Gulkana Wild and Scenic River General Information

Gulkana National Wild River bannerBLM asks that all users do their part to help maintain the wild character of the Gulkana River through 
low impact camping techniques.

► Gulkana River Users Guide for Paxson to Sourdough Float.
► River and Boating Safety Reminders



Raft on the Gulkana River

Gulkana River Seasons and Climate

The Gulkana River running season generally begins in early to mid-June, depending on ice breakup and precipitation. Average annual precipitation, measured in Glennallen, is 12 inches of rain and 44 inches of snow. July is commonly the wettest month. During the summer, temperatures range from 35 F to 70 F with occasional highs in the 80s. However, be prepared for cold, wet weather at any time. By late August, the shorter days and colder temperatures bring the Gulkana River recreation season to an end.


Young girl with a king salmon Fish and Fishing on the Gulkana River

The Gulkana is considered to be one of the most popular sportfishing streams in Alaska. The lakes have good populations of lake trout, burbot and whitefish. Rivers and streams contain rainbow trout, arctic grayling, king salmon, red salmon, whitefish, long nose suckers, lamprey and steelhead. Fishing licenses can be purchased in Glennallen, Sourdough, Gakona, Paxson, Delta Junction and Tok.


Moose eating vegetationGulkana River Wildlife and Vegetation

Depending on location, you may see grizzly bear, black bear, moose, caribou, beaver, coyote, otter, bald eagles, kingfishers, and assorted waterfowl. There are more than 33 species of mammals and 59 species of birds known to live in the Gulkana River basin. For bear safety information click here.

The major vegetation type in the Gulkana River valley is spruce-hardwood forest. You will encounter white and black spruce, birch, aspen and poplar forests with an understory of willow, alder, rose, dwarf birch, cranberry, blueberry, labrador tea, dwarf dogwood, lichens and mosses.