Why Chilkat Guides

The Worldclass River Guides in Alaska

Chilkat Guides was founded in 1978 by Bart Henderson after he led the first guided trip down the Tatshenshini River. Since then we have been expanding our knowledge of the region as well as our trip offerings. We have the best guides in the business. Chilkat Guides has a Guide School, where men and women can go through a demanding hands-on guide training. Rafting is our specialty, lasting memories are our business.

Each year we work to make our expedition trips a safe, fun, and memorable time for you our guests. It is our guides’ love for their jobs and love for the beauty of the wonders surrounding us that makes Chilkat Guides a top pick for expedition rafting trips. We exceed all safety standards and our guides are some of the most talented and qualified rafters in the business. Our guides are locals to the region and can share with you the “inside story” that guides from elsewhere may not understand.

Permitting and Trip offerings

One of the reasons Chilkat Guides offers more than one expedition trip is because people’s preferences are different. You get to choose which expedition most suits you. Wildlife, incredible scenery, and fun are all included on each trip.

The Tatshenshini is the premier Alaska introductory experience. We’ll begin in the Yukon, with a short whitewater section and travel south through British Columbia and eventually into Alaska. Glaciers mark the lower section of the river where the “Tat” confluences with the Alsek.

The Alsek is the big sister to the “Tat” and is a bit more rugged. The Alsek begins above tree-line in the Alpine country. Incredible hiking, glaciers, bears are all highlights of the Alsek. There is a helicopter portage involved that may be a highlight of your trip.

The Kongakut is our exclusive Northern trip in Alaska, traversing the plains of the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), where over 50,000 caribou migrate annually. Flowing almost as far north as possible, the Kongakut boasts natural beauty and wildlife that has until recently, has been undisturbed by human-kind.

High Quality Gear

You provide your personal gear and we provide the rest: top-quality tents, river gear, kitchen and camping equipment and bush plane transportation. When you request information about our expedition trips, we will send you an information packet that gives a detailed list of what clothing and items you should bring. Feel free to call us, as we can help personalize your experience, and help ensure the best trip possible for your Northern Expedition.

Menu Planning; a tasty business!

We have three guidelines for our nutritious and delicious food selection: quality, quantity and variety. If you have special needs or desire a copy of our detailed meal descriptions, please let us know. With advanced notice we can accommodate most special dietary requirements (indicate on your pre trip questionnaire). Snacks and treats are provided, but if you have any special favorites, feel free to bring some along. We are able to adapt to special diet requirements. The earlier we know about any dietary considerations, the better we can prepare for them.


Each adventure is scheduled to allow for maximum opportunities to see the wildlife of that particular area. The Alsek and Tatshenshini are below tree line and we can see dall sheep, moose, black bear, grizzly bear, and wolf. The north is rich in wildlife even if it is not readily seen. Our guides will do their best to point out animal “sign” such as tracks, scat, bear scratching posts, etc. as they come across them. The interpretation of natural history is a significant focus on our trips. We do our best to impart our knowledge of the geology, wildlife and prehistory of the area.

Depending on what trip you are on, you may see different wildlife. You are more likely to see more bears on the Alsek and more moose on the Tat. The Kongakut provides great viewing of caribou herds. Other wildlife you may see are dall sheep, mountain goats, wolves, lynx, wolverine, ducks, geese, swans, eagles, falcons, hawks, and salmon.