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Alaska waterways

Aniakchak River

Subject: Aniakchak River Float Trip -July 1973

We floated the Aniakchak River via 2-man rubber rafts July 11-18, 1973. The river lies on the Alaska Peninsula east of Port Heiden, Alaska.

Members of the Chitina field task force were as follows:

Name Representing
David Dapkus BOR, Team Leader
John Menick BLM, Anchorage District
Keith Trexler NPS, Anchorage ATF
Nate Johnson ADF& G, Anchorage
Pat Dobey ADNR. Anchorage
Bill Lyle ADNR. Anchorage
Rob Stern Photographer for NPS  
Tom Flower Photographer for NPS

We were flown into Surprise Lake in Aniakchak Caldera by BLM goose. Part of the team came from Anchorage and the remainder from King Salmon, Alaska. Ben Gale, a "free lance photographer" was picked up at Surprise Lake and sent back to Anchorage.

NOTE: These reports may not contain important information about: 1) safety, 2) land management and ownership, 3) fishing and other regulations and 4) possible errors > READ MORE

Two days were spent in the 36 sq. mile caldera exploring. Then on July 13, we paddled across the lake and down to the "Gates", which are a natural "V" opening through which the river flows toward the Pacific Ocean, 32 miles away. We made 5 miles the first day, 5 miles the second day, 8 miles the third day and the remaining distance the fourth day, July 16. We then spent two days at the mouth of the river waiting for the weather to clear so we could be picked up. Three of the team were picked up July 17, by charter plane. The rest of the team were picked up by helicopter July 18, and flown to Port Heiden where we were picked up again by BLM goose and flown back to Anchorage.


The Aniakchak River is runable by raft only. The first 15 miles, including the "Gates" drop at 100 ft. per mile.

It is shallow, rocky, has low falls, and high speed, which makes it a very dangerous river. We portaged for about 400 yards near the end of the one mile long "Gates" and then at two "pillars", (25 ft. high rocks) about 10 miles downstream, we lined the rafts. The rest of the river is runable by raft by experienced people. The lower 17 miles of river are slow, meandering through flat land. High winds can be expected through the "Gates" and along the entire river, as can continuous rain.

One man, Tom Flower, was continually soaked and became ill, and was flown out by emergency called helicopter on July 16. He recovered in Anchorage.


Complete river log


PDF icon Aniakchak River [241 kb]

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List of rivers for which information is available on this website

Alagnak River | Alatna River |  American Creek | Andreafsky River | Aniakchak River | Awuna River | Beaver Creek | Black River | Bremner River | Canning River | Charley River | Chilikadrotna River | Chitina River | Colville River | Copper River | Delta River | Fortymile River | Gulkana River | Huslia River | Ivishak River | John River | Kakhonak River | Kanektok River | Karluk River | Kasegaluk Lagoon | King Salmon River | Kobuk River | Koyukuk River North Fork | Little Susitna River | Mulchatna River | Nigu Etivluk rivers | Noatak River | Nowitna River | Nuyakuk River | Porcupine River | Saganirktok River | Salmon River (Kobuk) | Selawik River | Sheenjek River | Squirrel River | Talachulitna River | Tlikakila River | Togiak River | Unalakleet River | Utukok River

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