Bo Mertz

photo: Bo Mertz

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Overview

Covering more than 2.5 million acres, this enormous national park encompasses a wide swath of country along Alaska's border with Canada. Park headquarters is in Fairbanks, with a seasonal office in the historic town of Eagle. The park extends along both sides of the Yukon River for 128 miles from Eagle almost to the village of Circle. It also includes the Charley River drainage. Yukon-Charley Rivers is very remote and wild, so visitors need to be experienced in the outdoors and entirely self-reliant. Most visitors float the mighty Yukon River in canoes, kayaks, or rafts, putting in at Eagle and taking out at Circle. (Other canoeists put in ...

Covering more than 2.5 million acres, this enormous national park encompasses a wide swath of country along Alaska's border with Canada. Park headquarters is in Fairbanks, with a seasonal office in the historic town of Eagle. The park extends along both sides of the Yukon River for 128 miles from Eagle almost to the village of Circle. It also includes the Charley River drainage. Yukon-Charley Rivers is very remote and wild, so visitors need to be experienced in the outdoors and entirely self-reliant. Most visitors float the mighty Yukon River in canoes, kayaks, or rafts, putting in at Eagle and taking out at Circle. (Other canoeists put in at Dawson City in the Yukon.) The river flows at five to eight miles an hour, and most folks take five days or so to reach Circle. You should file a float plan with the Park Service before departing. Canoes are available through Eagle Canoe Rentals. Experienced whitewater kayakers and rafters get dropped off by bush plane in the headwaters of the Charley River, floating down to the Yukon River. Two air taxi companies provide scheduled flights to Eagle from Fairbanks, but the town is also accessible via the partly gravel 160-mile Taylor Highway. The town of Eagle is a slice of Gold Rush Alaska, with an extraordinary collection of historic buildings. A major flood in 2009 damaged parts of the town, but most buildings were quickly rebuilt with the help of volunteers.

Don Pitcher
About the Expert

Don Pitcher has written or photographed 10 travel guidebooks to Alaska, Wyoming, Yellowstone-Grand Teton, and the San Juan Islands for Avalon Travel Publishing, Random House, and Sasquatch Books.

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Yukon–Charley Rivers National Preserve is a United States national preserve located in east central Alaska along the border with Canada.
  • Research: Wikipedia | Wikitravel
  • Weather: Daylight | Rainfall
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    June through September