A short trip on the Chulitna

On the way back from the packrafting class, Tom, Ms Marsh, and I stopped to do a quick hike/float on the East Fork of the Chulitna River. The river was supposed to be class II with a fair number of large rocks for eddy play, so I was looking forward to it. We started at the East Fork rest stop on the Parks Highway, and hiked back out from just below the confluence of Honolulu Creek. This section of river is super fun – just like I was told there are quite a few nice large rocks to play around. I had a great time practicing entering and exiting the eddies using the “stab and jab” technique from the packrafting class. Perhaps a bit too much fun, as I flipped while exiting a eddy with a nearby pore over – but no big deal I was back in pretty quickly and my “nearly dry” suit combo kept me dry.

The float is pretty scenic and in a couple of places the river goes by some interesting cliffs.

The hike out was fairly short and fast – it took about 20 to 30 minutes.

There is a more direct way with via a trail, but it ends up in someone’s driveway complete with a ton of “No Trespassing” signs, so we just bushwhacked directly out to the road.

This section of the river is super fun and makes a great day trip to breakup the drive from Anchorage to Fairbanks.

The pack rafting class has really changed the way I see rivers – I spent this float playing in eddies trying to hit and catch as many as possible, something I would have never done prior to the class. We need more rivers like this in the Fairbanks area!

A Map:


East Fork of the Chulitna day float/pack

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