Lions Head

Whitewater Rafting Trip

Class III & IV whitewater

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Lions Head
Trip Type: Half Day Whitewater
Season: June 1 - August 31
Start Time: 9:30 am & 2:00 pm check-in
Duration: 3.5 - 4 hours
Location: Matanuska Glacier off Glenn Hwy.
River Grade: Class III & IV whitewater
Age Limit: 12 yrs min.
Price: $95/person
Save $20/person when combined with our "Matanuska Glacier Trips".
Reservations: Book Now!

This trip checks in at our Hicks Creek facility, 38100 W Glenn Highway, Glacier View, AK 99674. 96 miles from Anchorage on the  Glenn Highway National Scenic Byway.


Our most popular Alaska whitewater trip for 40 years!

The perfect Alaska whitewater rafting trip for first-timers or experienced river runners! This exciting glacier fed  class III & IV whitewater rafting trip is just 2 hours drive NE of Anchorage via the Glenn Highway National Scenic Byway and next to the 27 mile long Matanuska Glacier. The main rapids are several miles long and the result of a squeeze play between the glacier lateral moraine and “Lion Head”, a massive basalt rock wall from an ancient volcanic plug. The remainder of the trip is swift water, exceptional scenic vistas and intermittent class II and III rapids. We provide all necessary river gear including dry-suits to wear over your clothing.

We have several options available for running this river trip to fit most desires. 

Combine this river trip with any of our Matanuska Glacier adventures for a full day outing and get $20 off the river trip.

Ask about free RV and tent camping where the river trip ends at our Hicks Creek facility, for NOVA clients only.

"It’s hard to believe that your people can put in 18 hour days and still be very pleasant and gracious to your guests. Their ability to interact with various personalities of guests on the trip made everyone relaxed. Food was super! We had an excellent experience with your company from trip registration through trip completion. "

Phyllis Bennett, Georgia

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River ClassificationsX

So you can better understand the classification of rivers and decide whether it will be suitable for you, we have listed the six classes as provided by the American Whitewater Affiliation, along with our professional opinion and policy for suitability. (Please note: these descriptions and ratings listed for individual rivers, can vary considerably with differing water levels. Please use the ratings as a general guideline only).

Download our waiver here.


Class I

Easy. Fast-moving water with riffles and small waves. Suitable for anyone age 5 and older, including the physically challenged.


Class II

Straightforward rapids with wide, clear channels. Occasional maneuvering may be required, but rocks and medium sized waves are easily avoided. Suitable for same as class I.


Class III

Rapids with moderate, irregular waves which may be difficult to avoid. Large waves and strainers may be present but are easily avoided. Injuries while swimming are rare. Suitable for those who don't mind getting a little wet, otherwise same as class I and II.


Class IV

Intense, powerful but predictable rapids requiring precise boat handling in turbulent water. Depending on the character of the river, it may feature large, unavoidable waves and holes or constricted passagesdemanding fast maneuvers under pressure. risk of injury to swimmers is moderate to high, and water conditions may make self rescue difficult. Suitable for those 12 and older, in good physical condition, and comfortable with the remote prospect of swimming for self rescue. With NOVA's experienced guides, this level is recommended for first-timers as well as those with prior experience.


Class V

Obstructed or very violent rapids which expose a participant to above average endangerment. Drops may contain large, unavoidable waves and holes or steep, conjested chutes with complex, demanding routes. Rapids may continue for long distances between pools, demanding a high level of fitness. Suitable for those who are comfortable with water, able to swim and in good physical condition. NOVA requires all participants to engage in a supervised practice self rescue river swim ( with lifejacket and dry suit, of course) before the trip to help demistyfy the experience. Minimum age 16 years.


Class VI

These runs often exemplify the extremes of difficulty. Experts only! Rescues may be impossible. This class does not represent drops thought to be unrunnable, but may include rapids which are only occasionally run.