The Gulkana River watershed drains approximately 2,140 square miles of Southcentral Alaska. The river begins in the Alaska Range near Summit Lake and flows south into the Copper River, which eventually empties into the Gulf of Alaska between Cordova and Katalla. Several hundred lakes and ponds are scattered throughout the spruce-dominated forest of the Gulkana River watershed, providing abundant nesting areas for trumpeter swans and waterfowl.
Portions of the Gulkana River were designated for its wild character as part of the National Wild and Scenic River system by the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act in 1980. The Gulkana was recognized for its primitive character, abundant fish and wildlife, and its geologic, cultural and recreational values. The river offers excellent sportfishing, particularly for chinook (king) salmon, as well as 3-4 day float trips through meandering waters and Class III – IV rapids with convenient access points along the Richardson Highway. For more information on recreational opportunities, visit the Gulkana Wild and Scenic River Recreation web page.