Tatshenshini River

The Classic Alaskan River

Grizzly Bears, Wolves, and Moose all call the Tatshenshini Alsek Provincial Park home. For decades The Tatsheshini River has been held up as the classic Alaska/Canada transboundary wilderness trip. Its combination of stunning scenery and incredible wildlife make it a pure fantasy right out of a Jack London Novel. This trip begins in the Yukon Territory flows into British Columbia and eventually into Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve.

Based in Haines, Alaska, Chilkat Guides is the only local U.S. operator on the Tatshenshini and Alsek. Our local expertise combined with the vast international experience and safety record of our guides, we are the premier guide service on the Tatshenshini and Alsek rivers.

The ‘Tat’ Rafting Experience

The Tatshenshini is a classic Alaskan expedition, a pristine alpine river and sister river to the mighty Alsek. Throughout the summer months, the Tatshenshini valley teems with an abundance of wildlife and natural beauty. The rainforest is emerald green and lush with hundreds of varieties of native plant species. The life cycles of many species of Alaskan animals can be observed on the banks of the river throughout the season. Seeing moose during the calf-rearing season, spotting a female merganser teaching her ducklings how to dive, or floating past a brown bear gorging itself on salmon in preparation for the winter are all possible in this remote and untouched part of the world. The river offers a combination of stunning scenery and incredible wildlife creating a pure fantasy right out of a Jack London Novel.

The journey reaches its’ crescendo at Alsek Lake, where the Grand Plateau and Alsek Glaciers, descend from high above carving through massive coastal mountains. Alsek Lake is a photographer’s dream. We will row out among the lake and icebergs to see, hear and become a part of this landscape.The Tatshenshini flows out of the dry Canadian interior at Dalton Post, to its’ confluence with the Alsek just a few miles upstream of the U.S. Border. The river carves its way through two of the world’s most spectacular national parks, Kluane Park in Canada, and Glacier Bay Park in Alaska. After the two rivers unite, the Alsek continues to slice through giant mountain ranges on its way to the Gulf of Alaska. For decades the Tatshenshini River has been distinguished as a classic Alaska/Canada transboundary wilderness trip covering approximately 140 miles, following the paths of ancient glaciers. This dynamic landscape is still caught in the clutches of the last ice age; the awesome forces of glaciation are still at work while other countless wonders of nature highlight the surrounding area.

Experience the thunder of massive pieces of glacier calving into the lake, an EXPERIENCE YOU WILL NEVER FORGET. Towering 15,000 feet above Alsek Lake and our camp is the ice-capped summit of Mt. Fairweather, the crown jewel of the Alaska coast.

Join us for a wilderness adventure you will never forget…

The Tatsheshini & Alsek – Sister Rivers

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Typical trip dates include:
June 18 – 27
July 2 – 11
August 16 – 25
September 2 – 11
Please see our Dates & Prices page for exact dates and current availability.

9 river days
8 camping nights
1 hotel night
Charter flight:Dry Bay – Yakutat
1st night hotel
Transportation to the river
All river meals
Shared tent
Sleeping pad
Life jacket
Rubber boots & gloves
Dry bags

Equipment List
Getting Here & Away

Duration: 10 days

Start Location: Haines

End Location: Yakutat

Day 1
Our Tatshenshini River adventure begins in Haines, Alaska, and a small town located 100 miles north of Juneau on the Lynn Canal. We will arrange hotel accommodations, an orientation session, and a gear check on the first evening. This is our hometown, so come early, spend a day or two and explore!

Day 2
To start the trip, we will drive 110 miles from Haines to Dalton Post in Canada’s Yukon territory. At first the drive follows the Chilkat River, home of the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve, then climbs out of the coastal valley into the high alpine region, a wonderland of wild flowers, glaciers, and incredible vistas. At Dalton Post we will board our 18-foot rafts and begin the trip down the Tatshenshini River. Shortly after our journey and begins we enter the first gorge with the main white water of the trip. These spirited class 2 and 3 rapids are continuous fun for the next 4-5 miles (6-8 km).


Day 3
Today the Tatshenshini slows, winding its way through the thick forested valley. The wooded flats are rich with wildlife and nearby ponds provide the perfect habitat for a large population of moose. By the afternoon the river reaches the Alsek Mountains, a towering range of ice capped peaks that turn the river south. Here the river once again picks up speed, sweeping us further into the pristine alpine wonderland.

