- Class III-IV
- River Length
- 35 miles
- 1 day
- May to September
The Tonsina River originates in the Chugach Mountains of Southeastern Alaska and etches the western boundary of Wrangell St. Elias National Park and Preserve. Glacially fed, the Tonsina River runs with opalescent blue green water, both cold and swift, and features rapids to thrill any whitewater enthusiast.
Day long trips on the Tonsina River navigate through intermediate and advanced intermediate whitewater, with six difficult drops scattered along the way. Pounding pool drop rapids with substantial hydraulics and holes ease into riffle sections. The waters of the Tonsina River are very swift, allowing river trips to cover almost 35 miles in one day.
The Tonsina River flows through the spruce forests of the Tonsina Valley, which is a terraced valley, allowing for excellent views of surrounding scenery. Wildlife is often seen along the banks of the Tonsina River, including Eagles, Brown and Black Bear and Moose.
Full day trips on the Tonsina River start in Valdez and are accessed via vehicle to the put-in located just off the Richardson Highway. The take-out for the Tonsina is located at the confluence of the Tonsina River and Copper River near the town of Chitina, where a dirt road leads back to Valdez.