Alaska Alpine Adventures - vacations and travel

Charley River - Yukon Charley Rivers National Preserve

“Again, I cannot begin to thank you for the most incredible trip ever! It was perfect in every way! ”
Northwest, Alaska, United States

from $3,650* per person 10 Days June-September
Comfort accommodations Exertion level: 5
Operator: Alaska Alpine Adventures 8 people max
  • Fairbanks
  • Active & Adventure trips
Rafting the Charley River in Alaska is one of the most amazing multi-day whitewater rafting trips anywhere! The Charley is a cold, clear, intermediate river that flows from its headwaters at approximately 4,000 feet elevation to its confluence with the Yukon at about 700 feet. Designated as a National Wild and Scenic River, the Charley offers varied and spectacular scenery as well as untouched wilderness.

With it's headwaters in a rugged mountain area where peaks over 6,000 feet are common and with a gradient of 31 feet per mile (rating of Class 3), the Charley has been called the best whitewater river in Alaska’s vast interior. Wildlife in the corridor is abundant and peregrine falcons, sheep, caribou, moose, and bears may be encountered along the narrower sections of the river. This ten-day river excursion  will allow us the unique opportunity to completely immerse ourselves in one of the most spectacular watersheds in Alaska.

Locations visited/nearby

Northwest, Alaska, United States

1 testimonial about this trip

  1. Reviewer:
    "Again, I cannot begin to thank you for the most incredible trip ever! It was perfect in every way!"
    5

3 testimonials about the provider, Alaska Alpine Adventures:

  • Reviewer:
    "The scenery and routes were gorgeous – we loved the area. Food was fantastic and far exceeded our expectations. Guides were extremely knowledgeable and fun to travel with.”"
    5
  • Reviewer:
    "This was a great trip, it truly exceeded my expectations."
    5
  • Reviewer:
    “As a seasoned backpacker worldwide, I would rate this trip as a once in a lifetime experience!  I’ve never had better food in the field.  Great weather, spectacular scenery.  Overall – outstanding!”
    5

Comments from Facebook

Itinerary

Day 1: Today you are free to arrive in Fairbanks on your own. We’ll be staying at Pikes Waterfront Lodge, which is located near the airport on the banks of the Chena River.  After checking into the hotel, you’ll meet our guides by early afternoon in the hotel lobby. Tonight we’ll do an orientation dinner at our favorite Thai restaurant in Fairbanks and upon returning to our hotel, we’ll pour over maps and discuss the route.  Dinner included.

Day 2: Our assistant guide will be taken to the airport with all of the gear.  You and our lead guide will then begin the drive to Circle City, Alaska along the 162 mile Steese Highway.  When we arrive in Circle, we’ll meet our bush pilot who will whisk us by airplane to Gelvin’s Airstrip, an undeveloped gravel airstrip at the headwaters of the Charley River and in the heart of Yukon Charley National Preserve.  We’ll set up camp along the river and go for an evening walk to get a lay of the land.  All meals included.

Day 3: After assembling our rafts and equipment, we’ll begin our float down the Charley.  The first day begins with some easy water, which gives you the opportunity to familiarize yourself with our SOAR inflatable canoes – really the perfect craft for this river.  Within an hour however, things begin to get exciting.  The river begins to loose elevation and rounded granite boulders start showing up with more frequency.  We’ll finish the last 5 hours of the day scouting and running fun class III rapids and negotiating tight chutes between rocks.  We’ll set up camp at the confluence of the Charley and Crescent Creek. All meals included.

Days 4-7: The Charley River is a cold, clear, intermediate stream that flows from its headwaters at approximately 4000 feet elevation to its confluence with the Yukon at about 700 feet. Designated as a National Wild and Scenic River, the Charley offers varied and spectacular scenery as well as unspoiled wilderness. The upland valleys drain a rugged mountain area where peaks over 6000 feet are common and with a gradient of 31 feet per mile and a rating of Class 3, the Charley has been called the best whitewater river in Alaska’s vast interior.  Wildlife in the corridor is abundant and peregrine falcons, sheep, caribou, moose, and bears may be encountered along the narrower sections of the river. Days 4 and 5 offer exciting whitewater and by the time we begin day 6, the river leaves the mountains and flows sometime silently through this spectacular wilderness.  By day 7, we reach the confluence of the mighty Yukon and will begin our float down the Yukon and back to Circle City. All meals included.

Days 8-9: By the evening of day 7, we’ll be camped at Slaven’s Roadhouse – an historic and renovated roadhouse along the Yukon.  This place was used extensively during the gold rush and the property is rich with historic artifacts from a bygone era.  You’ll feel the spirit of Jack London as you explore the area and contemplate the lives that these Alaskan pioneers carved from this amazing watershed.  The next two days rafting down the massive Yukon River are truly extraordinary!  Though the river is technically easy and feels almost languid, the current carries you downstream at an average of 6 miles/hour – remarkable considering that the elevation loss is insignificant.  In fact, we cover roughly 80 miles of river in just over two days! All meals included.

Day 10: We’ll meander down the Yukon River and should reach Circle by mid-morning on the 10th day of the expedition.  We’ll then break down the gear, load the van, and return to Fairbanks.  Please schedule homebound flights from Fairbanks for after 9pm.  Breakfast & Lunch included.

More information from Alaska Alpine Adventures: