Six Mile Creek

Six Mile Creek

Whitewater rafting trip

Adventure Level
Very Challenging
River Category (2 canyon)

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 (3 canyon)

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.


Extremely long, obstructed, or very violent rapids which expose a paddler to added risk. Drops may contain large, unavoidable waves and holes or steep, congested chutes with complex, demanding routes. Rapids may continue for long distances between pools, demanding a high level of fitness. What eddies exist may be small, turbulent, or difficult to reach. At the high end of the scale, several of these factors may be combined. Swims are dangerous, and rescue is often difficult even for experts. Because of the large range of difficulty that exists beyond Class IV, Class 5 is an open-ended, multiple-level scale designated by class 5.0, 5.1, 5.2, etc.… each of these levels is an order of magnitude more difficult than the last. Example: increasing difficulty from Class 5.0 to Class 5.1 is a similar order of magnitude as increasing from Class IV to Class 5.0. Suitable for adventurous individuals who can swim and comfortable with the prospect of self-rescue. NOVA requires all participants to take a supervised practice self-rescue swim before the trip to help demystify the self-rescue experience and test your swimming fitness. Minimum age 16.

Reservation Minimum
2 people
Trip Minimum
4 People

*(Groups less than 4 may join others with consent to build tour)

JUNE 1 – AUG 31, 2021
age Limit
max: 65 Years
Language Requirement
Min. Size/Weight/Height
100 Lbs and 5 Ft. 2 Inches
Max. Size/Weight/Height
250 Lbs and 6 Ft. 6 Inches, Girth 50 Inches.

*Must be physically fit

Check-in Time
9:00AM 0r 2:00pm
2 canyons: ~2+ hours
3 canyons: ~3+ hours

The trip meeting and check-in location is at the public rest area parking lot 100 yards down the Hope Road from the junction of the Seward Highway and Hope Road intersection. The public rest parking lot is on the right side of the Hope Road just past the junction. PLEASE DO NOT DRIVE THE 16 MILES DOWN TO OUR INFORMATION OFFICE LOCATED IN HOPE, this is an end of the road town where you have to turn back. Stay at the highway junction at the public rest parking lot back where the two highways first merge. This public lot is the meeting area and mobile check-in location for the Sixmile Creek rafting tour. If you are already in the town of Hope, you would then drive the 16 miles back towards the highway junction for your tour check-in.


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! **Glacier tours are in a different area of Alaska. Located 4 hours north of Sixmile Creek and 2 hours north of Anchorage at the Matanuska Glacier.


Sixmile Creek is Alaska’s premier whitewater raft trip, one of the wildest most exhilarating trips in North America, and a NOVA pioneered section that is well known around the world of whitewater. Prepare to get wet as this pristine wild creek runs through three consecutive canyons. Each canyon is more beautiful and more challenging than the last, with tight narrow routes, steep slot drops, crashing waves, and deep beautiful blue pools. It’s an awesome ride all surrounded by lush green rainforest walls. A truly world class section of whitewater that happens to be half-day accessible and gives a one-of-a-kind Alaskan adventure in just a few hours. This creek cuts right through the gorgeous Chugach National Forest and then pours into the pacific ocean at turnagain arm just south of Anchorage. From the creek is a 16 mile drive to the quaint mining town of Hope, AK from the highway junction meeting area. In the town of Hope there are great dining options along with quaint Alaskan charm to explore after your trip. This tour is located two hours south of Anchorage off the Seward Highway. With action packed adrenaline pumping rapids set in a serene semi-rain forest gorge, it’s a picture perfect river trip. NOVA pioneered Sixmile Creek in the 1980’s and has constantly led adventures on this famous section of whitewater.

These canyon rapids are defined as ‘pool-drop’ at most water levels. Allowing for the sudden gradient drop or rapid breaks into a calm smaller pool below. When water levels rise these pools become less tame and increase in current between rapids. The first and second canyons have multiple significant Class IV rapids with decent size pools and distance between rapids. Sixmile Creek’s third canyon is where the canyon really changes character. The third canyon is more committing and packed with Class V consecutive rapids. With even more gradient drop and more rapids back-to-back. The pools become smaller and the distance between rapids shortens. This constant and consistent gradient decreasing time between rapids is what elevates the intensity, difficulty and risk for the third canyon.

Both our 2 canyon and 3 canyon raft tours include a mandatory (yet fun) in-river swim test before the start of the tour. This also is to help demystify the experience of being in the moving water and currents, to practice self-rescue, and check everyone’s swimming abilities prior to the trip launch. Guides are able to deny anyone participation in the tour based on their judgement. NOVA was the first in Alaska to incorporate a pre-trip swim test as a safety standard for commerically run class V whitewater. For those adventurous 3rd canyon section rafters, you can choose to enjoy a popular post-rapid celebration swim session after successfully navigating all three of the Sixmile Creek canyons and float down to the take-out to meet the bus for pick up riverside. Sixmile Creek is one of the highest quality and highest adrenaline experiences you can have. NOVA takes pride in being the original rafting company on this legendary section of Alaskan whitewater!


We have two different Sixmile Creek rafting options: Both start and end at the same check-in and pick up location.

  1. The two to three hour 2-canyon whitewater run with predominantly class IV rapids. We have a 12 year age minimum for 2 canyon tours. Tours that make a reservation for 2 canyons can drop off youth after 2 canyons and choose to continue on downstream into the 3rd canyon if they are of age and enjoying the creek wanting the challenge of the 3rd canyon. Any new 3rd canyon additions mid-trip may pay the new tour balance post trip.
  2. The three to four hour 3-canyon run which includes the only commercial class V rapids in the great state of Alaska. This is the most intense tour offered at NOVA. We have a 16 year age minimum for 3 canyon tours.
  • *High water level trips have boat loads with groups of 5 people or less per boat
  • *Low water level trips have boat loads with groups of 4 people or less per boat
  • Groups of 4 to 5 people are ideal for this tour. Fill your own boat! Groups smaller may mix in boats with other groups with consent given.
  • Both tours offer hands-on heavy participation in full paddle-boats or paddle-assist with oars for increased maneuverability and power during higher water levels. The 3rd and final canyon is serious Class 5 whitewater of this river section.

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.


Sixmile Creek is serious fun whitewater but it’s not for everyone. 3rd canyon participants must possess a high level of physicality, athleticism, handle high levels of exertion, be a decent swimmer and comfortable with the prospect of self-rescue. People with underlying cardiac, respiratory or any other serious health conditions should avoid Class 4-5 whitewater. This is a technical and potentially dangerous section of river where participants can and often do end up out of the boat and in the water. Swimming whitewater is not always fun. Mother nature can provide a lot of thrills and spills, but should always be respected for its power.

Tour Highlights
  • Alaska’s most challenging whitewater trip which was pioneered by NOVA over 40 years ago!
  • Beautiful canyon section with heavy paddling and hands-on participation style whitewater.
  • Narrow routes, steep drops, beautiful pools.
  • Pool-drop style rapids and creek canyon character.
  • Great for team building and adrenaline rush seekers.
  • Travel through the pristine Chugach National Forest lands.
  • No experience necessary but strong swimming ability is recommended.
  • 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.
  • All NOVA River Runners Inc., Sixmile Creek rafting tours are operated under a commercial use permit issued by the Chugach National Forest Service.
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.

Six Mile Creek

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Rave Reviews


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