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Thread: gulkana ?

  1. #1

    Default gulkana ?

    could I take my 8 yr old with me down this river in a canoe? he's begging to go, he is a great swimmer but I have never done the trip and I am a little gun shy on this as any parent would be. also Im not a pro by any means in a canoe, I have done alot of slow moving water and lake runs. and we would defintley go around the rapids. any help would be apperciated. -will

  2. #2

    Default Depends

    I'd honestly say to stay away from the Gulkana from Paxson to Sourdough. I've seen a lot of "experienced" guys wrap canoes at the canyon and below it on rocks. I'm a rafter, but from what I've seen it is tricky in a canoe with all of the sleepers, and boulders. You're much better off doing the Sourdough to Richardson bridge, granted it's not as remote or scenic. If it was just you and another adult, I'd say go for it, but with an 8 year old, that water is fast below the canyon, where you're most likely to encounter problems. Hope that helps some.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2006


    I agree, although I'm admittedly a poor canoeist. For several miles after the canyon, there are a lot of rocks, and class 2 whitewater.

  4. #4


    it sounds like you don't have the skills to do the gulkana out of paxson. the seriousness of the white water depends on water level. but, even at low levels it is VERY easy to wrap a canoe in the rapids below the canyon. i think it would be EXTREMELY foolish to tackle this river with your kid given your skill level.

    the idea of floating from sourdough to the highway is a good one, but!, beware, look at the water level before you head out. at HIGH water that stretch can generate some very large waves and if you are not experienced with handling a canoe in high volume high waves you might be in trouble. at moderate and low water levels you shouldn't have any trouble running from sourdough to the bridge, assuming you have a basic set of river running skills—ability to read the water, ability to stop correctly whenever needed, ability to place the canoe where you want it to be on the river when you want it to be there.

  5. #5


    thanks guys, we will have 2 others in our party and they will be in rafts and they have floated the gulkana many times, the plan was to put him there boat for the rapids. now you got me thinking...

  6. #6
    Member Buck Nelson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006

    Default Best "line" through Gulkana Canyon rapids for a raft?

    Sounds like some sensible advice on canoes. Do you veterans of running the canyon rapids in a raft have advice on the best line to run? I'm planning on carrying the most vital gear and rowing the raft through the canyon.

  7. #7

    Default Lines

    I've run the canyon probably 40-50 times and I always take the right hand side coming down into the canyon, where it picks up speed. Then, I've always rowed left around the monster size solo boulder covered in Sea Gull Dung. After that, there's a flat section for about 100 yards or so and I head towards the right hand side. I go on the outside of the 2 "Picket Fence" rocks in the river, and then backrow below that towards the middle of the river, setting up to gain speed for the "drop", which is about 50 yards further down river around the left hand bend. Near the drop, there is a large rock towards the left and another on the right. I just aim for the flattest spot and row hard to get some speed. I've seen the back-current pin rafts there for awhile before, depending on water levels, so I just get speed and use the momentum to get away from it. After that, just head towards the left hand side where the pull outs are near the camp sites. Hope that wasn't too confusing. Once you walk it and have a look, you'll see the lines.

  8. #8


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