Angler standing at Delta Wild and Scenic River falls

Delta Wild and Scenic River

The Delta River watershed is in the Alaska Range in Southcentral Alaska. River access is along the Denali Highway, about 22 miles west of Paxson. Year-round recreational opportunities abound throughout the river’s watershed, which includes 150,000 acres of land, 160 miles of streams, and 21 lakes. The Tangle River connects several of the Tangle Lakes and then drains into the Delta River, which joins the Tanana River, before flowing into the mighty Yukon River.

Portions of the Delta River were designated for its wild, scenic, and recreational characteristics as part of the National Wild and Scenic River systems by the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act in 1980. The upper stretch of the Delta River, all of the Tangle Lakes, and the Tangle River were recognized for their outstanding scenery and natural and cultural values. These Bureau of Land Management National Conservation Lands embody our vision for conserving out public lands. Open to everyone, they offer Americans the unique opportunity to explore and experience the landscapes that shaped our nation. Whether you fish, hike, hunt, or boat these lands represent our way of life, a living link to the past and our pledge to tomorrow. For information on recreational opportunities, visit the Delta Wild and Scenic River Recreation web page.

Find out more about other wild and scenic rivers on the Alaska National Conservation Lands page or on the wild and scenic rivers program page.

Outstandingly Remarkable Values


History and Prehistory

Native people may have lived in this area as long ago as the end of the last ice age (about 10,000 years ago). Approximately 226,660 acres in the Tangle Lakes area are designated as the Tangle Lakes Archaeological District. This area has hundreds of archaeological sites that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The first recorded use of the Delta River was as a route of exploration by the U.S. Army in 1898. A gold strike along Rainy Creek led to the establishment of the Eureka Creek Mining District; as many as 250 people worked in this District between 1900 and 1910.

Collection or disturbance of any historic or prehistoric remains is against the law.



Few rivers anywhere in the world can match the quality and quantity of the Arctic grayling fishery. High-quality lake trout fishing is available in late winter and early spring, as well. Tangle Lakes and the Delta River also support round whitefish, lake trout, burbot and longnose suckers.

Salmon are not found in the Delta River due to the 15-foot-high falls and the heavy silt load entering from Eureka Creek.

You can purchase an Alaska fishing license and view sportfishing regulations online at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game website or buy in person from license agents throughout the state, including stores in Glennallen, Delta Junction and Tok.



This is one of a few easily accessible wild and scenic rivers in the state of Alaska, providing both day use and overnight backcountry excursions. A wide range of outstanding recreational opportunities attract people of all ages and abilities for river-related solitude and the undisturbed environment, or for activities such as wildlife viewing, fishing, hunting, trapping, camping, hiking, snowmachining, skiing and photography. Boating opportunities include both lake and river paddling on clear and glacial water stretches, challenging whitewater and exceptional opportunities.

For more information about recreation opportunities, visit the Delta Wild and Scenic River web page.



The corridor is flanked by both the low, rolling tundra hills of the Amphitheatre Mountains and the high, rugged, snow-covered peaks and ridges of the Alaska Range, offering high-quality scenic vistas. The river and surrounding hills provide undisturbed views of the river canyon, waterfalls, channelized riverbeds, tributaries, granite rock outcroppings and glacial alluvial processes.



More than 100 species of migrating birds and waterfowl use the river corridor and the surrounding lakes as nesting areas. The trumpeter swan, a BLM sensitive species, is found in the wetlands of the Upper Tangle Lakes, and bald eagles frequent the area. Grizzly bears frequent the lowlands to fish and hunt where moose spend the summer and drop their calves. Tens of thousands of Nelchina caribou travel through this area during their annual migration to and from the calving grounds.

Wildlife provides opportunities for hunting, trapping, photography and viewing. Hunters seek moose, caribou, bear, Dall sheep, ptarmigan, waterfowl and snowshoe hare. Trappers harvest beaver, fox, wolf, marten, lynx, wolverine, otter, muskrat, and mink.

Wildlife viewing is best in the early morning.



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Bureau of Land Management
Glennallen Field Office
PO Box 147
Mile 186.5 Glenn Highway
Glennallen, Alaska 99588

(907) 822-3217

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