Gulkana River, Main Fork, Middle Fork, and West Fork

Gulkana, Alaska

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The Gulkana, a National Wild and Scenic River, is one of Alaska's most popular whitewater rivers because of its road accessibility and because of the outstanding fishing opportunities it offers. From its headwaters in the lake and plateau country at the foot of the Alaska Range, the beautifully clear Gulkana flows through forested rolling hills for 83 miles before meeting the Copper River. It has two major tributaries, the Middle Fork and the West Fork. To run the Main Fork of the Gulkana, you must row or paddle 3 miles down Paxson Lake to its outlet. The first 3 miles out of Paxson Lake are shallow, rocky Class II rapids. Here the river drops about 25 feet per mile; continuous fast water and small rapids require alertness. Several old cabins with sagging sod roofs can be seen on the riverbanks.

Gulkana River, Main Fork, Middle Fork, and West Fork Professional Review and Guide

"The Gulkana, a National Wild and Scenic River, is one of Alaska's most popular whitewater rivers because of its road accessibility and because of the outstanding fishing opportunities it offers. From its headwaters in the lake and plateau country at the foot of the Alaska Range, the beautifully clear Gulkana flows through forested rolling hills for 83 miles before meeting the Copper River.

It has two major tributaries, the Middle Fork and the West Fork. To run the Main Fork of the Gulkana, you must row or paddle 3 miles down Paxson Lake to its outlet. The first 3 miles out of Paxson Lake are shallow, rocky Class II rapids. Here the river drops about 25 feet per mile; continuous fast water and small rapids require alertness. Several old cabins with sagging sod roofs can be seen on the riverbanks."

Activity Type: Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing
Nearby City: Gulkana
Distance: 100
Duration: 2-12 days
Class: Class I-IV
Season: June through mid-September
Local Contacts: Bureau of Land Management, Glemlallen; Ahtna, Inc The upper Gulkana River is a National Wild and Scenic River.
Driving Directions: Directions to Gulkana River, Main Fork, Middle Fork, and West Fork

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May 2018