West Fork Bridge or Mosquito Fork Bridge to South Fork Bridge
During periods of high water, especially during spring runoff, the West Fork of the Dennison Fork becomes deep enough to float. Most of the year there is not enough water for pleasant canoeing or rafting. This section is about 30 river miles long and typically takes 10 hours to float. A screen-viewable map of this trip is available here.
Put in at the West Fork Bridge, milepost 49 on the Taylor Highway. Boats must be carried about 20 yards to the water. The West Fork Campground, a quarter-mile from the bridge, has outhouses and 25 campsites. A long-term parking area lies south of the bridge.
|West Fork of the Dennison Fork just below the bridge.|
Shortly before the mining town of Chicken, the Dennison Fork joins the Mosquito Fork. Like the Dennison Fork, the Mosquito Fork is too shallow to float except during high water.
For a shorter trip to the South Fork Bridge (10 miles/5 hours), some floaters put in at the Mosquito Fork Bridge at milepost 64 on the Taylor Highway. The easiest way to get equipment to the river is to turn east off the highway just south of the bridge and drive about 100 yards to the point where a steep ramp has been installed to the water's edge. This ramp is not suited for boat trailers, but it provides a good route to carry rafts or canoes. Chicken residents use this access point to get drinking water, so please keep the area clean. Park your vehicle at the parking lot on the north side of the bridge.
A few miles past Chicken you'll float past the historic Lost Chicken Dredge, brought into the area in the 1930s to mine gold. A 1.4-mile-long hiking trail leads from the steep bluffs above the dredge to the Taylor Highway.
|Lost Chicken Dredge|
Unless you're continuing on the South Fork, you can take out at the South Fork Bridge at milepost 75 on the Taylor Highway. The South Fork Bridge Wayside includes a parking lot, outhouse and boat ramp. The boat ramp is exposed to the river current and is not easy to use; four-wheel-drive is sometimes necessary. Long-term parking is allowed at the South Fork Bridge Wayside, but overnight camping is not.
The U.S. Geological Survey inch-to-the-mile (1:63,360) maps recommended for these trips are:
West Fork Campground to South Fork Bridge: Eagle A-2, Tanacross D-2, D-3
Mosquito Fork Bridge to South Fork Bridge: Eagle A-2