours. I recomend doing it in a 2 night camping trip. I'll be there next week most likley. Yes there is fish in it, and it just happeneds to open on the 15th of June. It can be pretty hot at times. Just cast up or downstream of any small rapids and usually have great luck. There are plenty of places to camp, that shouldn't be a problem.

  5. #5
    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
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    Default upper swanson

    I like to refer to the lower swanson river trip, as the part that starts at Swanson river road put in. This is the 24 mile section of the river and like mentioned in other posts, is about 13 hrs of average paddling, but can be done faster if you get and and dig..
    Our Scout troop did it in our homemade fabric kayaks in 8 hrs once, but that won't happen again if I can help it...lol
    The upper portion of the Swanson river is the remote and less traveled trip. It requires a more adventuresome attitude. You will need to portage several lakes, and then portage a long one thru wet land grass and shallows to reach the upper river. Then, you can plan on about as much time out of the canoe dragging and helping it along the little stream. This path is alot of fun if you like to be out in boonies doing stuff others are not willing to tackle. The river itself will go along nicely for a while and then sort of dissapear, and then reapear a mile down stream,,, lots of Beaver activity. Not any trappers taking pelts up in the system now leave Beaver populations very strong.
    I would recommend at least 3 days minimum to do the upper Swanson coming out at Capt Cook state park.
    One overnighter on the lower portion is the norm, as there is about 13 hrs of paddling total.
    One time I met an old timer that told me about when there was no road out where Capt Cook park is now. He said the nearest take out was OSK Dock area which is several miles down the shoreline from where Swanson dumps into Cook inlet. He used to paddle the river and then paddle along the shore to the take out at rig tenders or OSK to get picked up.
    He said this was normal fair for folks from that 1950's generation.
    I think they were indeed more adventuresome and tougher then than now.
    We paddled down to the ocean one year and then out into Cook Inlet and then up shore a 1/4 mile to the Beach road access there.
    As far as equipment goes, I recommend that you not take a canoe or Kayak that can't handle bouncing off lots and lots of rocks.
    the plastic boats seem best suited for the Swanson river.
    I had an old Aluminum Gruman that went down the Swanson probably a hundred or more times. It was so beat up that one customer of mine named it "the Beater".. Finally after reseting the rivets dozens of times, it just leaked so bad I took it out of the fleet.
    It laid over in the grass at my place for a couple of years, and one day a guy came by and asked it I had any old canoes for sale?
    I sold him that canoe. He fixed it the best he could and had it delivered over to the west side of Cook Inlet to Trading bay. It is still in service over there. He keeps it on a lake and fishes out of all summer long..
    Anyway, The Swanson river is a must do trip, and most of the folks that have lived here for any length of time have at least done the lower 24 miles of the river. Many folks make an annual overnight family friend trip.
    You won't be sorry that you did the trip, and the fishing can be very good along the way.... You will see lots of fish and maybe some wildlife along the way...
    Let me know if I can be of any help.
    One of the problems with this trip is the logistics of vehicles. Cell service is better now down on the Cookinlet end of the trip, but dropping a vehicle at the end is sometimes a problem. ( 70 road miles one way from the put in to Cookinlet) If you need some help with any of these things, please don't be affraid to ask.
    Max
    When you come to a fork in the trail, take it!

    Rentals for Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts, boats serving the Kenai canoe trail system and the Kenai river for over 15 years. www.alaskacanoetrips.com

  6. #6
    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
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    Default swanson river pictures



    If you look really close along the rivers left side, you can make out that dark brown mark is a Momma moose and her baby. This picture was taken from the top of a Spruce tree looking back up river.
    I don't climb those tree's like I used to..lol
    When you come to a fork in the trail, take it!

    Rentals for Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts, boats serving the Kenai canoe trail system and the Kenai river for over 15 years. www.alaskacanoetrips.com

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    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
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    Default Swanson river pict

    When you come to a fork in the trail, take it!

    Rentals for Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts, boats serving the Kenai canoe trail system and the Kenai river for over 15 years. www.alaskacanoetrips.com

  8. #8
    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
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    Default Swanson river lower start

    Some folks from japan starting the lower portion of the river from Swanson river road.
    When you come to a fork in the trail, take it!

    Rentals for Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts, boats serving the Kenai canoe trail system and the Kenai river for over 15 years. www.alaskacanoetrips.com

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