Top Ten All-Time Classic Whitewater Rafting Trips
Difficulty: Class III to IV
Season: June through September
Trip Length: Ten or more days
The Alsek and Tatchenshini are two arms of the same river. Both begin in Canada's Yukon Territory, and join before entering Alaska at the northern edge of Glacier Bay National Park.
The upper Alsek arm offers big-time scenery. If you ever wondered what North America looked like when it was covered with glaciers, take this trip. This is a land of huge glaciers, ice dams, terminal moraines, and raging rivers. Four-mile-long and well-named Turnback Canyon is deemed unrunnable: Rafters must either take an arduous portage around it or jump it in a helicopter.
The Tat arm serves up more wildlife and tamer whitewater—nothing higher than Class III. Sightings of Yukon moose, bald eagles, and grizzly bears can almost be guaranteed. Most trips start at Dalton Post. When the Tat and the Alsek finally meet, the river becomes a mile wide at spots. Immense glaciers come almost to the river's edge and paddlers must contend with icebergs. The environment changes dramatically near the coast, with tundra giving way to luxuriant coastal forest.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication