Wild & Scenic Rivers - Alaska

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Alagnak River
Katmai National Park and Preserve
The Alagnak River flows from Kukaklek Lake in Katmai National Preserve and offers outstanding wilderness recreation and fishing opportunities. The river is also noted for abundant wildlife.
Total Miles: 67; Wild: 67

Alatna River
Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve
The stream lies partially within Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, Alaska, in the Central Brooks Range. Wildlife, scenery, and interesting geologic features abound in the river corridor.
Total Miles: 83; Wild: 83

Andreafsky River
Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge
Located entirely within Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska, the highlands around both forks of the Andreafsky are one of two known nesting areas for the bristle-thighed curlew.
Total Miles: 262, Wild: 262

Aniakchak River
Aniakchak National Monument and Preserve
The river, which lies within Aniakchak National Monument and Preserve, Alaska, flows out of Aniakchak Caldera and plunges spectacularly through "The Gates" on its way to the Pacific Ocean
Total Miles: 63, Wild: 63

Beaver Creek
Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge
Bureau of Land Management, Steese White Mountains District,
1150 University Avenue, Fairbanks,
AK 99709-3844
This Alaskan river is a moderately swift, shallow stream which flows through rolling hills and past the jagged limestone peaks within the White Mountains National Recreation Area. Downstream, it slows and meanders north through Yukon Flats on its way to the Yukon River. It is an excellent river for the novice looking for outstanding wilderness floating.
Total Miles: 127, Wild: 127

Birch Creek
Bureau of Land Management, Steese/White Mountains District,
1150 University Avenue, Fairbanks,
AK 99709-3844
From its headwaters north of the Steese National Conservation Area, this river flows swiftly through upland plateaus, forested valleys, and rolling hills where river travelers often see moose, caribou, arctic grayling, and a variety of birds. Road accessible at its upper and lower ends, this is one of Alaska's most popular float rivers. Stretches flowing through wilderness environments challenge advanced whitewater enthusiasts.
Total Miles: 126, Wild: 126

Charley River
Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve
Lying within Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve, Alaska, this stream is known for the exceptional clarity of its water. For the experienced canoeist or kayaker, it offers many miles of whitewater challenges.
Total Miles: 208, Wild: 208

Chilikadrotna River
Lake Clark National Park and Preserve
The river lies within Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Long stretches of swift water and outstanding fishing are exceptional features
Total Miles: 11, Wild: 11

Delta River
Bureau of Land Management, Glennallen District,
P.O. Box 147, Glennallen, AK 99588
This river watershed begins high in south-central Alaska and connects a series of lakes Iying in the Alaska Range. It offers excellent floating opportunities on its flow north to the Yukon River. At Tangle Lakes Archeological District evidence of cultures dating back 10,000 years has been found.
Total Miles: 62, Wild: 20, Scenic 24, Recreational: 18

Fortymile River
Bureau of Land Management, Steese/White Mountains District'
1150 University Avenue, Fairbanks, AK 99709-3844
This river system is an extensive network of creeks and rivers in east-central Alaska where boaters have many choices for trips through winding canyons of birch, spruce and aspen, and muskeg marshes to alpine tundra on the flanks of Mount Fairplay.
Total Miles: 392, Wild: 179, Scenic 203, Recreational: 10

Gulkana River
Bureau of Land Management, Glennallen District,
P.O. Box 147, Glennallen, AK 99588
With the grandeur of Alaska's Wrangell Mountains in the distance and a variety of whitewater, the Gulkana is an outstanding recreation resource. The Gulkana system offers excellent opportunities for seeing moose, waterfowl, bald eagle, and bear. Salmon runs peak from mid-June to late July and floaters can expect weekend fishermen on the lower stretches.
Total Miles: 181, Wild: 181

Ivishak River
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
Lying in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska, this braided river passes year-round flowing springs, ice fields, and glaciers in hanging valleys. Birdlife probably exceeds 100 species.
Total Miles: 80, Wild: 80

