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Difficulty III+
Length 6 Miles
Flow Range 100 - 1000 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 48 minutes ago 141 [CFS] ℹ️
Reach Info Last Updated 10/15/2004 7:23 pm

River Description


The put-in for Moose Creek is reached by turning north off the Glenn Highway onto the Buffalo Mine Road 3.4 miles northeast of the Willow/Fishhook turnoff (approximately Milepost 60). Continue for 5.0 miles, passing from paved to gravel road, and turn right 50 yards before the chain across the road. Drive 100 yards down to the river and park. Put in just below the ATV bridge, and look for the coal fire burning through the mountain across the river.


Take out 200 yards upstream of the Glenn Highway Bridge where a faint trail meets the creek. Walk 100 yards east through the woods to the car pull out. If you miss the takeout, just continue down to the bridge, and walk the highway back to your car.


Moose Creek (one of at least 30 ÂMoose Creeks in Alaska) is a class III+ creek 20 minutes from Palmer. It is a small volume run that is enjoyable at low to high flows. The rapids consist of sections of moderately steep water flowing over and around small granite boulders and a short shale canyon making up several ledge drops, including a relatively safe 10-foot waterfall. There are very few places deep enough to roll a kayak, but single-boat eddies are nearly constant, and everything but the waterfall can be boat scouted. The water is clear and cold, and supports a large run of king and silver salmon, which can make the stretch below the waterfall a bit smelly. The salmon also lead to a fair amount of bear encounters, which can be exciting in such a small creek. There are a few log hazards, and the rapids change often due to fall flooding. Moose Creek flows through Tsadaka Canyon, a U-shaped valley that intersects the Matanuska River Valley. Leaf fossils are common in the Tsadaka Canyon shales.

The whitewater starts immediately from the pool below the bridge. Boulder dodging and boofing are continuous with few discernable drops. After approximately 2 hours on the river, a bridge will be reached which can be ducked under on the left side at low flows. Fifteen minutes below the bridge, a straight section of the creek is bound on the left side by a loose shale bank devoid of vegetation. Shale ledges create river-wide waves, and announce the first major ledge drop, which can be scouted from eddies on river left. This drop is called the Electric Slide, or the Electric Grind at low flows. The usual line is either hard left (recommended) or hard right. The drop is really not all that notable except that it is the drop right above the waterfall. Below the Electric Slide, eddy out on river right to scout the waterfall. A few drops below the waterfall, a river-wide ledge will be seen. This 2Â ledge claims an inordinate amount of good boaters. Either grovel and scrape down it on the far left, or pay up and run it center right. The hole gets stickier at lower water.

Moose Creek has its share of issues.

  • 1. The put-in has been the site of some major vehicle vandalism, Alaska-style. Instead of breaking a window and stealing the stereo, or even putting the ride on blocks, local vandals simply lit the car on fire and enjoyed the rosy burn.
  • 2. The waterfall section is actually not the natural stream course. The river was diverted to expose the riverbed in the early part of the 20th century for placer mining purposes, thus creating the entire shale section. Various environmental groups, native groups, and state agencies have decided to return the stream to its natural course. Survey work began in the fall of 2003. As of June 2004, no further work had taken place.
  • 3. In addition to natural log hazards, Moose Creek has several sections where rails are exposed mid-river from past mining activity. In addition, in the last few years, there has been a 4-wheel ATV that has been slowly migrating downriver with each flood. It is now in the section below the ledgedrop, and looks sharp.

Additional Information has two trip reports, one at 170 cfs and one at 130 cfs.

Rapid Descriptions


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Doug Wiedwald
2 years ago

Lets clear some of the wood out of this river! I hiked it from the takeout a few days ago. Clearing wood seems very manageable with a rope and saw. There are about 7 logs in the last 2 miles of the run. I will post on Alaska Packraft FB page as well. Post on the FB page if you are heading up there so that others know you are working in the area. Our group cleared one log near the parking lot.

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12 years ago

Ran the stream today; one kayaker one pack rafter. Very bony and approxiametly 10 places that needed to be portaged due to river wide trees. Needs to be cleaned up and lots of water for an enjoyable run. A notch run, would not do it again. Very pretty canyon. Lots of salmon. Danny Crow

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12 years ago

This creek is below my neat to hear it described in such detail! :) Several phases of re-routing have been done. The falls are no longer there. The major flooding that happened in late summer of 2006 did some damage to the creek and did some re-routing of it's own.

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Todd Kelsey
15 years ago

Construction is beginning on the re-routing of the creek around the falls. The engineer in charge is an Alaskan whitewater kayaker, and is very aware that Moose Creek is a good resource. Keep your head up for machinery and debris in the channel below the bridge and above the ledge drop.

Gage Descriptions

The USGS gauge was discontinued in 2002, but a stake has been driven into the creekbed at the end of the put-in pool on the right side. 1.2' equates to about 125 cfs, 1.4' to 200 cfs, and 1.8' to 400 cfs.

Directions Description

We have no additional detail on this route. Use the map below to calculate how to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.

No Accident Reports




Todd Kelsey


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1192346 10/15/04 Todd Kelsey n/a