Anyone floated the Talkeetna River? I know it has rapids/whitewater on it. How far is the whitewater from the headwaters?
We took a trip from about as far up as possible. There is a landing strip near a cabin there. Flew in with a pilot out of Talkeetna. We just took our time, spent 5 days, 4 nights getting back to the takeout at town. Great trip, most of the river is pretty mild. After you pass Praire creek there is a class 4 section. One spot that's called the toilet bowl. You want to stop before and scout it. There are some bear trails you can take to the top of the hill over looking it. It is a great trip tho, would do it again anyday.
Here's a link to my article on the Talkeetna from my rafting website.
The rapids very greatly depending on water level. Last time I did it was at high water and we very nearly flipped two 16' self bailers. On in the Toilet Bowl , and one farther down. In both cases we had multiple swimmers. It was a lot of fun though.
At low water, it's probably not more than a class III anywhere. At medium flows it's class IV in perhaps 3-4 spots. At high water it's class IV a lot.
You can put in at Buck's strip, by the cabin, which is probably where Coloelk described, or at Yellowjacket strip about a days float above Bucks. There's not much to see beween those put ins, but it is the place to hunt Caribou. The other option (and for less money) is to fly into Murder Lake (just below Stephan Lake) and float Prarie Creek to the Takleetna. Prairie Creek is raftable in all but very low water, but you have to look out for logs and shallow areas.
However, Bucks strip was partially flooded out a couple years ago, and has been greatly shortened. Super Cubs are the recommended vehicle. Yellowjacket works well, but is sometimes overgrown, and you'll have to find your own flight service that will land there.
The rapids are a couple hours below the confluence with Prairie Creek, and continue more or less constantly for 14 miles.
Oh yeah, here's that link: http://paddling.jimstrutz.com/page12.html
Talkeetna and Fortymile
Jim, checked out your website, great reviews of the rivers. The Talkeetna may be a little more I can handle at this point.
Jim (or anyone else for that matter) do you know if it is possible (water levels-other issues) to float the Dennison Fork of the Fortymile from the Chicken bridge (I believe the Mosquito Fork and Chicken Creek cross the Taylor near Chicken and flows into the Dennison Fork) down to the Taylor Highway Bridge?
"I believe the Mosquito Fork and Chicken Creek cross the Taylor near Chicken and flows into the Dennison Fork) down to the Taylor Highway Bridge?"
I think that's right. I have floated from just past Chicken at the Taylor Highway bridge (mile 76, maybe?) to the Fortymile bridge (about 50 miles fron Eagle) and on to Clinton Creek. And once we floated on down to the Yukon and out to Eagle.
I regard this float as the premier easy water raft trip in all of Alaska. The weather is usually warm and dry. The water is brackish but clear and warm, and the camping is superb. And for some reason we've never had mosquito problems there in June. The fishing's pretty good too. There are plenty of old mining relics to check out to add to the entertainment. There are also a few short whitewater spots that can become a minor issue at high water, but certainly not at mid to low flows. Extreme high water in the canyon above Clinton Creek is said to be dangerous though.
Last year we did Taylor Highway Bridge to Clinton Creek, because our intended destination of the Moquito Fork was too low. But it rained hard the day before we were done, and the water came up. On the drive back home we could see that the Mosquito Fork woud be easy if we weren't there at a dry time. It continued to rain after we left and a week later the river was flooding, and said to be unrunable.
BTW, we did parts of this section three times, all near the end of June, and each time the water was low and dropping fast from the end of spring runoff. I would plan on ending the Dennison no later than mid June, or wait for rain. The rest of the river can be run at very low flows, but it does become slow.