You're on your own. This is the number one message preserve visitors must know and apply to their visit to Yukon-Charley Rivers. There is no cell phone service and there are no amenities or services in the preserve. When you depart Fairbanks, Tok, Eagle, or Circle, you may not see another person until your return to civilization or your pilot comes to pick you up. Visitors must be self-reliant and able to execute self-extraction and communication, should an emergency situation arise.
Read our Backcountry Trip Planning Guide in preparation for your trip and download a free outdoor gear checklist (1.57mb). As the majority of our visitors travel by river, whether it be floating the whitewater of the Charley in an inflatable raft or canoeing or motorboating on the Yukon, we have developed a River Trip Planning Guide for Alaska, to help you be better prepared for your adventure. If your trip involves hiking or crossing waterways, from small creeks to major rivers, visit our Backcountry River Crossing webpage to learn safe techniques to get you to the other side and back again.
Leave a detailed backcountry trip plan (59kb PDF) with friends & family and describe to them what you are doing, where you are going, and what to do if you do not return by a certain date. Make sure they understand the inherent unpredictability of remote Alaskan transportation in regards to weather. Bring a completed trip plan with you, and leave another with your pilot, if you are flying.
If you are relying on air travel for your visit, be aware that air taxis are often times unable to fly in inclement weather. Bring a few extra days of food and allow for 'weather days' in your trip plan to accommodate poor weather. Learn more about transportation to public lands in Alaska and chartering aircraft.
Many visitors to Yukon-Charley Rivers arrive & travel by motorboat during the fall hunting season. Visit our Hunting Resources and Boating Safety documents and our Hunting webpage to learn more about planning a successful and enjoyable trip to the preserve.
Unlike cell phones and other satellite communication tools that operate on satellites that do not provide reliable service as far north as Yukon-Charley Rivers, satellite phones are an excellent method of two-way communication in Alaska's backcountry, as they function on satellites that orbit the earth north to south and vice versa, providing excellent coverage in Alaska's wilderness areas. Consider renting a satellite phone in Fairbanks before your trip to the preserve.
Follow the wilderness ethic of others and leave this wild land as you found it, or better, for future generations. Learn how to do this by reading about Leave No Trace in Alaska's Backcountry. Visitors in the park must practice minimum impact camping techniques by adhering to Leave No Trace principles, follow backcountry safety guidelines, and be aware of the fragile ecosystems and private lands within the park.
Watch a short video on staying safe in bear country to learn safe and responsible practices for recreating on Alaska's wild lands. Learn more about bear safety through the Alaska Public Lands Information Centers' bear safety page.
Bear-resistant food containers (BRFCs) are not required but strongly encouraged for your overnight visit to Yukon-Charley Rivers. BRFCs are provided free of charge at the Eagle Visitor Center. No reservations can be taken as they are provided first come, first serve. Yukon-Charley Rivers provides both steel drum BRFCs with locking lids and smaller backpacker BRFCs.
While backpacker BRFCs are available in Eagle, if you are hiking, packrafting, or kayaking in Yukon-Charley Rivers, you may also visit the Alaska Public Lands Information Center in Fairbanks to obtain a free rental backpacker BRFC. Be aware these backpacker barrels are loaned for hiking, packrafting, and kayaking only, where the large steel BRFCs are impossible to use. Canoeists are required to use the steel BRFCs, provided free of charge in Eagle.
For those not using the recommended BRFCs, we strongly encourage caching all food and scented items a minimum of 100 feet from camp and suspending at least 10 feet above ground. However, due to the nature of the trees in this area of Alaska, this is often exceptionally challenging or not possible, as the area is dominated by short spruce trees with limbs not strong enough to support weight. A few areas around waterways provide taller and stronger poplar trees where this may be possible.
Please dispose of inedible game parts, fish and food scraps that could attract bears at least 300 yards from camp and below high water level. Do not leave food or scraps, as this may attract bears and present a hazard for the next traveler.
For more links on safety and planning your trip to Yukon-Charley Rivers, visit the Fairbanks Alaska Centers website.
Last updated: May 4, 2020