Alaska, Idaho, and Oregon River Adventures
Chitina River

Chitina River


SUNDOG EXPEDITIONS is excited to offer a raft trip down the Chitina River. For a total Alaska experience combine this fabulous float with a Copper River Adventure. Both trips begin in Valdez, Alaska.

Our trip along this glacial-fed river starts at the river’s headwaters below the Chitina Glacier and flows northwest through the Wrangell St. Elias National Park and Preserve. Before our trip, enjoy the scenic drive from Valdez to McCarthy, AK. Spend the next day and a half exploring this unique, historic town, and the adjacent Kennecott Copper Mines which mined over 4 million tons of copper ore before closing in 1938. We spend 2 nights at the Kennicott Glacier Lodge (which overlooks the Kennicott Glacier) before a short flight to the Chitina River. The river flows between two large mountain ranges, the Chugach and the Wrangell-St. Elias. We camp at the mouths of gushing side creeks, near glacial moraines, and on sandy benches. Previous trips have enjoyed day-hiking to glaciers and sun-warmed kettle lakes. Read a book by our simple campfire while the crew prepares dinner or explore the meadows around camp. This subalpine river is a unique Alaskan river worth visiting.

Chitina River Photos

by Lonnie Hutson

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  • Trip Details
  • Experience, Age, Fitness
  • Equipment Supplied
  • Weather
  • River Classification
  • Travel
  • FAQ'S

The Trip
Trip Details The trip begins in Valdez, AK with a drive to the historic town of McCarthy, AK and the nearby Kennicott Copper Mines. Since there are no public roads to this quirky town, we’ll take a footbridge across to a shuttle that will take us to the Kennicott Glacier Lodge. For the next day and a half enjoy all the offerings of this notable area including touring the old mines or hiking on well-maintained trails. Chitina River The next day, enjoy a short, scenic flight to meet the crew at Hubert’s Landing, where rafts will already be rigged and ready to head downstream. Over the next several days we will travel past glaciers, meet other glacial rivers, and encounter incredible forests and remote campsites. Our trip concludes after the confluence with the Copper River at O’Brien Creek where we are just a short drive away from the B&B in Valdez.

Camping on the Chitina River
Sundog Expeditions likes to provide a participatory experience. Each day as we camp along the river, you will be involved in helping set up the comforts of camp.

Group Size
Our group size is limited by the National Park Service to 15 members, including guides and guests.

Experience, Age, Fitness
This trip is suitable for individuals of varying levels of experience. The minimum age for participation is 14 years old and there is no upper limit. You should be in reasonable physical condition and those with serious health concerns should be aware that this trip is conducted in true wilderness. First time campers are welcome and will acquire skills in outdoor living with the help of our very experienced guides.Chitina River

Equipment Supplied
SUNDOG EXPEDITIONS provides each guest with a Coast Guard Approved/Type V Lifejacket, all eating utensils (including plates, bowls, and flatware), an insulated coffee mug with lid, a high quality 4-season tent (double occupancy), a pair of knee-high rubber boots, heavy duty raingear (tops and bottoms), waterproof bags, and storage for Chitina Riverbreakable items.

To insure your comfort we are happy to provide you with a high quality four-season tent. We will teach you how to set it up if you have no experience or are unfamiliar with the equipment.

Layers are always a good bet. When you sign up for a trip with us, you will receive an information package which will include a detailed list of what you will need to bring with you to be comfortable both on the river and at camp.

Sundog Expeditions has Rental Sleepkits available. Avoid the hassle of traveling with bulky sleeping gear by renting equipment to use during your trip. Each kit includes a warm high quality sleeping bag, comfortable sleeping pad (paco pad), ground cloth, and pillow. Our sleepkits are thoroughly laundered after each use.
Rentals are $40 per person/trip.

The Chitina River is located in an Alaska weather transition zone, which means that the weather at the beginning of the trip will often be dry with chances for precipitationChitina River increasing as we near the coastal zone near the Gulf of Alaska. You should be prepared for variability. It is often warm and sunny, but it can become windy, cold, and rainy for extended periods of time. Temperatures range from the 40's and 50's (Fahrenheit) at night, to the 60's 70's and 80's in the daytime. It is always cool while we are floating on the river.

You will not need to bring a flashlight with you.

River ClassificationNizina lake
This stretch of river is rated Class II - III Whitewater and medium hydraulics

When you sign up for a trip with us you will receive a detailed information pack which will include information on travel and accommodations

Major Airlines provide service from the lower 48 to Anchorage, they include: Alaska Airlines, Northwest Airlines, American Airlines, and Delta.

From Anchorage you will book a round-trip flight to Valdez. Alaska Airlines and ERA Aviation work together to book these flights. You can call either Alaska Airlines at (800) 252-7522 or Ravyn Aviation at (800) 866-8394. You may also consider renting a car for the six hour driveMcCarthy Air

For an extended adventure you might consider taking the ferry (Alaska Marine Highway) from Bellingham, WA or Prince Rupert, BC up to Haines, AK. The trip takes you up the Inland Passage in 3-4 days and makes stops at a number of Alaska seaport towns along the way. It is then an easy two day drive from Haines to Valdez.

Meals and Food
All meals will be provided on the river beginning with lunch on the first day of your trip and ending with lunch on the river before we reach our take-out. We serve a wonderful menu of delicious and healthy foods. Including fresh fruits, vegetables and meats which we carry in large coolers. Each evening and morning your crew will prepare amazing meals and lunch will be prepared on the river at around noontime. We are able to accommodate most dietary requests and requirements.Chitina River

A sample menu for one day might go something like this...For Breakfast, Fresh Brewed Coffee, Tea, and Orange Juice, Blueberry Pancakes with real Maple Syrup, Thick-sliced Bacon, and Grapefruit and Orange Compote. For Lunch on the river...Mexican Burrito Wrap Sandwiches with Tortilla chips, guacamole and salsa. And later on at camp, Egg Drop Soup, Marinated Mushrooms, Gouda Cheese and Crackers. Dinner of fresh Curried Shrimp served with Balsamic Rice and a fresh Caesar Salad. For Dessert...Cheesecake!

In order to maintain the pristine camps on the Chitina River we carry out all waste and trash. Each day when you arrive at camp your guides will set up a private portable toilet system. Please don't worry! Your comfort is paramount and your crew will explain everything you need to know at the very beginning your trip

Our guides work very hard to provide a great trip for you. At your discretion, a tip may be left with your trip leader and will be appreciated by all of your crew