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Difficulty V+
Length Miles
Flow Range 60000 - 100000 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 17 minutes ago 61400 [CFS] ℹ️
Reach Info Last Updated 06/03/2009 2:23 am

River Description

Season: The time for this run is normally August or September after flows have dropped.


Since the first descent in 1981 led by Rob Lesser and filmed by ABC, The Grand Canyon of the Stikine has become known as one of North America's greatest whitewater challenges. While ABC cut that trip short after deciding they had the footage they needed in the can, Rob returned with Lars Holbek and Bob McDougall for a complete descent in 1985. The river has joined the ranks of Devil's Canyon of the Susitna and Turnback Canyon on the Alsek as one of the continent's legendary class V+ bigwater runs. Only a handful of people have ever run all three.

This run is in Canada but the river does empty into the ocean after running through a thin sliver of Alaska along the coast.


As wilderness class V+ trips go, this is a pretty simple one. Keep in mind, however, that this also makes it easy to get in over your head--many trips on this river have ended in epics. The put-in is at the Cassiar Highway Bridge (Hwy 37) in northern BC, approximtely 1000 miles north of Vancouver, BC and 150 miles south of the Yukon border. To reach the take-out, drive north from the bridge to Dease Lake, once a Hudson's Bay trading post and major stop for trappers and miners, and today the government service and supply center for BC's northwest region. From Dease Lake head 68 miles west to Telegraph Creek on a rugged road that parrallels the Tanzilla River and then the Stikine River to the town of Telegraph Creek. Those who want to experience a wilderness adventure but avoid the whitewater can put-in at Telegraph Creek below the canyon and paddle out 150 miles to the mouth and then down to Wrangell, Alaska. You can then either arrange a float plane pick-up or take the Alaska Ferry.

Additional Information

  • Scott Lindgren's Film, Liquid Lifestyles 4 has some of the most amazing footage ever shot of this run.
  • Wade Davis, keynote speaker for AW's 50th Anniversary celebration, has a story on the river and the cultural history in the March 2004 issue of National Geographic.
  • See the run description and profile of Rob Lesser in Tyler Williams's book, Whitewater Classics.
  • World Whitewater also has a good description of the run
  • Taylor Robertson has published a story of his highwater attempt on 17SEP2002 with Jay Kincaid. They had an epic hike out as flows peaked above 200,000 cfs at the Wrangell gauge (estimated at 30-35,000 cfs).
  • Stikine River Provincial Park
  • Movie of descent in 2000
  • 2008 trip report at



Rapid Descriptions


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11 years ago Check out this video of the canyon on Youtube to help with scouting and to get an idea of what it's like. I deffinetly want to run this.

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chris goble
13 years ago

The final bit of this run can probably be done without entering the big canyon above. The native village just east of telegraph canyon has access. While you are not allowed to park here, it may be possible to drag a boat down the road and jump in from the bridge. This would give a 15km or so run down to telgraph creek with only a few class III or so rapids (can't really say what they are. I went up in a jetboat. My access run down the Tuya was a bit of an epic and never made it past the big falls). Alternatively coming down the big hill after the Tuya bridge one could cut across a bit of forest and rap down a short cliff to catch the runout of the lower canyon. If one looked, I also seem to remember a cut or two through the cliff, but rapping on a fixed line may be the easiest way to go. That would make a great intermediate run with only one bad whilry edy on a side of a rapid.

Gage Descriptions

This gauge is far downstream in the US section of the river near the mouth. Flows for the Grand Canyon are less and are usually estimated; they are typically in the range of 6000 to 14000 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




Matt Muir


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1193007 10/06/08 n/a n/a
1195300 06/03/09 Matt Muir Added province (BC) and abstract.