Best time to visit Alaska

Packrafting in Alaska

A combination of hiking and rafting is one of Alaska's best secrets


Alaska is considered to be a birthplace of packrafting. This great activity involves little packable boats that weight less than two kilos and can be easily carried around during your trip in the Alaskan wilderness. If you are a not a very experienced hiker, it's better to join a guided tour to Wrangell–St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Nizina River and glacier or Lakina River, beneath the Castle Mountain and Mount Blackburn. Arctic National Wildlife​ Refuge offers plenty of sights for a multi-day packrafting trip.

Practical info

What is packrafting?

Packrafting entails utilizing inflatable rafts when traveling through remote areas overland and waterways. It essentially incorporates trekking, camping, and boating to make for a fun adventure. The rafts are portable, allowing hikers and backpackers to inflate them when necessary for travel over rivers and lakes. Packrafting is suitable for rough and hard-to-reach terrains. Show more

What makes Alaska a great destination for packrafting?

Alaska presents an ideal environment for packrafting: its wilderness features incredible scenery, abundant natural beauty, and unique challenges. Remote valleys, wild rivers, glaciers, and lakes are among the sights which hikers and packrafters experience when visiting national parks, wildlife refuges, and preserves. Alaska is suitable for exploration since it has untouched territory, is the least developed region in the US, and provides plenty of opportunities for nature enthusiasts. Show more

When is the best time to visit Alaska for packrafting?

Those engaging in packrafting need to exploit Alaska between May and October, the period during which numerous of the state's wilderness areas become accessible and the weather is typically favorable. Expect stable weather, long daylight hours, and moderate temperatures during this period. Though the weather conditions in Alaska can be erratic, it is essential to be prepared for unpredictable weather changes. Confirm with park authorities on specific seasonal restrictions before making travel arrangements. Show more

Where are the best places to go packrafting in Alaska?

There's no shortage of breathtaking spots for packrafting in Alaska. Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, for instance, offers magnificent views of wild rivers, valleys, and glaciers. Similarly, Nizina River and Glacier provide awe-inspiring views of Wrangell Mountains, coupled with hiking excursions and floating. Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is the optimum choice for long journeys, running for a few weeks over a vast region of wilderness and wild rivers. Lakina River, which is positioned below Mount Blackburn and Castle Mountain, is also an exciting option with surrounding glacier and mountain vistas. Show more

Do I need previous hiking or rafting experience to go packrafting in Alaska?

While it is not mandatory to have rafting or hiking experience, it helps when engaging in packrafting in Alaska. Guided tours and outfitters can provide suitable options fitting beginners' and those with limited experience, including crucial instructions and dependable equipment. Participants should, however, possess minimal outdoor gear familiarity, camping abilities, and good physical condition. Be ready for challenging wilderness obstacles such as harsh weather and strenuous exercises, with self-reliance skills for potential emergencies. Alaskan Packrafting can be unforgettable and rewardable with prior planning and preparation at most levels of adventurers. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin