chulitna river vs upper chena river ( + hot springs ) for family float
I have family coming ( from oregon ) and am looking at doing a multi day float. I have a couple if IKs and an inflatable canoe.
If we go upper chena then we stop at Denali for one night, then head to the hot springs then do the 3 day float of the upper chena.
I have never done the chulitna river but its on my list this summer no matter what. Recommendations? Thoughts?
We floated the Chulitna last summer from the East Fork put-in to the Princess lodge. We took 3 days/2 nights. The first day on the East Fork is fairly narrow and fast. The East Fork Chulitna had a river wide strainer that required a short portage last year. Hopefully breakup blewout the jam this year. We camped at Honolulu Creek the first night and caught and released a few kings. The second night we camped in the canyon on a huge gravel bar, gathered all the drift wood and chunks of coal we could find and had the largest bonfire I've ever experienced on a river trip. The heat was a welcome change after a cold, rainy day. The third day we picked our way through the braided section to the take-out.
I think the East Fork prior to the confluence of the West Fork and the river turning glacial is the nicest portion of this float. If we'd had clear weather the second and third days, like we did on the first, maybe I would have enjoyed the scenery and that section of the river more than I did.
The Princess Lodge takeout access is questionable now. Check the status of the gate or be prepared to haul everything up the hill under the bridge prior to committing to this takeout. I would not reccomend this trip for someone's first time on the oars. Some prior experience would be helpful.