Matanuska River

Matanuska River

Wilderness Rafting Overnight trip

(age 5-12)
Adventure Level
Easy to Moderate

*Level changes with Lionshead or float start option.

Trip Minimum
Group of 4 People.

(Smaller groups may pay for 4 or build with others)

River Category

Adults (12+)

Class III (Moderate)

Rapids with moderate, irregular waves which may be difficult to avoid. Complex maneuvers in fast current and good boat control in tight passages or around ledges are often required; large waves or strainers may be present but are easily avoided. Strong eddies and powerful current effects can be found, particularly on large-volume rivers. Injuries while swimming are rare; self-rescue is usually easy but group assistance may be required to avoid long swims. Rapids that are at the lower or upper end of this difficulty range are designated “Class III-” or “Class III+” respectively. Suitable for those who don’t mind getting a little wet from splash, minimum age 10.

Class IV (CHALLENGING)

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 passages demanding fast maneuvers under pressure. Rapids may require “must” moves above dangerous hazards. Risk of injury to swimmers is moderate to high, and water conditions may make self-rescue difficult. Group assistance for rescue is often essential but requires practiced skills. Rapids that are at the lower or upper end of this difficulty range are designated “Class IV-” or “Class IV+” respectively. Suitable for those 12 years old and older, in good physical condition and comfortable with the prospect of swimming for self-rescue. This level is recommended for firsttimers, and those with prior experience.

River Category

(Children under 12 years old)

Class II (Easy)

Straightforward rapids with wide, clear channels which are evident without scouting. Occasional maneuvering may be required, but rocks and medium-sized waves are easily missed by trained paddlers. Swimmers are seldom injured and group assistance, while helpful, is seldom needed. Rapids that are at the upper end of this difficulty range are designated “Class II+”. Suitable for age 5 and older including the physically challenged.

Class III (Moderate)

Rapids with moderate, irregular waves which may be difficult to avoid. Complex maneuvers in fast current and good boat control in tight passages or around ledges are often required; large waves or strainers may be present but are easily avoided. Strong eddies and powerful current effects can be found, particularly on large-volume rivers. Injuries while swimming are rare; self-rescue is usually easy but group assistance may be required to avoid long swims. Rapids that are at the lower or upper end of this difficulty range are designated “Class III-” or “Class III+” respectively. Suitable for those who don’t mind getting a little wet from splash, minimum age 10.

Location
Hicks Creek Facility

38100 W Glenn Highway, Glacier View, AK 99674 *Mile 96

Dates
JUNE 15 – AUG 31, 2021

For 2021 submit dates of your choice for review.

age Limit
Ages 5 – 70
Language Requirement
English
Max. Size/Weight/Height
265 Lbs, and 6 Ft. 6 Inches, Girth 50 Inches.
Check-in Time
9:00 AM
DURATION
1½ Days
Discounts

Groups of 10 or more people recieve (10+) Discount of 10% off. Local Alaskans with proof of State issued ID at tour check-in receive a 10% single discount off the individual tour price.

Make it a COMBO: Add a Matanuska Glacier adventure and save $20 per person on your second tour! 

A POPULAR AND AFFORDABLE WILDERNESS RAFTING TRIP

Alaska offers some of the best wilderness rafting in the world and sometimes, you need more than a single day to experience it! This popular and affordable wilderness rafting trip is quick and easy and just over 1.5 days in duration. Stay one evening by the riverside with two half-days on the water. The Matanuska river is positioned between two of Alaska’s favorite mountain ranges, the Chugach and Talkeetna mountains. These towering monsters of rock pierce the sky as you drift through this ancient glacier path that once carved all the way to Anchorage. The Glacier ice has been splitting this alpine valley for thousands of years, leaving only the river floor behind as it receded back into its current location upstream. This valley faces east to west and collects incredible direct sunlight between the peaks of the Chugach mountains as the river travels on to the coast. Like all our multi-day trips, we provide all your camping gear! You will receive the best tent, sleeping bag, and ground pads for this environment. Feel free to bring your own equipment if preferred over ours. Explore and wander the endless river banks filled with tundra cotton, aspen trees and other wild flora and fauna. Enjoy a fresh-cooked dinner in front of the campfire and keep your eyes peeled for wildlife. The next day is leisurely, with a float style cruise down the valley. Enjoy a hot breakfast and this couple hour float to the take-out where lunch is then served. The take-out is roughly 12 miles downstream in the local town of Chickaloon, Alaska at the historical NOVA headquarters. This trip has easy access and transportation logistics making it very affordable and feasible. It’s a perfect trip for families and first timers! NOVA will provide you a complete itinerary, menu, and must-pack item list prior to trip check-in. We’ll bring you right back to your vehicle or have it shuttled for you after the final lunch on day two.

There are two very different start options for this tour, depending on how much action and whitewater your group desires. The Matanuska River overnight raft trip starts at either our easy class II Glacier Float or the more intense class III -IV whitewater of the LionsHead section farther upstream. After the morning segment is complete, your group will have a guide-prepared lunch while the overnight gear is discussed, loaded, and rigged. Then your evening adventure continues to your riverside camp for dinner downstream. The following morning enjoy breakfast and a couple hour float to the take-out lunch spot downstream in Chickaloon, Alaska.

All whitewater and camping gear will be provided for you. NOVA will provide you a complete itinerary and Must-Pack item list prior to departure.

NOVA can accommodate most food requests or dietary preferences. Bring along personal beverages and snacks for the trip. Meal menus are flexible, open to suggestions and determined by budget levels and special requests. Contact our office for details.

