Great Land of Alaska

Rivers & Streams

Alaska has thousands of creeks, streams, and rivers ranging in size from small streams flowing only a few hundred yards from a glacier to the ocean to the mighty Yukon River flowing over a thousand miles. Many rivers and streams are sought out for their excellent fishing opportunities, while others are sought for their natural scenery.

Brushkana River

Rough river

The Brushkana, a rough and fast-flowing river, is one of the many rivers and streams along the Denali Highway.

Chickaloon River

Chickaloon River

The Chickaloon River is one of the many tributaries of the Matanuska River. Shown here in mid-spring, the water is clear and blue. The water color changes later in the summer as silt from melting snow and glacial ice turns the river a muddy brown color.

Chulitna River

Chulitna River

Several places along the Parks Highway offer good views of the Chulitna River with the Alaska Range as a backdrop. The Chulitna flows south from the Alaska Range, eventually joining with the Susitna River near the small town of Talkeetna.

Clearwater Creek

Fast-flowing river River confluence River and hills

One of the many small informal campsites along the Denali Highway is located next to Clearwater Creek. This small creek is located in the foothills of the Alaska Range not too far away from Paxson.

Eagle River

Eagle River Eagle River Fall colors around river Upstream of river Downstream of river

Eagle River is rather well-known in the Anchorage area. Hiking trails are in the surrounding valleys and mountians, rafting tours operate on the river, and a town bearing the river's name is built at the base of the mountains near the valley's opening. Several small forks of the river flow from different smaller valleys, all joining to become Eagle River.

Goose Creek

Goose Creek

Many small rivers and streams pass under the Parks Highway in the Susitna Valley, and Goose Creek is one of them. This small creek, like many others in the area, is part of the Susitna River drainage and so eventually joins with the Susitna. Many roadside fishermen try their luck at this river due to its easy accessibility and somewhat decent salmon runs.

Granite Creek

Granite Creek

Granite Creek and the Seward Highway both wind their ways through one of the many valleys of the Kenai Mountains. Several pullouts along the highway give an excellent view of this river and the surrounding mountains.

Kenai River

Kenai River along highway Kenai River Kenai River Downstream seen from K'Beq' Upstream seen from K'Beq'

The Kenai River is perhaps one of Alaska's most well-known rivers for many reasons. First, it parallels the Sterling Highway for some distance, offering many glimpses of itself through the surrounding trees. Second, the towns of Cooper Landing, Soldotna, and Kenai are all built on the shores of this river. And third, salmon fishermen consider the river's runs of Sockeye and King Salmon to be among the world's best fishing.

Blue Kenai River

Silt suspended in the Kenai River's waters gives the river a beautiful turquoise color.

Russian River ferry

The Forest Service runs a ferry near the Kenai/Russian confluence to shuttle anglers and hikers across the river.

Kenai/Russian confluence

It's fall and the quality of salmon has declined as they continue spawning. Earlier in the season, this area would be swarming with anglers. This is where the Russian River flows into the Kenai River. The clear waters in the foreground are from the Russian and the blue waters are the Kenai. The small red things in the clear water are spawning Sockeyes.

Knik River

Knik River
Fog-shrouded bridge and river
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Melting ice from the Chugach Mountains' Knik Glacier, melting snow, and springs all feed the Knik River in its short run from the Chugach Mountains to the Pacific's Knik Arm. This river is easily visible from the Old Glenn Highway which parallels it for some distance.

Kroto Creek

Kroto Creek

Kroto Creek is one of many rivers and streams in an intricate network of streams that cover the wide floor of the Susitna Valley. It is accessible by road, but not many people visit this river since it's not along any major highway.

Little Susitna River

Little Su flowing through forest Sand bar in river

The Little Susitna (know to locals and the Little Su) has its beginnings in the Talkeetna Mountains, fed by glaciers and melting snow and springs. It winds its way through the flats of the Susitna Valley, past Wasilla and out to the Knik Arm. It's easily accessible in many areas, making it a somewhat popular river for salmon fishing.

Lowell Creek

Creek, bridge, and falls

Lowell Creek is a very short-lived river--it starts on the mountainsides just above the city of Seward, flows down the mountain, and into the Pacific's Resurrection Bay. It gives a spectacular show before flowing into the ocean, dropping down a large waterfall in the southern part of Seward.

