Ready for one of the greatest river journeys on earth? Born among the chiseled snow-clad mountains of the Yukon, the Tatshenshini River flows with a casual grace past fields of wildflowers and sweeping glaciers on its relentless path to the sea. Explore this remote, rugged habitat of grizzly and black bear, mountain goat, moose, bald eagle, and osprey. Start the trip in lush forest and by the end, take in the breathtaking Ice Age scenery while rafting among icebergs. Join this epic adventure, on easy rapids navigated by expert guides, and day hikes through dazzling wilderness that gratifies the human soul.
Raft Class II-III rapids over 132 miles down the river through a great wilderness frontier
Enjoy up-close views of roaming wildlife, like grizzly bears, wolves, mountain goats, and moose
Hike through fields of wildflowers, sweeping glaciers and through glacier valleys, and camp riverside
Arrive in Haines, Alaska by 3:30pm to have enough time to check in and be ready for the 5pm welcome meeting at the Halsingland Hotel. You'll meet your guides and fellow travelers, get oriented for the trip and walk to the warehouse nearby to pick up your gear and dry bags. Then, a celebratory dinner is shared prior to an early evening to get ready for the big adventure ahead!
After breakfast, meet at the Halsingland Hotel lobby and board a van for a beautiful 3-hour drive up the Chilkat River Valley, across the border into British Columbia, and on to Dalton Post in Yukon Territory, Canada. After rigging bags into the rafts, we'll push off on the Tatshenshini River. Soon, plunge into the exhilarating Class III rapids of the Tatshenshini Gorge, the largest section of technical rapids on the trip. Upon emerging into calmer waters, make camp along the river.
The river slowly builds momentum over the next few days as we wind our way toward the beautiful Alsek and Noisy ranges. Stay observant in this meandering stretch of scenic forested river, where its prime country for moose, bear, and wolf; the beaches are often marked with the tracks of all three.
Enjoy a mellow morning at camp before your choice of a short or long hike to a spectacular overlook through old cottonwood trees and aspen forests. If you're lucky, catch views of the animals themselves, and making noise is encouraged in this wild environment. If the weather holds, the full day will be spent hiking in this spectacular area on this layover day.
Continue down the spectacular Tatshenshini River, winding deeper into the glaciers of the Alsek range. You'll feel the landscape change from densely-forested meandering river into steeper mountains with fast-moving braided river channels. You'll encounter Monkey Wrench Rapid, and many small creeks that contribute to tripling the water level of the river since you started this journey.
The mountains, river and wildlife become more spectacular as the swift flowing river brings us closer to the majestic confluence with the Alsek River, a place many call "the center of the universe." The campsite vista spans the broad expanse of both river valleys, flanked by more than 20 different glaciers.
Below the confluence with the Alsek River, the scenery becomes even more dramatic and the river turns into a series of gravel braids in a 3-mile-wide valley. Rounding the corner at the end of a long straightaway, see the dramatic sight of the Walker Glacier. Its blue and white spires dominate the view for several hours. If conditions allow, take some time to watch the glacier, and maybe even float near its terminus.
The surrounding high peaks rise steeply from the banks to their thickly glaciated summits. This is Ice Age country, as literally dozens of large and small glaciers fill every vista around the tiny rafts. Leave the immense Novatak Glacier and float toward Alsek Lake, dominated by looming 15,320-foot Mount Fairweather. Spot many species of birds, including bald eagles, semi-palmated plovers, spotted sandpipers, northern phalaropes, American pipits, and more.
Pass through several different mountain ranges and finally enter Alsek Lake. Watch and listen as giant chunks of ice calve into the water from the 7-mile face of the Alsek glacier. The icebergs here are larger than those in Glacier Bay - some icebergs are 75-feet high. The guides row among ice floes sculpted into bizarre, fluted, ever-changing phantasmagoric shapes - a veritable "iceberg garden." With a little luck catch a glimpse of impressive Mount Fairweather, the tallest peak in Glacier Bay National Park, looming in front of the camp.
After navigating through broken iceberg chunks, known as "bergy-bits" into the flat, forested plains beyond Alsek Lake, arrive at the Dry Bay outpost along the estuary of the Alsek River. Board a small aircraft for a spectacular charter flight to Yakutat.
Wild and remote rafting Class II-III rapids over 132 miles down the Tatshenshini River, pioneered by MT Sobek over 30 years ago.
MT Sobek world-class river guides wrote the guidebook to the Tatshenshini River - and share river legends and lore around the campfire.
Very few river expeditions provide such a vast span of environments, with the luxury of meandering on a raft through expansive valleys, glaciers, & mountains.
Our expert guides and trip leaders are truly the key to our trips' success. Many are locals who live in-country year-round; others have made it their second home—all are passionate, enthusiastic and endlessly knowledgeable. Meet a few of the guides that might be on your trip.
Scenic drives, rafting fun Class II-III rapids, hiking through dramatic landscapes with glimpses of wildlife, and a thrilling charter flight as the finale.
After the first evening in a Victorian-era style hotel, MT Sobek riverside camps, with meals served around the campfire beneath the stars.
Enjoy long days, with potential rain & chilly winds near glaciers. Daytime 55°-65°F. Evenings 40°-55°F
Your guides will meet you at the hotel at 5pm on Day 1.
Because we are making a border crossing into Canada, you will need a passport as proof of nationality. Please check visa requirements for entering Canada if you are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen.
MT Sobek provides you with synthetic sleeping bags, sleeping pads and expedition tents at no extra cost. We also provide rain gear, dry suits, and boots.
Ending the trip in Yakutat provides shorter transfers and travel times. Weather can delay returning back over the mountains to Haines. You will arrive in Yukatat in time for the late afternoon flight to Juneau.
A few days prior to the end of the trip, our river operations manager will transfer this luggage to the airport and ship it to Juneau, where your secured luggage will be waiting for you.
The Tatshenshini River does flow through the largest concentration of grizzly bears in North America.
Make any of our trips a custom adventure or start from scratch. Take two itineraries and match them up to create a unique third. Add extras and extensions and more...if you can imagine it, we can make it happen!
"I have kayaked or rafted in all parts of Alaska, including the Southeast, the North Coast, South Central, the Northwest and the Aleutians Islands. The trip down the Tatshenshini River was perhaps the most spectacular of all."
MT Sobek Guest, Rafting the Tatshenshini River
"We had the trip of a lifetime on the Tatshenshini and Alsek rivers. Our guides were wilderness superheroes-knowledgeable, competent, fun. The scenery was breathtaking, and the experience was both peaceful and exhilarating."
MT Sobek Guest, Rafting the Tatshenshini River