Day 4-5
The river braids out into an ever widening valley, doubling its volume and cutting deeper into the towering mountain ranges. The broad open deltas of the tributaries provide us with excellent opportunities to spot a bear, wolf, and occasionally even a wolverine or lynx. High on the slopes above, herds of beautiful white mountain goats graze on the grassy knolls or profile on the rugged crags.

Day 6-7 Each day that we float downstream the mountains grow taller and the glaciers seem larger and more numerous. At the confluence with the Alsek, four major valleys converge. The area surrounding the confluence has been described as having, …”such an incessant display of scenic wild grandeur that it becomes tiresome”… E.J Glave. Soon we pass into Alaska’s Glacier Bay National Park and into the sight of the massive Walker Glacier. We will spend the afternoon exploring the glacier, making our way up to the first of its icefalls. We will marvel at its jagged seracs, peer into its deep crevasses, and enjoy a snack on the colorful rocks of the medial moraines. Only by wandering onto the glacier can you truly appreciate just how huge, powerful and alive these glaciers really are. Often times camping in this area leaves you pondering the question, “wow…what’s next?”

Day 8-9 Back on the river, the landscape above is filled with over twenty glaciers. We will journey into Alsek Lake, where the Alsek and Grand Plateau Glaciers descend from high above the lake, leaving tall jagged faces of ice calving into the beautiful blue lake and filling it with icebergs. “Thunder” rumbles across the lake at regular intervals as the glacier spawns another berg. Weather permitting, there is the possibility to journey into the lake for a closer look at the glaciers and massive icebergs. The entire scene is only the foreground however to one of the world’s most beautiful mountains, Mt. Fairweather. The totally ice clad summit soars over 15,000 feet above our camp. We will leave Alsek Lake for the final leg of our float trip, traveling fifteen miles downstream arriving at Dry Bay and the Gulf of Alaska.

Day 10 After the last night at camp, we will awake and prepare to board a small charter plane for the flight north form Dry Bay to the town of Yakutat. From Yakutat, we will fly south to Juneau on Alaska Airlines this is the last flight before arriving back in civilization.(this flight is not included in trip price). The journey will end …. But the memories will live on.

Register Now! It’s as easy as-

1 Complete a registration form and return it to Chilkat Guides.

Tatshenshini Registration Form (.pdf)

2 Reserve your space with a $500 deposit.

We will reply with a link for payment once we have received your registration form.

3 Read and Sign the Acknowledgement of Risk Form (PDF).

DEPOSITS: A deposit will reserve your space on any expedition. Full payment is due 90 days prior to departure.

PAYMENTS: We accept personal checks, cashiers checks, money orders, Paypal, Mastercard & Visa.

IF YOUR TRIP IS CANCELLED: If, for any reason, Chilkat Guides has to cancel your trip, all deposits and trip payments will be refunded in full, or, are fully transferable to another trip. Chilkat Guides will not be responsible for any costs associated with cancellations including, but not limited to: flight cancelation fees, flight change fees, and/or associated lodging and meal fees.

In the event that you are unable to join us the following guidelines will apply. All deposits include a $500 non-refundable registration free. Full Refunds, less registration fee, will be provided 90 days prior to the trip date. 25% refunds will be provided 30 to 89 days prior to trip date. Any amount retained by Chilkat Guides can be credited towards another trip if used within 12 months. No refunds will be provided within 29 days of the trip date. This policy has been established to meet the demands of planning well-organized trips. If for any reason a trip ends early there will be no refund. If you have not paid in full 30 days prior to your trips departure, and you have not contacted us regarding other payment options, we reserve the right to schedule another individual in your place. In this event, you are responsible for any associated costs.

WEATHER: DELAYS AND ASSOCIATED CONSIDERATIONS: In the event that your trip is unable to depart at the scheduled time, individuals are responsible for any associated costs including food and lodging.

RELEASE, ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF RISK AND INDEMNITY AGREEMENT: All participants are required to sign our Release, Acknowledgment of Risk and Indemnity Agreement. Please take time to read this form and make yourself familiar with it before signing. If the form is signed electronically, participants may be required to sign the form in person upon arrival for the activity, but nothing shall be deemed to affect the efficacy of the electronically completed and signed form.

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