US Whitewater > Alaska > Colville River



Alaska whitewater, Colville River

North Slope county, Thunder Creek to Harrison Bay section whitewater kayaking, rafting, and paddling information.


CLASS I-II     375 miles
Be aware the nearest metropolitan area is NOT Kodiak, Alaska, but Fairbanks, in the central part of the state. Went down this river in 1975, and topo maps made in 1955 were accurate for the most part, but the river had made some serious changes. (Like one large meander loop, 1/2 mile long, was gone!) Upriver from Umiat one needs to be particularly careful of river icings before July. From Umiat to the coast the drop is about 1 foot per mile
    or so - easy water - but it IS very remote. Nuiksut, in the river delta, is not always that hospitable to Anglos 'from outside', and there is a compound closer to the coast run by Jim and Teena Helmericks (he's a pilot and
guide) where they welcome visitors. Jim's dad Bud came down this by canoe in the early 1950s after portaging across the Brooks Range at Anaktuvuk Pass. Says Bob Nelson

The rivers for whitewater rafting and kayaking here in Alaska are often tougher than in other states, so if you're not from around here don't forget that rivers here are not as easy as elsewhere. The Thunder Creek to Harrison Bay section of Colville River in North Slope
Borough is 375 miles long and is according to American Whitewater a class I-II section of whitewater. There's camping available near Colville River. You might have to settle for a hotel a bit away from the river if you want to stay the night, but do book a room before you come because it is a very popular destination. The scenic beauty of North Slope Borough and the playfulness of the water beats anything. Now this is a pretty long section, so make sure you pack enough food along with your camping gear.

Briefly about the general area:
Summertime at Colville River arrives with high temperatures in the 40's, and all through summer nights temperatures are in the 30's.

Colville River, Thunder Creek to Harrison Bay road map
Printable road map with the put-in and take-out locations clearly marked.


Detailed Map

Stats for this river stretch

Local weather forecast

These outdoors activities are available near Colville River.

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Some content, including Reach Name, Class, Coordinates, and Length, comes from American Whitewater with permission.