Lyon Creek

Lyon Creek and mountains

This small creek flows along the valley floor of Turnagain Pass, the highest point of the Seward Highway. Much of Lyon Creek's water likely comes from springs since it still flows in late summer even when the supply of snow on the surrounding mountain sides is seemingly gone.

Matanuska River

Matanuska River Matanuska River
Matanuska River Matanuska River
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Matanuska River (600x400)
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Matanuska River
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This river begins at Matanuska Glacier and flows through Matanuska Valley between the Chugach Mountains and the Talkeetna Mountains, eventually crossing the flats south of Wasilla and emptying into Knik Arm. The Glenn Highway follows the entire length of the Matanuska River, sometimes on the valley floor alongside the river and at other times along the side of mountain looking down on the river in the valley below.

Nenana River

Silty Nenana River

The Nenana flows west and north from its origin in the Alaska Range and parallels the Parks Highway for a distance before joining up with the Tanana River.

Peters Creek

Snowy River Rapidly flowing creek Winding river in valley Winding river in valley

Peters Creek begins in the Alaska Range foothills south of Denali National Park. It flows through along the valley floor, eventually flowing into the Susitna River.

Placer Creek

Placer Creek and bridge Creek and mountains

Placer Creek is one of the many short rivers and streams of Portage Valley. High snowfall in this area has created many icefields and glaciers, and normal melting of this ice during the summer feeds the many small rivers and streams in this area.

Placer River

Creek and mountains Rafts and icebergs Clear day over river Dead trees in water

Placer River (not to be confused with Placer Creek) is a short river reachable only by hike or railroad. A tour company has a rafting trip on this river--passengers ride the train to the drop-off point, take a bus to Spencer Lake, then raft across the lake and down Placer River to the pick-up point where the train takes them back to the station.

Quartz Creek

Quartz Creek Quartz Creek

Quartz Creek is one of the many small rivers and streams that eventually joins up with the Kenai River. Although parts of it are easily accessible from the highway, it's not as popular for fishing since it doesn't have nearly the large run of salmon as the Russian River and main body of the Kenai River.

Russian River

Russian River in fall Russian River

Beautiful scenery and a good supply of salmon has made the Russian River quite well-known to salmon fishermen, both Alaskan and non-Alaskan. Many non-Alaskan fishermen take vacations in Alaska just for the purpose of going fishing this river. Fishing here can be a challenge as the river can become quite crowded during the peak of the fishing season. Local wildlife also can make things tough, as bears are frequently spotted in the area.

Susitna River

Bridge in distance Susitna River bridge

The Susitna is the result of melting snow and ice and the joining together of many smaller rivers. It is perhaps the largest drainage area of southcentral Alaska, with many smaller rivers and streams all eventually flowing into it. Many of the Sustina's tributaries are popular destinations for salmon fishermen.

Swanson River

Swanson River and ice Swanson River Flooded Swanson River

Although not very large, the Swanson River is a somewhat popular Kenai Peninsula river. It offers some decent salmon fishing for those who know how to get to the good spots, and it is part of a commonly-used canoe trail system.

Twentymile Creek

Creek and small pond Small creek through meadow

Numbermile Creek/River seems to be a rather popular name for Alaskan rivers and streams. Here is Twentymile Creek. This particular Twentymile Creek is located just south of the Alaska Range foothills. This doesn't look like a likely spot to find salmon, but there were a few using this stream as their spawning area.

Willow Creek

Creek in small canyon Small creek from snow Willow Creek Willow Creek and bridge

Starting as a small trickle of water from some melting snow in the mountains, this small stream eventually grows to become Willow Creek, one of the many Parks Highway rivers and streams. Like most Parks Highway rivers, this one is popular amongst highway fishermen.

Unknown creek

Unknown creek

Alaska has so many rivers and streams that either they're not all named, or else it's difficult to determine their name. I'm not sure if this one is unnamed or if the name just isn't shown on my maps. It's a small stream along a popular hunting trail in the Kenai Mountains foothills.

Unknown creek in Tyonek

Small creek in Tyonek

I'm certain that this small creek in Tyonek has a name, but I don't know what it is.


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