Yukon–Charley Rivers National Preserve
Yukon–Charley Rivers National Preserve Review
The 126-mi stretch of the Yukon River running between the small towns of Eagle and Circle—former gold-rush metropolises—is protected in the 2.5-million-acre Yukon–Charley Rivers National Preserve. In the pristine Charley River watershed a crystalline white-water stream flows out of the Yukon-Tanana uplands, allowing for excellent river running for expert rafters.
In great contrast to the Charley River, the Yukon River is a powerful stream, dark with mud and glacial silt. The only bridge built across it in Alaska carries the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, north of Fairbanks. The river surges deep, slow, and through this stretch, generally pretty flat, and to travel on it in a small boat is a humbling and magnificent experience. You can drive from Fairbanks to Eagle (via the Taylor Highway off the Alaska Highway) and to Circle (via the Steese Highway), and from either of these arrange for a ground-transportation shuttle back to your starting city at the end of your Yukon River trip. Weeklong float trips down the river from Eagle to Circle, 150 mi away, are possible. Note that there are no developed campgrounds or other visitor facilities within the preserve itself, though low-impact backcountry camping is permitted.
National Park Service. For information, contact the National Park Service in Eagle. 907/547–2233.
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