Upper Tsirku River Rafting

Join Alaska Mountain Guides for a spectacular wilderness river trip for two days on the Tsirku River. Located just outside of Haines, Alaska, its waters drain from the largest non-polar ice cap and largest protected wilderness area on the planet.

Trip Photos

  • Camped below the Le Blondeau glacier on the Upper Tsirku Camped below the Le Blondeau glacier on the Upper Tsirku
  • Bald eagles are plentiful on the Tsirku river Bald eagles are plentiful on the Tsirku river
  • Professional, experienced guides on the Tsirku river Professional, experienced guides on the Tsirku river

Trip Notes

Location: Alaska/Yukon
Meeting Point: Haines, AK
Destination: Tsirku River & Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve
Duration: 2 days
Price: $620 (+ tax, in USD)
Activity Type: River/Whitewater
Season: June, July, August
Guide to Guest Ratio: 1 to 8
Difficulty Level: 2 out of 5
Paperwork Required: Registration, Health Form, Liability Waiver

Related Trips:

Trip Description

Join us for a  2-day rafting trip adventure on the Tsirku River. This class II fly-in rafting trip offers boaters an exciting and fun way to visit a seldom seen and wild valley.  The upper Tsirku river boasts towering peaks, cascading glaciers, and abundant wildlife.

Glaciers descend dramatically from over 7,000 feet to the valley floor in this majestic wilderness valley. There are opportunities to see abundant wildlife including bears, moose, wolves, and plentiful bald eagles.  There is the opportunity to explore the Le Blondeau glacier within a short hike from our comfortable camp.

The second half of the river goes through the heart of the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve, home to the largest concentration of bald eagles in the world.  The quick moving glacier river winds its way through incredibly wild scenery, even for Alaska.

GETTING TO HAINES: Regular flight service runs to Juneau, AK. From there you are a short 45 minute flight or a 4 hour ferry along the Alaska Marine Highway to get to the small coastal community of Haines.

GETTING TO THE RIVER: After meeting in Haines, we will drive to the Haines airport to board a bush plane to take us to the Upper Tsirku. We will take a 15 minute flight to a remote landing strip at the toe of the Le Blondeau Glacier. We will make camp here and spend the rest of the day exploring the valley and viewing the glaciers.

BUSH PLANE: We’ll fly into a remote airstrip with one of the most experienced bush plane pilots in the area.   Typically, we’ll fly 2-3 people per flight.   The flight is surely a highlight as we pass over remote and wild Alaska wilderness.

RAFTING: We utilize either paddle boats or oar-powered rafts depending on water levels and group preference. No experience necessary.

THE RIVERS: We will plan to be on the water for 6-8 hours. The river begins with some Class II rapids and a slightly steeper gradient. The river slows down slightly as it joins Chilkat River and the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve.

OUR GUIDES: Alaska Mountain Guides & Climbing School Inc. instructors and guides are professionals. They have a wealth of experience from guiding rivers throughout Alaska and the world and they genuinely enjoy sharing their knowledge. Their skill and positive attitudes help our guests to have the best possible experience during their trip. Your safety and enjoyment are their primary goals.

Day 0: Meet in Haines for a pre-trip orientation. Lodging and meals on your own.

Day 1: We will meet in the morning in Haines and drive out to the Haines airport. We will board a small bush plane take a short, breathtaking flight to a small landing strip at the base of the LeBlondeau Glacier. After arriving at the remote wilderness camp, we’ll set out to explore the glacier, river and enjoy the scenery. We will make camp here in this remote, spectacular camp.

Days 2: We will have a hot breakfast then we’ll pack up camp and load up the rafts for an exciting descent.  The first sections of the river are a bit quicker moving and wind their way sinuously down the glacially carved valley.  The valley is narrow in this section, and there are often moose, bears or other wildlife spotted from the raft.    As we descend further down the Tsirku, the valley opens up as it joins the Chilkat and Klehini rivers right in the heart of the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve.  This area has abundant Bald Eagles, and as the river opens up, they can be spotting feeding on the plentiful salmon.   We typically reach our take out in the mid-late afternoon, and a short drive brings us back to Haines.

How cold is the water?
The Tsirku and Chilkat Rivers are glacially fed and hover just above freezing all year long. This trip is a class I/II float and splashing is typically very minimal. Basic rain gear should be sufficient to keep you dry from splashes.Will I need to paddle?
Alaska Mountain Guides may utilize both paddle boats and oar-powered rafts depending on conditions and group preference. If we are using paddle boats, participants will paddle intermittently throughout the duration of the trip. There will also be at least one oar-powered raft on every trip in which the guide propels the boat. Participants that wish to remain hands-free to take photos will want to ride in an oar-powered raft.Do people ever fall out of the boat?
While possible, it is very rare for guests to fall out of the rafts. The guides will have a pre-trip safety briefing before boarding the rafts where they will show you how and where to hold on and what to do in the unlikely event that you fall out of the boat. All our raft guides are certified in Swiftwater Rescue and hold current Wilderness First Responder certificates.How are the bugs?
There are virtually no biting insects while on the river. There may be mosquitos at the put-in, at the lunch stop, and at the take-out. We recommend that people that are highly sensitive to bug bites bring repellent.
Trip Documents:
  • Registration Form  – Outlines policies, and essential information.  One required per participant.
  • Health Form – This form enables our guides to have accurate health information in the event of an emergency.
  • Liability Waiver  – One required per participant over the age of 18.
  • Travel Info – Helpful information on how to get to/from Haines, Alaska.

Price: $620 (+ tax, in USD)
2020 Dates: Jun - Aug
2021 Dates: Jun - Aug

What is included in the trip price:
  • Rafting Gear – rafts, paddles, PFDs, etc…
  • Expedition Food – All food while out in the field
  • Transportation – travel to and from the river, from Haines, AK
  • Professional guides – Our guides have extensive knowledge of the area and a passion for rafting in wild places.
Guests are responsible for the following:
  • Personal clothing & equipment
  • Food & Lodging in town – there are a variety of restaurants and coffee shops in Haines
  • Trip insurance – we highly recommend trip insurance for all of our programs
  • Travel to and from Haines – review the “Travel Information” under “Documents” for more details
  • Reviewing trip policies – please reference our policies page for policies regarding payment, cancellations, refunds and guest responsibilities.
  • Gratuities
To Book your adventure, follow the steps below:
    1. Please call to confirm availability at 1-800-766-3396 or fill out an online form to request more information via this link:

  1. Place a $250 deposit to reserve your spot: this can be place over the phone by credit card, check in the mail, or through our payment gateway.
  2. Once you’ve reserved your spot, you’ll receive a welcome packet with all the necessary registration forms and trip information.
  3. We kindly ask that you submit all of the necessary trip registration information at least 45 days prior to your trip.

Feel free to call or email anytime if you have questions about your upcoming trip. Our team is excited to help you prepare for your adventure!

Guest Comments:

We had a fantastic time- all 3 generations of my family truly enjoyed the trip. Weather was beautiful, food was yummy, and we saw numerous Eagles. Our guide was knowledgeable and funny. Would recommend this to everyone!
- Mandy