Lower Tangle Lakes & Upper Delta River

Delta National Wild and Scenic River BLM asks that all users do their part to help maintain the pristine character of the Delta River through

low impact camping techniques.

 

Lower Tangle Lakes and Upper Delta River

Begin your two-to-three day trip at the Tangle Lakes Campground at mile 21, Denali Highway where you will find a boat launch and camping facilities. 

From Round Tangle Lake, follow the Tangle Lakes north. The first nine miles of the trip goes through three of the Tangle Lakes which are all connected by shallow channels of slow-moving water. During low water levels, lining canoes and rafts might be necessary for short distances. Ice can remain on the lakes until early June.

The Delta River flows north out of Lower Tangle Lake and continues through the Amphitheater Mountains and the foothills of the Alaska Range. It is 20 miles from this outlet to the take-out point (Mile 212.5 Richardson Highway). The first one and one quarter miles of river are shallow and rocky, Class II water.

Following this first section, there is a portage around an unnavigable waterfall. The river portage take-out is marked with a sign on the right hand side of the river. A one-half mile maintained portage trail leads you through steep, rocky terrain. This trail is divided into two sections with a pond crossing in between.

Below the falls, the river narrows to approximately 60 feet and the velocity increases significantly. Boaters should have whitewater experience to successfully float this one-mile section of shallow, rocky Class II-III rapids. The next 12 miles of river are slow, meandering Class I water.

At the confluence of the Eureka Creek, the river changes to cold, silty glacial water. The last seven miles are often shallow and braided with numerous channels and gravel bars. The water is swift and generally Class II.

Nearly everyone who floats the Delta River takes out just below Phelan Creek at mile 212.5 on the Richardson Highway. The exact take-out location varies from year-to-year due to changes in the river channel. Parking is available adjacent to the river and the take-out is marked with a large yellow sign. The vehicle shuttle from the Tangle Lakes launch point to the take out is 49 miles one way.