Splashy fun on Windy Creek

Two days after returning from Ireland I was invited out for a day trip on Windy Creek by Tom and Marsh. Windy Creek is a nice day packrafting trip, with a 5 mile or so hike and a 10 mile or so float, two thirds of which is on Windy Creek. Windy Creek is a fairly low volume creek with lots of class II fun – lots of dodging boulders and a couple of smallish drops. Packrafters had been talking about the fun floating on Windy Creek on the Alpacka forum and on various blogs, and so I was quite eager to join in the fun.

The trip starts in Cantwell, near the airstrip by the railroad tracks. From there we followed a well developed trail marked by a huge number of orange “RS2477” markers put in by the National Park Service. The fall colors where out and it was very scenic.

After a mile or so we turned off the main trail (Tom and Marsh had done this before and said the main trail quickly turned into a huge mud fest) and took a side trail down to Windy Creek.

Once we reached Windy Creek we walked up stream on a mix of human and game trails.

We skirted above one large rock face and where rewarded by some great views up Windy Creek and wonderful views of the surrounding hillside.

The hiking was pretty spectacular, with good views and not a lot of brush. This hike really made me want to do the classic hike up Windy Creek to Sanctuary River hike into the park.

After about 2 hours or so we hit our put in spot, near a National Park Service patrol cabin. Alas, the cabin is not for the use of the public, but is used by the parks winter rangers while on patrol.

It has the classic old school cabin bear proofing – window shutters and a outside door covered with nails.

After a quick lunch we put in and the floating began. All the float on Windy Creek was quite fun – nothing all that hard but lots of little rapids for playing around in.

Eventually Windy Creek dumps into the Jack River and the float turned into a very mellow “bob along” float. The Jack was very flat and uneventful. After a very relaxing hour or so on the jack we hit the Nenana and took out. I biked back to the start of our hike while Marsh and Tom picked berries.

All and all quite a fun day trip with a lot of Class II bouncing to practice on.

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2 Responses to “Splashy fun on Windy Creek”

  1. Ed Plumb says:

    Hi there Jay – it was good to see some other Fairbanks folks headed down to Windy Cr. And it looks like the float was still good even in the fall. This is definitely a trip to do at least once every summer. I have enjoyed reading your travels in the wilderness. Thanks for sharing… Ed

  2. spruceboy says:

    Ed – We don't have a lot of "bouncy" class II floats in the Fairbanks area, so its well worth the drive. I think its probably floatable fairly late in the fall as the water was fairly high when we did it. At least I hope so – we are heading down to that area again to float a similar rain fed creek, the Brushkana, this weekend.

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