The Talkeetna River is one of the best whitewater runs anywhere. With fourteen miles of almost continuous class III and IV rapids (Sluice Box), it is one of the longest whitewater stretches in North America. It is a multi day wilderness adventure that requires a rather inexpensive fly-in drop off and has many wildlife viewing opportunities. The seventy mile trip ends in the rustic town of Talkeetna.
Talkeetna River Water Levels:
1.0 Low (IV-), 3.0 Medium (IV), 4.5 High (IV+)
The Talkeetna Canyon begins about seven miles below Prairie Creek. As you approach the canyon, a few class III rapids are encountered shortly before the first major rapid, Entrance Exam. This rapid lies on river right at the beginning of the canyon. It is a good idea to be on the left side. Immediately following Entrance Exam, the canyon makes a hard right hand turn into a large pool. Stay on the right and pull over. Below the pool is the most difficult rapid on the river, Toilet Bowl (IV). This is an easy one to scout. The difficulties of the rapid are the two large boulders you must snake your way through. (I got by the first one and climbed the second one, but didn’t flip.) The river then returns to class I and IIs for a couple of miles before you enter the Sluice Box. This is where the real action begins. Class III and IV rapids are encountered for over 10 miles with few breaks in between. At the medium level it was not difficult to stop along the shore and have lunch. However, while in the Sluice Box, the opportunity to scout rapids is small. But the good advise beforehand, “stay left on blind left hand turns”.