KENAI PACKRAFT TRAVERSE

QUICK DETAILS

  • Ages: 14 years +
  • Duration: 7 Days
  • Begins / Ends: Kenai, AK
  • Location: Kenai Mountain Range
  • Exertion: Strenuous to Extreme
  • Season: June – September
  • Price: $3,999 per person

*Minimum: 4 participants per trip required to guarantee
Ask us about custom dates for individuals, couples, families, and groups.

TRIP DETAILS & ITINERARY

KENAI PACKRAFT TRAVERSE


This is your chance to experience an Alaskan packrafting adventure in a rarely visited area of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. You’ll backpack a packraft and paddling gear up and over a magnificent alpine mountain peak until we reach the rivers that we will ultimately float all the way to Kachemak Bay!

We will hike about 30+ miles, and float on glacier fed rivers for 30+ miles in our packrafts. The views on our ascent to the alpine country are absolutely amazing! You will be backpacking amongst the highest mountain peaks in the Kenai Mountains. As we make our way to the first put-in, ancient glaciers begin to appear nestled within the surrounding craggy mountains.

You will be instructed on necessary skills to safely packraft the waterways. Packrafts are very stable and intuitive, and downright fun to paddle! After practicing in a safe environment we’ll launch our lightweight packrafts for our first float on a glacier fed river, with a serene Class I/II float.

Very rarely does anyone set foot in this part of the Kenai National Wildlife due to its sheer remoteness, difficult access, and the unforgiving terrain encountered. Kenai Backcountry Adventures limits the number of trips we take in this area to help protect its beauty and grandeur.

**There is a mandatory pre-trip meeting the afternoon of Day 1 in Kenai, AK. The pre-trip meeting is a meet-and-greet, orientation, safety-brief, and Q&A session all rolled into one. Following this we’ll have a group dinner.

DAY 1: ARRIVAL DAY > KENAI
Today you’ll arrive in Kenai by plane or car. Arrival can be anytime before 4:00pm. Your overnight group accommodations are located off the beaten track near our flight office in Kenai. Your KBA Guide will greet you at the Kenai Airport, if you’re flying, or at the accommodations, if driving. This evening we’ll have a group meeting to discuss safety items, gear check, and the overall trip plan, followed by a group welcome dinner hosted by KBA.
Meals Included: Welcome dinner
Accommodation: Private cabin – group accommodations

DAY 2:  KENAI > KENAI NWR – KENAI MOUNTAINS
Today your KBA Guides will cook a group breakfast at the cabin, then it’s time to weigh gear and load the floatplane. We’ll then take off into the skies for a spectacular 30 minute flight to a giant glacial lake; Tustumena Lake. Once on the beach with all of our gear, we’ll have a brief refueling snack. We’ll then set off on our first leg ascending through a pristine boreal forest, until we reach the magnificent alpine tundra that awaits us above. We’ll take plenty of time to snap photos on the way up and in the alpine country. We’ll hike to the top of a 3,900+ ft beautiful alpine mountain peak to take a break and explore the area. On clear days, you could easily go through a couple memory cards on your camera up here! We’ll then make our way to our first camp of the trip which will be amongst tarns. We’ll set up camp and take in the magical wilderness that surrounds us. A gourmet backcountry dinner will be served, and we’ll spend the evening relaxing, or hiking around. We’ll hike about 8 [hard] miles this day.
All meals included
Distance: 8+ miles
Accommodation: Under tent

DAY 3:  MOUNTAIN TOP > FOX RIVER
We’ll enjoy a hot breakfast in the high country this morning before making our descent to Fox River. We’ll break camp, pack up, and hit the tundra for our second hiking leg of the trip. We’ll have a couple options for our descent route that we will discuss and agree to as a group. Either route will take us to camp 2 which involves bushwhacking towards the end of the route. We’ll set up camp and take in the magical wilderness that surrounds us. A gourmet backcountry dinner will be served, and we’ll spend the evening relaxing, hiking around, or we can inflate the packrafts for instructional opportunities and practice; time permitting. We’ll hike about 8-14 miles this day, all off-trail. Camp 2 will be near the river we’ll be packrafting on.
All meals included
Distance: Mileage varies, based on the group
Accommodation: Under tent

DAY 4:  PACKRAFT FOX RIVER
After a delicious breakfast, we’ll break camp, pack up, and inflate the packrafts for our first river leg of the trip. After donning the necessary river gear, you will be instructed on the packrafting skills needed to float the river. After practicing in a safe area, we’ll begin a 20 mile Class I/II float to our next camp. Although, the float is leisurely, it is not without obstacles and hazards. You will need to be prepared and capable of 6-10 hours of physical activity, which mainly consists of paddling to keep your boat off the shore, gravel bars, and away from obstacles, and hauling your inflated packraft and gear while portaging around shallow sections, or obstacles. We’ll be camping in a low-lying forested area in between 2 rivers. Wildlife is usually very active in this area and we are likely to see moose and bears.
All meals included
Distance: 20 miles on the river
Accommodation: Under tent

DAY 5:  SHEEP RIVER > KACHEMAK BAY
On this day we will float the second glacier fed river, Sheep River, on the trip for about 10 miles to our final packraft take out. This will be another Class I float, but because we are nearing Kachemak Bay we are more susceptible to the weather, high winds, mud flats, and tidal fluctuations as we descend the river to the head of the bay. Timing the tides will be critical on this leg of the trip. If possible, we want to avoid paddling against the wind on a rising tide. Our take out destination is on the shore of Kachemak Bay. We call this day the “day of unknowns” because we never know what Mother Nature will toss our way. We plan for everything and remain flexible the entire time.
All meals included
Distance: Daily mileage varies, based on the group
Accommodation: Under tent

