REGION: Chugach Range



20 Mile River
Posted in Chugach Range & Boating Tags: anchorage-classics, packraft  

On Saturday, August 18th, Scott Hauser, Mark Selland and I packrafted 20-Mile. Recently this has become the trip to do in Anchorage and much has been written and said about it. We encountered 3 other pack-rafters other than ourselves and know of at least two others that were doing the trip as a weekend trip.

I won't say much about it - other than it's a classic trip! The trail up and over Berry Pass is an amazing achievement; one can almost imagine displaced gold miners slaving away making the road. I had heard that there was quite a bushwhack once you dropped down off of Berry Pass - but in the Chugach sense of 'bushwhack' it's hardly worth mentioning. There's a good trail the whole way so if you're looking for a brush extravaganza don't bother.

The river is mostly open except for one sweeper that is entirely across the channel. However it is easily portaged via a gravel bar. There are silvers running right now - and with them come speed boats and angry rednecks who refuse to slow down and will yell at you as they pass.

Also watch out for Glacier City Jet Boat Tours. These guys saw us from at least 1/2 mile away but refused to cut their motors at all. They zipped by at top speed and their wake could flip you if you're not careful. It's hard to imagine a tour operator could be so rude on public land (and on a public permit). However - don't let the motor boats deter you. This is an amazing trip and it should not be missed. it took us 10 hours to do the entire trip with lots of breaks. This seems to be about the norm for most people.

Photos and a map are below.

  •  Salmon Berries!
  •  Feasting on the trail!
  •  Winner Creek Trail
  •  Winner Creek Trail
  •  Descending Berry Pass
  •  Waterfalls S of Berry Pass
  •  Descending Berry Pass
  •  Mark crossing the creek.
  •  Where'd the trail go?
  •  Scott thrashing through the brush.
  •  Bushwhack!
  •  Mushrooms.
  •  Near the creek the area gets very boggy.
  •  Mark approaching the put-in.
  •  The put-in and my ride.
  •  Mark catches a nap while we take our time getting ready.
  •  Pack raft pow wow.
  •  Scott on Upper 20-Mile.
  •  Nearing the flat water.
  •  Dumping water out of the rafts after the rapids.
  •  Me on Lower  20-Mile.
  •  20-Mile Glacier.
  •  Mark and Scott on 20-Mile.
  •  Mark and Scott on 20-Mile.
  •  Scott illustrates proper rowing technique.
  •  Scott at the take-out.


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20 Mile
Description: Map of the classic 20-Mile hike and float trip.

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