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Thread: Alatna River

  1. #1

    Default Alatna River

    Could any one give me some information on the Alatna in the first week of July. I would like to know how much ice and snow I may encounter. Areas to put in and take out (on wheels). Is it big enough to float with a full size raft. How many bugs are out that time of year. Camp sites on the gravel bars or in the brush. Any information would be valuable. I am am in the infant stage of trip planing for July 2009.

  2. #2
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Apr 2006


    I have been reseaching this river myself. I will be going the last week of August and first week of Sept. Likely 2010 since I am floating the Kongakut (ANWR) this June. Keep in mind I can only pass on what I have read/heard and I have not been there myself. But from what I have heard, you would have plenty of bugs in July. Not sure about the wheels options as we are being dropped at Circle Lake and floating down to Helpmejack Creek. We will start the trip off with a 5 day hike into the Arrigetch Peaks. Leaving the Ally canoe and other gear in an electric fence while we are hiking. Then a 6-7 day float down to Helpmejack. Camping should be good along the way, but I am not sure about gravel. It could be a mix from the pictures I have found. Go to and in the search box put "Alatna River". I found some images there. And also Google under the "images" search option. From the headwaters at Gadaeke (msp?) Lake, the river is very, very, narrow. I have read of people dragging inflattable kayak/canoes for a good bit of the first 5+ miles. There is a section of rapids above Circle Lake but below Circle Lake it is a slow and mellow float. Perhaps it would be a long float in a full sized raft from that point down river. We will be using our Ally canoe for this reason. Fishing is average for dollies, grayling, and pike. With run off in July, the fishing may be poor. Scenery is great and this would be a good trip to bring a camera on. Hiking/photographing the Arrigetch Peaks should be great. The upper/middle sections of the Alatna are more scenic (mountainous) than the lower. The lower sections are a bunch of oxbows with slow moving current and could make a long, mundane float. Lots of black bears from what I hear. Some caribou and moose in the area, but it is not known for lots of wildlife. Just remember that most of the info I have gotten is specific to a fall float from Circle Lake to Helpmejack. Not sure how different river conditions would be in July, but you would want to research that for sure. Email Brooks Range Aviation for more info. They were very helpful when I contacted them a few months back. Nice folks too. For rafting, you may want to research the nearby John and North Fork Koyukuk. I am not as familiar with them, but from what little I have read, they may be good rivers to raft. I hear they are rather scenic as well. Photographing the Arrigetch Peaks is what got me wanting to float the Alatna, but I am sure many of the other rivers in the area would make great floats.
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