The Chitina River, river to riches for many early Alaska prospectors, is a massive river drainage originating from the glacier of the same name off the flanks of mighty Mount Logan in Canada, effectively doubling the size of the Copper River once the two streams flow together. Chitina means “copper river” in the indigenous Ahtna language, originally unable to decide which drainage to name “Copper” due the large size of both rivers it was compromised to name both rivers “Copper” just in different languages. Regardless of which language you look at, Chitina river rafting is a truly classic Alaska wilderness adventure!
Our raft trip begins in McCarthy, just down stream from the terminus of the Kennicott Glacier. After exiting the lake at the toe of the glacier the river picks up speed as it moves along its unstoppable coarse towards the ocean. The fast current of the Kennicott flowing over the shallow gravel shoals of glacier remnants is fun and splashy, providing some high excitement as we negotiate its six mile course towards the Nizina River.
We offer both three and four day trips on our “River to Riches” float, allowing for more hiking and exploration of the excellent side drainage’s with the extra day.
After we merge with the Nizina, the river becomes broader with large rolling waves for the next few miles, spotting eagles and other Alaska wildlife are not uncommon as we take a moment to enjoy the beautiful views around us. To make sure we do not get to comfortable the river offers ever changing channels and new rapids as we wind through the gravel bars and broad valley the river has carved before entering the Nizina River Canyon. Seemingly, in just one bend of the river’s coarse we enter the constricted walls of the canyon, moving the river into one main channel and creating tight turns that form both fun rapids and confounding river boils, created by so much water being compressed into so small a space. The towering limestone cliffs of the Nizina Canyon offer great viewing of the areas geology.
Once through the canyon, which ends almost as abruptly as it began, we enter the wider scenic valley of the Chitina river, where stern wheel paddle boats once brought ore rich with copper downstream to Cordova for shipment to market. Along the way we will see historical remnants of prospectors and explorers as they made their way into the Alaska wilderness. As we continue down river, the Wrangell Mountains to the North and the Chugach Mountains to the South, we leave the ecological and geological zones of the Wrangell’s and enter into those of the Chugach Mountains, rock hounds delight at the broad range of cobble to be found along these rivers!
This past summer we signed up for a 3 day trip down the Chitina with McCarthy River Tours & Outfitters. Nik and his team were incredibly knowledgeable, professional, prepared and most all fun to hang out with. We had a great time, got more than our fill of adventure and saw some of the most incredible wilderness I’ve been exposed to in a long long time. Thanks so much for everything!
-Carl B. Oakland, California
Trips can be custom booked for any launch date throughout the Season
Trips Launch Every Tuesday and Friday From June 6 to September 1st
3 Day Expedition: $985 Per Person
4 Day Expedition: $1250 Per Person
~ Raft Four Alaska Rivers on One Trip!
~ Trace the Same Route that Prospectors Used Over 100 Years Ago on Their Way to Copper & Gold Riches!
~ Great Hiking & Exploring Opportunities!
~ Scenic Rafting Great for Families and Groups!
~ Gourmet Meal Plan that includes locally sourced Meats & Veggies!
~ Highest Quality River Gear in the Wrangell Mountains!