The Rivers & Vast Territories of Alaska and Canada
Like much of what you experience in this land of the midnight sun, most things in this land up north defy description. As a general rule, there are “mountain rivers” and “tundra rivers”. Some flow through both mountain and tundra landscapes, most flow through National Parks and Reserves, but otherwise political boundaries don’t help in the description of these incredible places.
The rivers that run through the Arctic Tundra flow into the Arctic Ocean by way of serengeti-like broad sweeping open spaces that teem with wildlife and wildflowers. Unlike the Serengeti, the Arctic Tundra is laced with rivers that glide through the landscape. Canoes track faster and better than rafts on these mostly calm rivers, and are the preferred mode of transportation. These rivers are not known for their white water rapids, but definitely are remote, wild, and surrounded by wilderness and wildlife. The Yukon, Northwest and Nunavut Territories each lay claim to at least one of these tundra rivers tours.
Multi-day expeditions running through Alaska’s Wrangell St. Elias National Park are among the most extraordinary in the entire region of Alaska and Canada – and that’s saying something! Wildlife and wilderness abound like the million-dollar views in every direction on the Copper River and Nizina River in the heart of one of the largest National Parks in the system. In Alaska, many one-day or half-day whitewater trips are available near the population centers like Anchorage and the Kenai Peninsula, or more touristed areas such as Denali National Park. The Alsek and Tatshenshini rivers belong to Alaska as much as they do to the rugged northern peaks of British Columbia, but their launch point is in the Yukon. You’ll find those trips listed on the Yukon pages.
In the Yukon, and surrounding areas like Nahanni National Park and Reserve (which shares the border in the Northwest Territories) are mostly mountain rivers. The Nahanni River is especially iconic, along with the Tatshenshini and Alsek rivers which flow south out of the Yukon toward the Pacific Ocean. The Snake, the Wind, and the Mountain are all in the northern mountains of Yukon and Northwest Territories.
British Columbia is “home” to the Canadian Rockies. From the peaks of Whistler and Blackcomb near Vancouver, to the National Parks and Reserves of Banff and Jasper (just over the border towards Calgary, Alberta) and up north to the spectacular canyons and peaks of the Alsek and Tatshenshini Rivers, British Columbia has a lot to offer. Near the U.S. / Canada border are some of the most exciting whitewater rivers in all of B.C. with the Nahatlatch and Stein Rivers. Others include the Frasier and Thompson.
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