Want to add additional days to your multi-day tour for a longer, more custom itinerary? NOVA may be able to accommodate extra days on the water. Contact the office for details.

DEPARTS FROM: 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.

Tour Highlights
  • Thrilling rapids of the Lion Head whitewater.
  • Raft through a seldom run section of the Matanuska River.
  • All meals from lunch on day 1 to lunch on day 2.
  • Spectacular scenery in every direction.

2021 Matanuska Overnighter 1.5 Days, RIVER TRIP UPDATES:

  • Our July trips are currently fully booked.
    Please contact us to check specific dates of availability; midseason trips are pretty full, but we still have some early season and late season availability.
  • 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.
  • NOVA tours operate regardless of most weather conditions, we go rain or shine in Alaska.
    Waterways and weather can sometimes be cold in Alaska. Please, dress appropriately or bring along some warm synthetic layers and socks for your tour comfort. Cotton layers are not preferred in cold environments or when wet.
  • All standard river gear required for this tour is provided by NOVA including a pfd (personal floatation device), pair of water shoes, river helmet, and full dry-suit. The dry-suit is only a waterproof shell with no warm insulation, please bring your own warm comfortable layers for underneath the dry-suit. Once you are in the dry-suit restroom breaks are difficult to accommodate, please consider facilities pre-trip.
Water levels

Water levels can dramatically change or alter the characteristics and nature of rivers and creeks in Alaska. Natural free flowing waterways are unpredictable and have ever evolving variables compared to dam release controlled waterways. Higher water levels usually result in an increase in difficulty, intensity and risk. Nova has implemented cut-off levels for operating tours as a safety standard for this highly respected section of water. Levels also force tour adjustments like boat sizes, equipment changes, group/load sizes in each boat, and even canceling. Proper weight and power distribution in the rafts is a major key to successful safe navigation. Guides are authorized to make these decisions based on monitoring usgs water level gauges prior to trips launch along with denial of participants from engaging in the activity at any time. Water levels, weather and other variables can also affect the duration of a tour by changing the volume and speed of the current. Our office staff will inform all reservations in advance about any forecasted water level changes that may jeopardize or cancel the tour. Full refunds are issued if cancellations occur and/or rescheduling for runnable levels on another upcoming date is made.

Inherent Risks

There are inherent risks associated with river travel and outdoor activities that everyone must accept and understand. Variable uneven terrain, sharp rocks, slippery rocks, and changing weather are common. Some safety hazards will always exist and are beyond human control such as water levels and erosion. Rivers and all moving waterways can be dangerous and deadly. Rescue in these environments and features is not only technical and difficult but in some cases not possible at all. Safety standards are in place for these reasons and must be followed. Guides manage risk by interpreting and recognizing hazards that average boaters and guests are unaware of. Many traveling on the mellow sections have a false sense of security because of the friendly inviting nature of the easy river. Whitewater with rapids on the Class system of III, IV or V sections deserve respect. Individuals traveling on rivers, creeks or streams without professional guides should possess the proper knowledge, experience, and equipment.

**All participants on all our tours must follow our guidelines, procedures and sign a waiver. Only parents or legal guardians may sign for youth minors. We do not allow infants on our tours. We do not allow pets on our tours.

You may preview or pre-sign our waiver document, by clicking here.

COvid-19 Update

Parties less than 4 must agree to share a raft with other parties where distancing cannot be maintained feasibly at 6 foot under all possible circumstances during a whitewater raft trip by giving consent to mix non-household members. We recommend creating your own group of friends, family or household members who have had sufficient exposure time together to rule out infection to fill your own boat. 4-5 people is ideal per boat for this tour. Fill your own boat!

Please bring your personal face mask for the tour office check-in process and during vehicle transport. We do require social distancing to the best of your groups ability, whenever possible. Try to build reservations and bookings as one household to minimize exposure. Consent may be gained or required to mix with other non-household members during tours. For more Covid-19 questions or concerns, please contact our office.

You are not required to wear a face mask during the tour on the boat.

Matanuska 1.5 Day

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Rave Reviews

Testimonials

I, and several relatives, went on this rafting trip early August 2019 and we all had a blast. The trip was down a beautiful waterway that allowed enough relaxed rafting to enjoy the natural beauty, while being punctuated by exciting rapids. The dry suits made for a comfortable trip and our guide (Scotty) provided quick-witted humor and entertainment during the calmer stretches.
If you are considering this rafting trip, but have not fully committed, I encourage you to “pull the trigger” and sign up – you will not be disappointed! These folks are 100% safety oriented and will ensure a safe yet exciting trip. Take along a waterproof action cam to record the adventure.

Sam L  | Trip date: August 2019

We rafted the 6 mile with nova and did the glacier trek. Both were phenomenal. We had Scotty for our rafting trip and he, as well as all of the guides, were very safety conscious. They prepared you for every situation that could happen and we absolutely loved our experience. For our glacier trek, our guide was Coffee. Again, an amazing experience. We did more than we thought we would, including repelling down a 70 foot ice wall! It was so much fun and Coffee made us feel super safe. Nova is an amazing company with only the best guides. I wouldn’t use anyone else in Alaska!

Lauren M.  | Trip date: July 2020

This was our 2nd time rafting in Alaska. Both times dry suits were provided and worked well. Three boats went on the trip with 5 patrons and one guide in each. Two of the boats utilized big oars in the back for the guide and the guests paddled occasionally as instructed. The 3rd boat had a group of young men and they did a “paddle trip” without the oars and using just regular paddles. The trip was fun. Not too rough. No one fell out of the boat. It wasn’t as scenic as the Nenana River outside Denali, but a good trip.

Berry TN  | Trip date: August 2019