John River
Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve
P.O. Box 74680, Fairbanks, AK 99707
This river flows south from Anaktuvuk Pass in Alaska's Brooks Range. The valley is an important migration route for the arctic caribou herd.
Total Miles: 52, Wild: 52

Kobuk River
Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve
From its headwaters in the Endicott Mountains and Walker Lake, the river courses south and west through a wide valley and passes through two scenic canyons.
Total Miles: 110, Wild: 110

Koyukuk River, North Fork
Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve
This river flows from the south flank of the Arctic Divide through broad, glacially-carved valleys, through the rugged Endicott Mountains in Alaska's Central Brooks Range. It passes between the "Gates of the Arctic" at Boreal Mountain and Frigid Crags.
Total Miles: 102, Wild: 102

Mulchatna River
Lake Clark National Park and Preserve
The Mulchatna River, which lies within Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, is exceptionally scenic as it flows out of Turquoise Lake with the glacier-clad Chigmit Mountains to the east. Both moose and caribou inhabit the area.
Total Miles: 24, Wild: 24

Noatak River
Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve
Noatak National Preserve
The Noatak is situated in Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve and Noatak National Preserve in Alaska. The Noatak drains the largest mountain ringed river basin in America that is still virtually unaffected by human activities.
Total Miles: 330, Wild: 330

Nowitna River
Nowitna National Wildlife Refuge
Flowing through the Nowitna National Wildlife Refuge, the lower portion of the river meanders through productive waterfowl nesting areas.
Total Miles: 225, Wild: 225

Salmon River, Alaska
Kobuk Valley National Park
Located within Kobuk Valley National Park, Alaska, the river is small but exceptionally beautiful with deep, blue-green pools and many rock outcroppings. Vegetation ranges from alpine tundra to treeless bogs.
Total Miles: 70, Wild: 70

Selawik River
Selawik National Wildlife Refuge
Lying entirely within the Selawik National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska, this river is one of the major drainages of the Kobuk region of northwest Alaska. The river is known for its fishing and variety of wildlife.
Total Miles: 160, Wild: 160

Sheenjek River
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
Originating from expansive glaciers in the Romanzof Mountains, this river travels south 200 miles to join the Porcupine River near its junction with the mighty Yukon. The river flows through a wide variety of arctic habitats and scenery.
Total Miles: 160, Wild: 160

Tinayguk River
Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve
Alaska's Tinayquk River is the largest tributary of the North Fork of the Koyukuk. Both lie entirely within the pristine environment of Gates- of the Arctic National Park.
Total Miles: 44, Wild: 44

Tlikakila River
Lake Clark National Park and Preserve
Located about 100 air miles west of Anchorage in Lake Clark National Park, Alaska, the Tlikakila River is closely flanked by glaciers, 10,000-foot high rock and-snow capped mountains, and perpendicular cliffs.
Total Miles: 51, Wild: 51

Unalakleet River
Bureau of Land Management, Anchorage District Office,
6881 Abbott Loop Road, Anchorage, AK 99507
This northwest Alaska river is best known for its fishing opportunities for king and silver salmon, arctic grayling, and char. The river played a significant role in prehistoric and Russian era trade, and was an important corridor for early American telegraph, mail, and travel routes.
Total Miles: 80, Wild: 80

Wind River
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
Beginning in the Philip Smith Mountains, this river offers a wide variety of vegetation, scenery, and wildlife characteristic of a boreal forest on the south slope of the refuge.
Total Miles: 140, Wild: 140

Definitions of the terms; "Wild, Scenic, and Recreational."

Contrary to what you might think, these terms don't describe the character of the river. Wild doesn't mean it's a wicked and foamy stretch of whitewater, and scenic doesn't mean it's a pastoral float. Rather, it's all about accessibility. Here's what the government says. . .

Wild; this river is accessible only by trail, is undeveloped and generally is unpolluted.
Scenic; this river can be accessed by some roads but is mainly still a trail access river.
Recreational; this river has been developed along the shoreline and is easily accessible by roads, trails not necessary.


Published: 28 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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