Fortymile Wild and Scenic River
The Fortymile Wild and Scenic River is an extensive network of creeks and rivers in east-central Alaska, 392 miles of which are designated as a Wild, Scenic, or Recreational section of the National Wild and Scenic River System . The river's numerous forks flow into the 'mainstem' Fortymile River, which joins the Yukon River in Canada.
River float trips, camping, and sightseeing from the Taylor Highway are the primary attractions for visitors to the Fortymile. Boaters have many choices for recreational trips through deep, winding canyons lined by forests of birch, spruce and aspen. Remnants of past mining operations dot the river banks as mementos of the area's rich mining history. For an Alaska river, the Fortymile has an unusual number of access points, making it possible to enjoy float trips that range from one day to several weeks in length.
Monitoring River Levels
Various stream gauges throughout the Fortymile provide useful information for monitoring floating conditions. Current observations in the Fortymile River are available on the National Weather Service’s Hydrometeorological Automated Data System (HADS) website: Fortymile HADS website
BLM maintains three public campgrounds in the Fortymile region: West Fork Campground (Taylor Highway milepost 48.8), Walker Fork Campground (Taylor Highway milepost 82) and Eagle Campground in the town of Eagle. These campgrounds include campsites with picnic tables, as well as outhouses and potable water. Dump stations are not available; campers are encouraged to dump in Tok or Dawson. Overnight camping is not allowed at BLM waysides along the Taylor Highway.
Are you floating the Fortymile Wild and Scenic River into Canada?
If you will be passing through Canadian waters, contact Canadian Immigration through their remote river crossings email (971NPCU03G@cbsa-asfc.gc.ca) before your trip. They will respond with the required information needed for a river trip. You will need to provide as much lead time as possible — their service standard on this type of request could be up to 12 weeks. If you have any questions, please contact Canadian Immigration in Whitehorse (867-667-3943).
If your plans involve returning to the United States via the Yukon River, contact U.S. Customs and Border Protection (907-774-2252) before your trip. Upon reaching Eagle, check in with U.S. Customs and Border Protection using the special telephone in the white box on the left side of the Eagle laundromat.
Are you driving a vehicle into Canada?
The Poker Creek (U.S. side) and Little Gold Creek (Canadian side) customs stations on the Top of the World Highway are open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Alaska time (9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Pacific time). You may not cross the border when the customs stations are closed, so plan your trip accordingly.
Specific requirements may also apply to you if your trip includes:
- Vehicles and drivers
- Personal defensive pepper spray
- Alcohol and tobacco
Please contact the U.S. and Canadian authorities at the phone numbers listed above for the latest information.
Most visitors to the Fortymile Wild and Scenic River arrive via the 160-mile-long Taylor Highway, which branches off the Alaska Highway at Tetlin Junction near Tok, or via the Top of the Highway from Dawson City. From Tok, proceed east 2 miles on State Highway 2 to the Taylor Highway and then to a selected drop-off point, such as the South Fork Bridge Wayside or Fortymile Bridge. Air taxi shuttles to remote drop-off and take-out points can also be arranged in Tok or Fairbanks.
Approximate driving times: 6 to 8 hours from Fairbanks; 8 to 10 hours from Anchorage; 2 to 3 hours from Dawson City, Yukon Territory.
No fee for personal recreational use. Commercial guides who wish to guide clients on the Fortymile Wild and Scenic River need to obtain a Special Recreation Permit from the BLM.