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Thread: Gulkana river float info

  1. #1
    New member
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Anchorage, Alaska, United States

    Default Gulkana river float info

    where is a good source of information for floating gulkana river maybe i can get a book am going to be floating it at end of month never did it before neither has anybody that is with me so we are going nervous we have floated kenai on several occations we just want to kick it up a notch. thanks in advance

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Palmer, AK


    The BLM field office in Glennallen has a good book that is also available at the put in point on the lake (usually). It details where camping spots are as well as information about the portage. May be available at other offices as well. Several other books on AK white water cover it fairly well.

    A couple of co-workers did the float a few weekends back, had a blast, water was high.

  3. #3
    Member RC23's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008

    Default here is some good info and other links

  4. #4
    Member Birdstrike's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007


    You'll enjoy the Gulkana. We've floated it the last two summers and had great trips both times.

    I think the first day is the most difficult. Plan two to two and a half hours to row across the lake if you don't have an outboard. The row across is not bad, just make slow steady progress.

    The outlet is a nice place to stop and re-group after the paddle across. However, it seems to be very buggy....take headnets! The fishing is usually pretty good though. As you leave the outlet the water is usually shallow and rocky. For those with limited rafting experience it is a bit of a challenge to manuever a heavily loaded raft around the rocks you can see and those that can only be seen by reading the water flow. Hence my comment about the first day being the most difficult.

    Please take your own porta-potty or use the loaners BLM will supply. We've never had a dirty campsite and hope the river stays clean for all of the future users. Let us know how your trip was when you get back.

    Dawson's cabin is a good goal for your first night of camping, unless you get a really late start and want to camp at the outlet (up on the bluff river left is nice).

    Potty Island (mp 13.3) is a good goal for the second night.

    The canyon rapids loom over everyone for their first trip down. Just portage all your gear so your raft is as manueverable as possible and you will do fine. The route is evident while scouting from the trail river left. Depending on how long it takes your group to get through the rapids/portage will determine your next camp. Right at the rapids is nice, but leaves a couple of longer days ahead. The main channel below the rapids was river right the last two summers. However, our neighbors took river left last year and had a virtual shopping trip picking up gear that people had dropped at the rapids. The section below is more boulder gardens and rock dodging but can have great fishing.

    Our last camp has always been above the west fork confluence on a sand bar. If you obtain the BLM River Guide you'll have plenty of intel on campsites. Day 5 is bittersweet. You'll have had a blast during your float, but when you see the pipeline crossing the river you'll be ready for the takeout and a shower. Use caution trying to drive home right after 5 days on the river. You'll be very tired and driving through the Matanuska River canyon is not tolerante of sleepy drivers.

    Have a great trip!

  5. #5
    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Eagle River

    Default Much good info...

    on these forums...many with leads to other sources.

    Try: "Search", then "Advanced Search", then "Google Search of" then type in "Gulkana River"

    A lot of good info there. Good luck and have a great time.

  6. #6
    Member Heg's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007


    We just finished up a family trip on July 3rd and had a blast.

    I agree with what Birdstrike is saying about crap-pack it out. A couple guys and gals from BLM were taking out at the same time as us, and they had picked up a couple bags of toilet paper on the way down. It's cool that they are helping out, but as boaters, we need to do our part. It's pretty disgusting when you step on an Alaskan white rose.

    Pay attention to the flow. If it is low, go light. It was running about 7' for us which makes it pretty friendly. The "canyon", in my opinion, is easier in medium to high water. I have seen people really struggle the first couple miles and after the canyon with boats that are not properly loaded. Here is a shot of the last drop in the canyon at 7' in a pretty heavy gear boat. Remember, if you get hung up, it is a lot easier to free your boat if your light.

  7. #7
    Member chano's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006

    Default Ahh the gulkana...

    Our family loves the Gulkana June 25-28, 2010. Take the time to for a layover day and relax by the fire. This is a good resource-


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