Alaska's Tatshenshini River








Contributed By RealAdventuresIf you have never seen the raw power of geologic forces at work, a trip down Alaska’s Tatshenshini River will peel back the coverings of time, trees, and overgrown brush that mask geologic features in many parts of the world. The Tatshenshini flows through 12 million acres of wilderness in Alaska, British Columbia and the Yukon, and in this magical place the sometimes-unnoticed agents of geological change jump up and demand attention. Those who ride this magnificent river down its 140-mile journey to the sea are taken back in time and given a peek into Mother Nature's workshop to see her master carvers at work as glaciers gouge out new valleys, and the streams flowing out of those glaciers move massive loads of sediment toward the ocean.

The St. Elias Mt. Range has the largest non-polar ice cap in the world, and the Tatshenshini cuts through the heart of this mass of rock and ice. Rafters not only get to float by glaciers that are more than two miles across, they get the chance to walk on the ancient ice. In the middle of this gigantic, slow moving river of ice are smaller worlds. Flowing across ice so blue it appears unreal, small streams cut valleys and canyons, creating miniature river systems in a fairy tale world. While peering into the crevasses and exploring the glaciers expanses, the geology textbooks and theories are brought to life before the eyes and under the feet of those lucky enough to be there.

There are other agents at work on this young land. The Tatshenshini itself, drawing its water from the miles of ice in the surrounding mountains, is a river of tremendous power. With an average summer flow of 100,000 cubic feet/second, the Tatshenshini carries three to four times the volume of the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. Channels are continually shifting changing, and the water moves with such force that rafters can often hear the rumbling of rocks being propelled along underneath them.

This giant of a river pauses to catch its breath when it enters Alsek Lake, but rafters have their breath taken away by the views. Here the river drops much of its gray sediment as it mixes with the blue glacial water of the lake. The lake is dotted with icebergs the size of apartment buildings and the rafts bob among them at a safe distance. This flotilla has calved off from the glaciers that stretch up from the lake, leading the eye into the clouds to find the white peak of Mt. Fairweather, 15,000 feet above the boaters who marvel at it. The river seems to want to linger in the lake, just as boaters do, and wonder at the beauty of this place. At night the crashes, moans and splashes of icebergs rolling and new ones being calved enchant the campers gathered around the fire.

Amid the rock, ice, and turbulent water, there is a softer side to the Tatshenshini. The moist climate and long summer days produce wildflowers of striking size and vibrancy. A brilliant clump of Indian Paintbrush provides a wonderful contrast to the glacier looming behind it. Alder, spruce, and willows cover much of the lower ground, but this dense forest gives way to heather and alpine meadows in the higher elevations. Grizzly bears, moose, wolves, mountain goats, and many other creatures roam this untamed land. Sharp-eyed boaters can often catch a glimpse of them along the shore, or high above in open meadow.

From beginning to end the Tatshenshini never ceases to amaze and delight those who travel down it, and with just one take out allowed per day, only a lucky few get to experience its grandeur. Wilderness River Outfitters specializes in small groups and offers two trips this summer. Trip dates are July 14-24 and July 30- August 9. Space is limited and reservations may be secured by calling 1(800)-252-6581.







Accommodations in Alaska

Hart D Ranch:Rooms /RV Park /PO...
Hart D Ranch:Rooms /RV Park /POInterior, Alaska
Hotels & Resorts


From USD $28 to 149 per Night
Endless Summer Days and Winter Northern ...
Endless Summer Days and Winter Northern LightsInterior, Alaska
Hotels & Resorts


From USD $109 per Night
Aurora Express...
Aurora ExpressInterior, Alaska
Bed & Breakfasts



Activities, Adventures & Tours in Interior

Alaskan Bicycle Adventures...
Alaskan Bicycle AdventuresInterior, Alaska
Bike Tours


NOVA, Alaska Adventures...
NOVA, Alaska AdventuresGlacier View, Alaska
Rafting Trips


From USD $75 per Trip
S.E. Alaska up and close on the 'Norther...
S.E. Alaska up and close on the 'Northern Dream'Juneau, Alaska
Sailing & Yacht Charters


From USD $3,000 per Couple

Nature & Wildlife in Alaska

Fairweather Adventures at Glacier Bay...
Fairweather Adventures at Glacier BayGustavus, Alaska
Whale Watching


From USD $510 per Night/Pers
Alaska Nature Guides, hiking and custom ...
Alaska Nature Guides, hiking and custom tripsFar North, Alaska
Eco Tours


Alaska Zipline Adventures...
Alaska Zipline Adventures, Alaska
Eco Tours


From USD $149 per Person

Personal Growth in Alaska

Travel to Alaska: The Inside Passage...
Travel to Alaska: The Inside PassageJuneau, Alaska
Health Spas & Retreats


From USD $2,150 per Person
Browse 1918 Other Listings in Alaska





Advertise Your Accommodation or Travel Services


Create A ListingGreat Vacations & Exciting Destinations Listing
Add a full-page listing promoting your accommodations, tours or travel services to customers on our network of travel sites. Your listing page can have up to 26 images, unlimited text, interactive map, availability calendar, ecards, photo-gallery and more.
Rates From US $17 Per Month    » View Details

Search Vacation Ideas





Disclaimer: Information provided through RealAdventures website, newsletters, emails or other services has been provided directly by the companies and/or individuals owning or offering the products/services. RealAdventures does not guarantee or warranty the accuracy of the information contained herein. It is the sole responsibility of the user to ensure the accuracy and clarity of any posted material and to determine the suitability of any service for their particular needs or requirements. Likewise, it is the responsibility of advertisers to determine the suitability and credit worthiness of potential customers prior to any transaction.


Listing # RA-1023882