In September 2019, five friends came together to canoe the Tatshenshini and Alsek rivers. We had all travelled and worked together before and we were excited to come together at the end of the Summer Season for a relaxing trip on a beautiful river with a wealth of history and fantastic geology.
This river is paddled by outfitters most of the summer, normally with rafts. When you read other trip reports for canoeing the river, you need to have spray decks and only appropriate canoeing the river at lower levels. This is true and being competent in paddling Class III and familiar with big volume northern rivers is an asset. We paddled in 2 17-ft inflatable canoes, and 1 15-ft prospector canoe with a spray deck for our solo canoeist.
We applied for a take-out permit from Dry Bay, taking out on September 15, 2019. There was one more group who was coming after us, to give a perspective of the season. We didn’t have snow, but most nights it dropped close to freezing. In order to cross the border, you need to get pre-approved prior to your trip, as the park ranger at Dry Bay will check your details.
Three of us flew from Dry Bay to Yakutat Alaska, where we experienced the hospitality of a local friend of a friend. The other two portaged 45 miles from Dry Bay to Yakutat.
Trip Completed: September 2019
Editor's Note: This is a challenging and remote river, with big volume, frigid temperatures and little room for error. Please ensure you have the paddling and rescue skills needed for a river of this difficulty.
Starting Point: Dalton Post, Yukon
Ending Point: Dry Bay, Alaska
Total Distance: 241 km
Duration: 13 days (includes four rest days and can easily be done in 10 days)
Difficulty: Class III/IV (continuous canyon) and then Class II/III
The headwaters of the Tatshenshini River start in the Yukon Territory. By d...
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