Wilderness Adventures in British Columbia & Yukon since 1988
The Tatshenshini-Alsek has long been regarded as one of the top ten scenic rivers in the world. The conservation efforts to save this river system are considered one of the greatest success stories of the North American environmental movement, having resulted in the protection of a wilderness area spanning over 22 million hectares. Fed by the massive glaciers of the St. Elias range, this river system spans separate valleys before converging at the Alaskan border. The river then takes the name “Alsek” and continues to flow to the sea, covering a total of 160 miles from source to mouth. Along its course, it can be over a mile wide—a mass of confusing channels and gravel bars stretching from valley wall to distant valley wall—or it can get squeezed through canyon walls a stone’s throw apart. Our journey will take us through alpine tundra, towering mountains, unparalleled wildlife populations and extraordinary bio-diversity, with ecosystems ranging from sea level to 15,000 feet.
Our expedition rafts accommodate beginners. Experienced paddlers and beginners are welcome to participate by paddling. The guides are able to navigate by oars, so paddling is optional most of the time.
British Columbia has the most stringent guide licensing regulations in the world! Our guides are highly trained and certified in advanced Swift Water Rescue and Wilderness First Aid. They are very experienced in the outdoors and well versed in dealing with the unexpected. You will receive an orientation to safe rafting and expedition practices on the first day & learn all the basic skills that you’ll require to enjoy the trip safely. You will be supplied with a life jacket or personal floatation device (PFD) that you are required to wear whenever we are on the river.
Camping Practices: The guides do most of the work of setting up and taking down the camp, but all help is appreciated and travelers should be prepared for group living in an outdoor environment. We are committed to the “leave-no-trace” style of camping; so all our equipment comes with us on the rafts from one camp to the next.
Wildlife: The Tatshenshini River Valley is renowned for its undisturbed and diverse wildlife populations. While we will attempt to find environments conducive to wildlife viewing, we must remember that we are visitors and look to not disturbing, pursuing, or harassing them.
Rafts: 18’ long, state-of-the-art self-bailing rafts. These four-to six-person rafts are oared by your guides who are assisted by paddling where required, but for most of the time travelers can just sit back and soak up the views.
Weather: In the North, the weather can roll in quickly and fiercely. There are days when we are completely surrounded by ice fields and glaciers, and the temperatures, combined with wind factors can be chilling. Your trip will likely expose you to every combination of weather imaginable. Following our recommended clothing list should ensure that you remain comfortable in sunny stretches and downpours alike.
In July, average daytime temperatures are 69F/21C and evenings 54F/12C
ITINERARY TATSHESHINI RAFTING
- Food: All meals while on the river, including snacks and beverages.
- Arrival in Departure City: You should be here at least one day before Day 1.
- Total Rafting Distance: 265 km – 165 miles.
Level of Activity:
Rafting – Of the 9 river days we spend 7 of them rafting, and the other 2 “laying over” in camp. We spend three to five hours on the water on rafting days, mostly on class I or II rapids – a gentle, bobbing current. We will encounter a stretch of class III/IV rapids on Day 3.
Hiking – We can walk daily near our campsites exploring the local flora and fauna, or stopping on the river to check out points of interest. On a layover day there is an optional hike into the alpine tundra zone. A guide accompanies you at all times. Another highlight hike to the base of the Walker Glacier where we walk on a live glacier.
The journey begins at 8:00am when we pick you up from your hotel in Whitehorse. Stop in Haines Junction to visit the Kluane National Park Visitor Centre. We will drive to U.S. customs to register as we cross into Alaska at Dry Bay. After clearing customs we’ll head to Dalton Post to meet up with the other guides who have been rigging the rafts in preparation for our journey. Our first night of camping.
After breaking down camp, and a thorough safety briefing, we set off down river deep into the canyons of the St. Elias Mountains. There are some exciting Class III rapids during a short portion of the canyon.
The river offers panoramic mountain vistas. Be ready to view wildlife along the way – eagles, bears, moose, swan. We will camp at Sediments Creek. On Day 5, options are available – relax at camp or join a hike to an open ridge where you’ll see great views of the meandering river and the surrounding area
The views become more spectacular, with glaciers defining the surrounding mountains. and broadening of the river as more small tributaries over these two days.
Now on the Alsek River, we will raft towards Walker Glacier, with views of it on the water from a distance. We will camp near the Walker Glacier and you can join your guide for a hike to the glacier and see this majestic landscape up close.
Alsek Lake is the climax of the trip and our last campsite. The lake is filled with floating icebergs that have carved from 2 enormous glaciers that feed the lake. We will paddle out to get a closer view and an experience that you’ll never forget.
After breaking camp for the last time, we’ll float the last few miles down to the airstrip at Dry Bay, Alaska. You’ll arrive back in Whitehorse in just over an hour and we’ll take you to your hotel. We’ll get together for our farewell dinner.
What is included in the cost
• Expert certified river guides
• State-of-the-art expedition equipment including an all-season tent (shared between 2 guests), sleeping bag, Thermarest air mattress, safety equipment and waterproof bags for your personal belongings
• All on-trip meals and beverages, including a selection of vintage wines, spirits, local and imported beers, non-alcoholic drinks and fresh water
• All necessary park permits and entrance fees
• Detailed maps, field scope, and a library of regional books.
• All transfers between Whitehorse, YT. and the river.
What is excluded in the cost
• Travel to Whitehorse
• Airport Transfers
• Accommodation in Whitehorse
• Personal Gear as listed on our packing info
• Any gratuities