Join master photographers Carr Clifton and Jerry Dodrill in rafting through the stunning landscape of the world's largest contiguous protected wilderness, complete with a helicopter portage for an aerial view of treacherous Class VI whitewater in Turn Back Canyon. Starting in Yukon Territory, Canada and ending at the estuary of the Alsek River in Alaska, raft through the Tatshenshini-Alsek Park, bordered by Kluane National Park and Reserve, Glacier Bay National Park, and Wrangell-St. Elias National Park.
The alpine splendor and wildlife of the tundra and lakes will make for a very rewarding excursion for the passionate photographer. Expect to see bald eagles and other birds, such as semi-palmated plovers, spotted sandpipers, northern phalaropes, American pipits, and more. Other possible sightings of wildlife include grizzly bear, moose, mountain goat, beaver, wolf, muskrat, wolverine, mink, weasel, snowshoe rabbit, hoary marmot, and Alaska red fox. In addition to visits from the northern wildlife that co-habitat around the Alsek River, enjoy a landscape filled with natural wonder where untouched snow, scattered icebergs, and glacier activity captivate our inner curiosities to see such unspoiled and precious scenery.
From the nights of August 20 to 30, our group will make camp along the river each night. Enjoy delicious meals and tales of the river around a crackling riverside campfire beneath the stars, or even the Northern Lights if we're lucky. We provide spacious tents with ample vestibule room for your gear. Guides will show you how to set up tents the first night camping in order for you to set up your own tent throughout the trip with assistance from the guides.
Each 18-foot, self-bailing raft seats five people total with one guide at the oars providing expert leadership and familiarity with the river and region. Instructors Carr and Jerry will rotate among the rafts to guarantee that they are available to everyone. Paddling is not necessary as navigation from the guides is sufficient in floating on course down the Alsek River.
Click "read more" below right for the itinerary, photo gallery, and more information...
This itinerary is all-inclusive from pickup to drop-off at the airport in Juneau (JNU).
18 Aug. Fri: Juneau - Arrive in Juneau, Alaska. Ground transportation provided to your hotel for the night. Dinner at one of Juneau's finest dining establishments with instructors and those who have arrived in town. Overnight at Best Western Country Lane Inn. (D)
19 Aug. Sat: Haines - Hot breakfast provided at the Best Western. Transfer back to the airport for 11am chartered air taxi to Haines, Alaska. Short transfer to the Victoria-era Halsingland Hotel to drop off luggage. Enjoy lunch in town and visit convenience stores and grocery stores located near to the hotel in Haines for last minute shopping before camping along the Alsek River. Check-in at the hotel around 3:00pm, followed by 4:00pm introductory session with instructors. During the 5:00pm pre-trip meeting with raft guides, they will distribute personal camping equipment, rain gear, dry bags, and rubber boots. We will share a festive group dinner in town at one of Haine's finest dining establishments. Overnight at Halsingland Hotel. (B, L, D)
20 Aug. Sun: Haines Junction, Yukon Territory, Canada - Start the day with a group breakfast. At 8:00 a.m. board a van for a beautiful 3½-hour drive (155 miles) up the Chilkat River Valley to Haines Junction in Yukon Territory, Canada. After lunch, we drive for about another hour to the Dezadeash River. Launch rafts and float down the Dezadeash to the confluence with the Kaskawulsh River. In case of high winds, the guides may elect to stay at this campsite overnight and start the raft trip instead early the next morning. (B, L, D)
21 Aug. Mon - 26 Aug. Sat: Alsek River - Continue rafting down the Alsek River. Pass Lowell Glacier and large bedrock islands. There will be plenty of hiking opportunities, especially as the raft crosses fields of wildflowers and trees with leaves turning colors as autumn approaches. Enjoy outstanding views of the St. Elias range, and on clear days, Mounts Kennedy, Hubbard, and Alverstone. As you paddle through the Alsek Range, there will be more wildlife present, including bears and the Alaska red fox. After passing Tweedsmuir Glacier, we move ashore at the Turnback Canyon where rapids become too strong to raft through. (B, L, D)
27 Aug. Sun: Portage - A helicopter will fly in to ferry everyone and the equipment to the gravel flats south of the canyon, where the river is wider and there are numerous braided channels. The vegetation is greener, and bald eagles perch along the mossy cliffs of the Icefield and Noisey Ranges. Depending on the time of portage, the group will relaunch the rafts and drift through the wide valley to the majestic confluence of the Tatshenshini and Alsek Rivers. (B, L, D)
28 Aug. Mon: Tatshenshini River - Continue rafting down the river through deep forested canyons while passing more glaciers in the direction of the Gulf of Alaska. A large glacier, called the “Walker Glacier” by river-runners, offers a venue for those who are eager to try a glacier hike. (B, L, D)
29 Aug. Tues - 30 Aug. Weds: Alsek Bay - Float towards Alsek Bay (Alsek Lake) where a variety of species of birds reside. The Alsek and Grand Plateau Glaciers flow into Alsek Bay. Icebergs from these glacier will form around the Bay. The guides will row to the best locations for spotting wildlife and photographing the uniquely shaped icebergs. (B, L, D)
31 Aug. Thurs: Back to Juneau - Drift by the plains beyond Alsek Bay and arrive at the Dry Bay Fishing Company outpost along the estuary of the Alsek River. A small aircraft will meet the group for a charter flight to Yakutat in time for your scheduled Alaskan Airlines service to Juneau. Check-in back into the Best Western Country Lane Inn and enjoy a final group dinner. Overnight at Best Western Country Lane Inn. (B, L, D)
1 Sept. Fri: Flights Home - Fly back home at anytime today. As most flights homeward on Thursday necessitate a forced overnight in Seattle before connecting with onward-bound flights, this itinerary ends today so that accommodations could be included in Juneau to ease your travels back home.
- VISA: You will need a passport as proof of nationality to enter Canada. Please check visa requirements if you are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen. Your passport must be valid for six months beyond completion of the trip.
- TRAVEL INSURANCE: We always strongly recommend arranging travel insurance. Travelguard.com is excellent.
- FLIGHTS: Charter flights from Juneau to Haines and from Yakutat to Juneau are included. Please contact us if you would like recommendations regarding flights to and from Juneau (airport code: JNU).
- GRATUITIES: Our raft guides work very hard to make our experience there the best it can be, and Visionary Wild budgets for a baseline group tip to ensure their services are acknowledged. Guests are encouraged to tip additionally to recognize exceptional service.