Alaska, Idaho, and Oregon River Adventures
Copper River

Copper River


Copper River

SUNDOG EXPEDITIONS provides extraordinary scenic rafting trips on the Copper River in Alaska. A true wilderness adventure, our guests spend seven days on the river and two day exploring the charming Alaska towns of Valdez and Cordova

Experience mountains, glaciers, waterfalls, amazing sand dunes, and Abercrombie Rapid - where the bears fish for salmon. Float through iceberg filled Miles Lake, under the Million Dollar Bridge and by Childs' Glacier to the Copper River Delta.

The Copper River is part of the southcentral river drainage in Alaska and is one of the 12 major river systems in the State. Originating at the Copper Glacier on the north side of the Wrangell Mountains, the river runs for 287 miles and drains over 24,000 square mile in Alaska and Canada before reaching the Gulf of Alaska. The Copper runs through the Chugach Mountain Range and 13 major tributaries contribute to a volume which ranges from 61,000 cfs (cubic feet per second) to a record high volume of 360,000 cfs as measured on August 8 1981. It flows at an average of 7 miles per hour and has a vertical drop rate of approximately 12 feet per mile. From the narrow Wood and Baird Canyons to the miles wide and braided Delta area, the river scenery is spectacular and varied, featuring waterfalls, sand dunes, snow-capped mountain vistas and glaciers.

Copper River Photos

by Lonnie Hutson

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

The Trip
Our trip begins when you reach the beautiful Alaska town of Valdez. There you may tour the TransAlaska Pipeline Terminal, explore the town, or hike along the nearby Shoup Trail. The group gathers for an evening information meeting, then you will adjourn to your B&B to pack for the river. The next morning begins with a breathtaking drive on the Richardson Highway to the trip put-in near the town of Chitina. The next seven days are spent floating 100 miles through the Chugach Mountain Range to the Copper River Delta near the Prince William Sound and the Gulf of Alaska. Along the way explore the river and its eco-system, visit historic sites from the Copper River strike days, photograph the wildlife, hike, relax, play. You will float with the icebergs across Miles Lake, under the Million Dollar bridge and past Childs Glacier en route to the trip take-out destination near the fishing town of Cordova.

Camping on the Copper River
In keeping with the nature of the place, SUNDOG EXPEDITIONS provide a participatory experience. We camp daily along the river, often on a sandy beach and you will be involved in setting up camp and you will have the opportunity to help the crew in the preparation of meals.Copper River

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

Meals & Food
All meals will be provided on the river beginning with lunch before we launch on the first day of your trip and ending with lunch at our take-out. We serve a wonderful menu of delicious and healthy foods. We are able to accommodate most dietary requests and requirements.

Campfires are made in firepans to avoid scorching the sand or soil and allowing us to remove the ash from our campsite, leaving a no trace camp.

Experience, Age, FitnessCopper River

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.


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, high quality rubberized raingear, wetsuit, waterproof bags, and storage for brCopper Rivereakable items.

To insure your comfort we provide you with a high quality four-season tent  for two people,  single tent rental is available. 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

The Copper 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 precipitation increasing as we near the coastal zone near the Gulf of Alaska. Though June is the best weather month on the Copper River 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.Copper River

You will not need to bring a flashlight with you.


This stretch of river is rated Class Il-lll
Generally flat fastwater with occasional large hydraulics.Copper River

Copper River

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 one-way 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 ERA Aviation at (800) 866-8394.

You will need to make a reservation for the day following our take-out for a one-way flight from Cordova to Anchorage. Again Alaska Airlines working with ERA Aviation serves Cordova.

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-three 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.

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!

At one of the camps we will set up a shower tent, so you can enjoy a private and hot shower.
Sundog Expeditions practices LOW IMPACT camping techniques

Toilet in order to maintain the pristine camps on the Salmon 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