Alatna, Alaska, US
|Usual Difficulty||I(II) (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||12 fpm|
|Max Gradient||40 fpm|
This federally-designated Wild and Scenic river orginates near the headwaters of the Noatak, in Gates of the Arctic National Park. This is one of the most remote wilderness regions on the planet and the river is the best means of experiencing the landscape. The river meanders through the Endicott mountains and through a boreal forest and taiga before it ends at the village of Allakaket, located at the river's confluence with the Koyukuk River.
There are some more challenging sections upstream of the confluence of Arrigetch Creek including a short stretch of class III above Ram Creek that you can portage. The pace of the river mellows considerably once you reach Arrigetch Creek which is one popular option as a starting point for river trips. The river valley provides excellent opportunities for hiking and camping. Just be aware of the fact that the river can rise quickly.
Take a commerical flight from Fairbanks to Bettles and then arrange a bush plane for a flight into the park. You will also need to arrange a pick-up. The listed put-in coordinates are a lake at the headwaters of the river in Gates of the Arctic National Park. The takeout coordinates are at the town of Allakaket on the Koyukuk River just downstream of the Alatna confluence.
Brown Bears are common in this area. Food storage and cooking must be separate from sleeping areas. Bear spray and guns are required for self protection.
Gates of the Arctic National Park
Alatna River: Gates of the Arctic
American Whitewater Journal, Sept/Oct - 2010
Alaska Impressions - Alatna River 2011: Youtube slide show
Alatna 2009, Slideshow.pdf
|Mile||Rapid Name||Class||Features (Legend)|
This lake is near the headwaters of the Alatna River. Several other rivers originate in the same area, but generally flowing north to the Arctic Sea, while the Alatna flows south. The elevation is 2800 feet.
The Arrigetch Peaks and Aquarius Valley are a popular side hike from the Alatna River.
This lake is large enough for float planes to land and it is a short, 1/4 mile portage from the river. Takahula can be used as a take out, put in or resupply point. The elevation is 854 feet. The river gradient from here to Allakaket averages 3.4 feet per mile for 130 miles.