Our trips focus on wilderness, scenic and remote areas of Alaska that are not impacted by industrial tourism. Our goal is to enrich your love and appreciation for Alaska’s wild and special places all while experiencing the thrill of active outdoor recreation. NOVA offers a variety of activities and tours to see the great outdoors of Alaska, from orchestrating fly-out river trips involving multiple days to the afternoon half-day challenge of a glacier trek.
NOVA is committed to showing people the Alaska we love with quality adventure experiences. NOVA’s early years emphasised on operating exploratory/wilderness trips that included several first descent rivers across Alaska, including many through the newly formed ‘National Parks and Refuges’ of the era. Over the years NOVA has facilitated expeditions for known organizations like National Geographic, Connaissance du la Mode and the National Audubon Society.
NOVA has become a locally known name throughout the outdoor community and has continued to be a leader in maintaining the responsible ethics, ideals and principles of the great outdoors within the great state of Alaska. Our mission has always been to create unforgettable experiences in Alaska’s most spectacular places.
The safety of our employees and clientele is paramount at NOVA. We are starting trips June 1st for 2021 and have implemented a COVID-19 mitigation plan with procedures and guidelines as required and recommended by the State of Alaska, OSHA and the CDC. Please bring your face mask and have it on for tour check-in and transit, but it is not required in the rafts or out on the glacier. Email or give us a call if you have any questions about our COVID-19 response. Calls will be returned as soon as possible.
Glacier & River Tours
NOVA is Alaska’s oldest family-owned and operated river rafting tour company still under original ownership with over 46 years in business. Since 1975, NOVA has accomplished many firsts throughout the state becoming a recognized pioneer for the industry of guided adventure travel within Alaska. We were the first company to offer commercial rafting on Alaskan rivers and the first to offer commercial hikes and ice climbing tours on the Matanuska Glacier. NOVA’s expertise in these outdoor disciplines and the Alaska theater is unsurpassed and has continued to grow through the years to include combination trips that offer river, mountain and glacier experiences together creating even more unique opportunities to explore the beauty of Alaska.
Simply put, NOVA is Alaska’s original and most experienced guide service. Our professional guides have been successfully navigating some of Alaska’s most challenging and classic whitewater sections since 1975. And our glacier guides have been offering daily hikes, treks and ice climbing tours on the massive Matanuska Glacier for over 30 years. These special places can change but our roots as wilderness stewards and a family-owned and operated Alaskan company remain the same. Showing people how to love, appreciate and help preserve Alaska’s special places has been NOVA’s core value since day one.
Spend an icy day on the Matanuska Glacier with NOVA Alaska Guides. Since 1990 our glacier tours have included daily walking, trekking and ice climbing trips out on this massive marvel of nature. Take in the views on our easy ‘Glacier Hike’ tour, a great half-day for mixed abilities. Or venture off the path and surround yourself with an ancient landscape stuck in time, navigate ever evolving ice features on our challenging ‘Adventure Trek’. Or try to conquer and ascend the vertical walls with our ‘Ice Climbing’ tour. The Matanuska Glacier is one of the most impressive in south central Alaska, covering a total distance of over 26 miles long. The main ‘Ice Fall’ terminus at the front of this glacier is a visually breathtaking wonder and highly accessible compared to most, making it perfect for daily glacier adventures. Half-day tours offered twice daily with morning and afternoon. Discover and explore this frozen world of white and blue ice with NOVA Alaska Guides.
Glacier Tours • Glacier Treks • Ice Climbing
Join the original rafting company of Alaska! For almost 50 years, our professional river guides have chased and pioneered Alaskan rivers and whitewater with enthusiasm. From our multi-day flyout first descents in the early years to the wave crushing daily sections of the Mat-Su Valley and Chugach mountains, NOVA has covered the map and encompassed a passion for wild Alaskan rivers from the start. Most of our pioneered river trips have become classics for the local whitewater community, like the daily ‘Lionshead’ section of the Matanuska river and the infamous 3rd canyon of ‘Sixmile Creek’. Mild to wild, we offer something for everyone. Family float trips to Alaska’s only commercial Class 5 whitewater day trip. Get out on the water with NOVA Alaska Guides. Half-day tours offered twice daily with morning and afternoon whitewater trips on Sixmile Creek and Lionshead. Multi-day trips offered on the Copper River, Matanuska River, Chickaloon River, and Talkeetna River. All NOVA operated river tours are located on free flowing natural waterways of Alaska.
Single-Day Trips • Multi-Day Excursions
Our guides are not interns. We value our guides as professionals earning a real livable wage. They exercise the highest levels of experience, training and professionalism in the industry, some for decades, including high level credentials with multiple certificates, training, and requirements for each discipline.
Safety is paramount at NOVA and has always been our number one priority. We have hosted Swift Water Rescue courses annually for guides, government agencies and the community for decades. Providing top of the line safety equipment, knowledge and basic training for guests and proper guide training to ensure each trip is a safe trip.
Alaska’s first and only multi-generational family owned and operated river company, still under original ownership for over 46 years. The family sons are now running the business and are proud to be born and raised Alaskans!
Book two separate tours with NOVA and receive $20 off per person on your second tour! Matanuska Glacier tours and raft trips like the ‘Lionshead’, are located in the same area of Alaska! Making a combo opportunity to have two epic Alaskan experiences in the same day! Rafting in the morning and a glacier adventure in the afternoon or vice versa.
Getting to your Nova Tour
The meeting points vary greatly between trips. Please refer to which trip you are going on, and use these locations to find the meetup spot. If you have additional questions, please contact us.
SIX MILE CREEK
Start location is near Hope, Alaska
Seward Highway and Hope Highway Intersection, Hope AK 99605
NOTE: Our Six Mile Creek whitewater trips meet at a public rest area, about 100 meters from the Seward & Hope Hwy intersection, on the Hope Road. 1.5 hours south of Anchorage. See map for details.
MATAnuska Glacier & River Trips
HICKS CREEK, MAT-SU VALLEY
38100 W Glenn Highway, Glacier View, AK 99674
Located 96 miles north of Anchorage, this is the staging area for all Matanuska glacier and river trips.
- NOVA’s River rafting season is from the beginning of June to the end of August
- NOVA’s Glacier tour season is from the end of May to the end of September.
- NOVA is an advocate and steward for keeping wild places in Alaska wild. Please follow responsible travel and ‘leave no trace’ ethics when visiting these amazing places.
This whitewater rafting excursion on the Matanuska River was a blast. The guides were very energetic and friendly. The program was run professionally and they provided proper training to get us ready for the rapids. I would recommend this even if you’ve never whitewater drafted before.
Michael M. | Trip date: August 2020
Best ever! Arnie and Maddie were beyond fantastic; experienced, knowledgeable, and fun. We hiked further into the glacier than expected and saw amazing views, while learning and laughing! Highly recommend!
Flyyn K. | Trip date: September 2020
We had the best time on our ice climbing tour with Arnie. He was very professional, informative and helpful on our first ice climbing experience, ensuring our safety the whole duration of the hike. I am terrified of heights but found the experience to be so enjoyable and breathtaking, mainly because we had such a great guide. It was a fun day and I would definitely recommend this hike 100%! Great views and excellent unique activity to do in Alaska.