Rafting in Glacier Bay

Starting Down the Alsek River
Starting down the Alsek River

The Alsek River and its major tributary, the Tatshenshini River, are large volume, swift glacial rivers. Beginning in the interior, it is one of a small number of river systems which breach the coast range, offering boaters uncommon environmental diversity, impressive scenery, and an outstanding wilderness experience.

Most trips begin on the Tatshenshini at Shawshe (Dalton Post), the last road accessible put-in off the Haines Highway in Yukon Territory, Canada. From here it is 153 river miles to the normal take-out at Dry Bay, Alaska. A six-mile long canyon immediately below Shawshe (Dalton Post) offers continuous Class III whitewater, Class IV at high water (International Scale, Class I-VI). The remainder of the river is generally Class II with large eddies and folds at normal volumes. The Alsek River above its confluence with the Tatshenshini is Class IV above Turnback Canyon. Turnback Canyon must be portaged by rafters during the summer months. Tatshenshini trips average 9 days.

Tatshenshini-Alsek trips starting at Shawshe (Dalton Post) travel through private Champaign-Aishihik Tribal lands, Yukon Territory lands, Tatshenshini-Alsek Provincial Park in Canada and Glacier Bay National Park. Upper Alsek trips travel through Kluane National Park, and Tatshenshini-Alsek Provincial Park, Canada. For travel on the upper Alsek contact Kluane National Park, Parks Canada, Haines Junction, Yukon Canada Y0B 1L0, (867) 634-2329 extension 201.

For a list of commercial operators authorized to operate in the park and preserve see the Glacier Bay Visitor Services Directory. A permit is required for private trips. You may get on the waiting list for private trip permits by contacting the Yakutat Ranger Station. There is a $25 (U.S.) administrative charge to be placed on the waiting list. See Permits- Application Procedures for further details with contact and payment information. Please note that the National Park Service cannot accept cash or checks. If you have any questions, please contact the Yakutat Ranger Station at glba_alsek_info@nps.gov. Overnight camping permits are required by Kluane National Park on the upper Alsek River.

rafting permit application and information

Rafting Permit Application and Information
For non-commercial trips on the Alsek-Tatshenshini rivers


Both private and commercial trip information packets are available from any of the following land managers:

Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve
Park Headquarters, PO Box 140
Gustavus AK 99826
Phone (907) 697-2230
fax (907)697-2654
Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve
PO Box 137
Yakutat, AK 99689
Phone (907) 784-3296
fax (907)784-3535

They have a special phone line with river information: (907) 784-3370.

Kluane National Park
Parks Canada
PO Box 5495
Haines Junction, Yukon Y0B 1LO Canada.
Phone (867) 634-2329 ext. 201; fax (867) 634-7208.


Tatshenshini-Alsek Provincial Park
BC Parks
Postal Bag 5000
Smithers B.C. V0J 2NO Canada
Phone (250) 847-7320; fax (250) 847-7659. Includes maps of the river.

As a condition of these permits, all operators are required to abide by jointly developed Environmental and Safety Standards (22KB .pdf file) for expeditions on the Tatshenshini and Alsek Rivers. See also the Alsek River Management Plan.

Last updated: January 9, 2023

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve
PO Box 140

Gustavus, AK 99826


907 697-2230

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