Susitna River bridge via Denali Highway

urbanhillbilly

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So I have a question…

I am wanting to take my sleds and some friends up to the Susitna bridge on the Denali Highway, my question is this…

I’m not familiar with how far off the parks (or Richardson) I can get with my truck to unload. Anyone know?

Second question, about how far from that point is it to the Susitna?

I’ve tried looking online, but have had no luck. I’m not on Facebook, so count that out.
 

Brian M

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You can drive approximately five miles off the Parks with a truck before parking. From there it's about a 50 mile ride to the Susitna. There are a handful of lodges that operate all winter out there - Alpine Creek (about 9 miles past the bridge, I think) has been a long-time favorite of mine, but there are a couple others as well.
 

urbanhillbilly

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You can drive approximately five miles off the Parks with a truck before parking. From there it's about a 50 mile ride to the Susitna. There are a handful of lodges that operate all winter out there - Alpine Creek (about 9 miles past the bridge, I think) has been a long-time favorite of mine, but there are a couple others as well.
Awesome, that’s about exactly what I was thinking.

Do they groom any trails on the river itself?
 

Brian M

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Awesome, that’s about exactly what I was thinking.

Do they groom any trails on the river itself?
The highway is groomed periodically. Pretty easy to run at moderate to high speeds, though wind drifts on the higher points can sneak up on you - be cautious, especially in the section just past Brushkana. As for the river, I don't think anyone grooms it.
 

abn sportsman

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Mushers use the highway to train dogs during the winter so it should be in various stages of trail quality. There are even a couple seasonal camps along the highway where mushers camp and rest dogs. Please be careful and respectful of the teams. Maclaren River Lodge at mile 42 will be open for the rest of the winter starting next month. They have a web site and FB page.
 

NRick

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Awesome, that’s about exactly what I was thinking.

Do they groom any trails on the river itself?
The highway gets groomed periodically. The river - never.

That said, if conditions are good you can run the river all the way to one of the glaciers (there are 3 that feed the Su). I've been upstream to the middle glacier and on different trips, downstream to the Maclaren River.

It's best to plan on staying at one of the lodges if you are going to explore the area. As mentioned, there is Alpine Creek Lodge, Clearwater Mountain Lodge (not open this year), and Susitna Adventure Lodge (pricey). There is also the Maclaren River Lodge but they are better accessed from Paxson.
 

urbanhillbilly

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Thank you for the responses, all of it great information.

Actually I plan on going downstream from the highway a bit to check on a friends boat that he had to ditch out there.
 

MacGyver

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Thank you for the responses, all of it great information.

Actually I plan on going downstream from the highway a bit to check on a friends boat that he had to ditch out there.


The difference between having a trip becoming an adventure is planning.

Unless you know you will not need fuel, or you can buy it. You may want to bring spare fuel.


Breaking trails on rivers scare me, you never know, where or when you will get stuck in overflow. For that reason, I carry everything I need to get out.
 

urbanhillbilly

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The difference between having a trip becoming an adventure is planning.

Unless you know you will not need fuel, or you can buy it. You may want to bring spare fuel.


Breaking trails on rivers scare me, you never know, where or when you will get stuck in overflow. For that reason, I carry everything I need to get out.
100%. Lots of planning has been put into this. Right now it’s just to go and scope it out and see what we will need and when might be the best time to retrieve the boat.

I love an adventure, but I love my family more. So making it home is the top priority. I’ve learned enough over the years to not go down a path I’m not prepared for.
 

4merguide

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100%. Lots of planning has been put into this. Right now it’s just to go and scope it out and see what we will need and when might be the best time to retrieve the boat.

I love an adventure, but I love my family more. So making it home is the top priority. I’ve learned enough over the years to not go down a path I’m not prepared for.
Kinda curious about this. You said he had to "ditch" the boat. Does that mean still in the water, or did he somehow pull it up and out? Do you plan on pulling the boat out over the ice this winter if possible? What size boat? Like I said, just curious is all.
 

urbanhillbilly

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Kinda curious about this. You said he had to "ditch" the boat. Does that mean still in the water, or did he somehow pull it up and out? Do you plan on pulling the boat out over the ice this winter if possible? What size boat? Like I said, just curious is all.
I don’t know a whole lot of details… Or a plan to get it out yet…

I know he was out right before freeze and water levels were not on his side. He was able to use a come along or something and get it on the shore. That’s all I know.
 

NRick

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Depending on conditions and the size of the boat, you might be able to drag it out with a snow machine.
 

urbanhillbilly

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It’s a 21’ welded inboard jet, so I’m not too sure about that. Going up there at the end of February to check it out and come up with more of a plan
 

urbanhillbilly

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Should be an interesting story! Good luck!

There is a RV park where the Parks Hwy. crosses the Willow. I see snow cats parked there when I go by. Rent or hire?
That is an option we’ve been considering, although I’m not sure what the story is with those particular cats.

We found someone with a boat trailer on skis, so it might happen when we go up there.

I’m definitely looking forward to the adventure!
 

markopolo50

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I'm sure you guys can ride off trail just fine. I thought I could too. I was on a spring bear hunt a few years ago with brwnbr, and we stayed at the Alpine Creek Lodge. I was ok on the road going in, although I was whipped when we got there. We did haul gas and other things in, so it was slow going. The big surprise came the next day when we got off trail The 3 feet of powder really was a shock. I never fell and ditched a machine so much as I did that trip.

Hope the river is good traveling for you and you get the boat out!!
 

MacGyver

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In front of young kits that type of snow is called cornstarch. You were lucky it was only three feet. We were riding widetracks when we broke threw 8 feet of that %&@#$% snow on top of alters. It could have been worst, there was no thick crust on top and the widetracks were set up for soft snow.
 

urbanhillbilly

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Hot damn! That’s some deep stuff!!

Yeah, my old sled (96 Indy RMK 500 fan) isn’t great for the deep. I don’t plan on going off trail too much at all with it.

There will be some wide tracks and deep snow sleds in the company as well for that stuff
 

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