DAY 6: KACHEMAK BAY > BRADLEY LAKE
Let’s hike up another mountain! That’s just what we do today, although the track is hard pack, it’s a long ways up. At the top, we’re greeted with a beautiful mountain lake, which is perfect for our lake side camp tonight.
All meals included
Distance: Varies
Accommodation: Under tent

DAY 7: BRADLEY LAKE > KENAI
Today is pick up day, but not before we get to play around packrafting on the lake. We generally get picked up in the afternoon, allowing for an arrival back to Kenai around early evening. Once we arrive back to the floatplane base, we’ll exchange some high-fives and goodbyes and transport you to the Kenai Airport. If you are returning home this evening, please be sure to schedule your return Kenai flight for after 8:00pm (Kenai>Anchorage).
Meals Included: Breakfast and lunch
Distance: Varies

*The accompanying itinerary is the schedule we intend to follow. However, this is Alaska, and our trips may deviate as written on this page or in any documentation we publish. This can be as a result of weather conditions, group preference, safety considerations, or unforeseeable circumstances. Therefore expect the unexpected, and prepare to be flexible. 

This is an all-inclusive adventure, meaning everything is included in your price apart from your flights to and from Alaska, personal gear, gratuities for guides, and voluntary expenditures. You trip package includes:

    • Accommodations: 1 night private cabin, 5 nights tent camping
    • Round-trip ground transportation (Kenai Airport<>Flight Office)
    • Round-trip floatplane flights during the trip (Kenai<>Backcountry)
    • Meals as indicated in the itinerary
    • Professional guide service
    • Expedition tents
    • Satellite phone, GPS, maps, location tracker
    • Medical kits, and repair gear
    • Trekking poles
    • Packraft, paddle, drysuit, PFD, river helmet
    • Packrafting instruction
    • Gathering/cook tent
    • Cooking equipment, eating utensils, bowl/plate, and hot drink mug
    • Water filtration equipment
    • Bear resistant canisters
    • Guides prepare and cook all meals

    LOGISTICS & FAQ

    What is the best way to get to Kenai?
    Plan to fly into the Anchorage International Airport (ANC), and then take a 25 minute flight from ANC to Kenai Airport (ENA). Or you can rent a car in Anchorage and then drive to Kenai (~3 hours). Either way you will need to be in Kenai by 4:00pm on Day 1. Kenai Airport also has rental cars should you decide to turn your car in before your trip, or rent a car after your trip. KBA will provide transportation between the Kenai Airport and our flight office.

    What are the accommodations like?
    Accommodations on day 1 is a private cabin that will house the group plus your guides. Day 2 thru 7 is double occupancy tent camping in the backcountry.

    Can solo travelers get their own tent? Is there an optional or forced supplement, and how much is it?
    As a solo traveler, a single supplement of $400 per person that applies to the private cabin accommodations on day 1, and tent camping Day 2 to 7.

    What is the food like?
    Proper nutrition in the backcountry is paramount for stamina and recovery. We create gourmet masterpieces from scratch that are healthy, filling, and delicious leaving your palate (and belly!) satisfied. Everything from cinnamon rolls and vanilla pancakes for breakfast, to spaghetti with meatballs for dinner, finished off with cheesecake for dessert.

    How much extra money should people budget?
    Kenai Backcountry Adventures recommends that you bring $500 cash for gratuities, in-town spending money, souvenirs, additional meals, etc.

    What should people bring? Do you have a packing list?
    A detailed backpacking gear list will be provided with your booking confirmation. Or you can view the GEAR LIST now (select “Base Camp Trips”).

    Is travel insurance required?
    Travel insurance is required for this trip. Review our Travel Insurance page for more info.

    Additional frequently asked questions and answers:

    Are bears and other wildlife going to be a problem?
    Bears are virtually everywhere in Alaska, and therefore one should anticipate and be prepared for a possible encounter or sighting of a bear. Moose are a common sighting on the Kenai Peninsula but generally they keep their distance. Kenai Backcountry Adventures takes wildlife safety very seriously and therefore take precautions to keep you safe in the wilderness. In addition, you will learn the necessary safety procedures regarding Alaska wildlife in your pre-backcountry safety orientation.

    Will there be bugs?
    The most common nuisance bugs are mosquitoes and no-see-ums. However, based on the time of year and current weather conditions insects may or may not present an issue. Generally, there are only a few areas we tend to encounter mosquitoes along our route. Come prepared with insect repellant and a high quality head net.

    What will the weather be like?
    Weather in this part of Alaska is highly variable and unpredictable. It could be in the 70s or 80s one day and in the 50s and raining the next (or in the same day!). We may encounter snow at higher elevations. High winds can be frequent and may impede travel at times.

    Contingency
    It’s best to plan a buffer day at the end of the trip in the event of a weather delay departing the backcountry on the last day, however if you must make flight arrangements to depart Kenai on the last day of the itinerary, please make your flight departure for after 10:00 pm.

    • Airfare/Travel to and from Kenai, AK, before and after your trip
    • Meals not indicated in the itinerary
    • Personal gear (rain gear, clothing, backpack, etc.)
    • Travel Insurance (required)
    • Single supplement ($400)
    • Additional lodging nights due to weather delays (in town)
    • Additional meals due to weather delays (in town)
    • Alcoholic beverages
    • Gratuities for your guides (recommended)

    NEED HELP?

    We hope you find the information on this page useful. But if you need help booking your trip or have any questions please contact us.

    +1-907-331-4912