Beaver Creek


Beaver Creek runs through remote boreal forest of interior Alaska, with its headwaters in the White Mountains National Recreation Area north of Fairbanks, Alaska. The river flows west past the jagged limestone ridges of the White Mountains before flowing to the north and east, where it enters the Yukon Flats and joins the Yukon River.

Beaver Creek has long been a popular destination for river adventurers. The river's clear water, modest Class I rapids, and unparalleled scenery make for a relaxing trip. Once you put in at Nome Creek, there are no roads or services until you reach the Yukon River bridge on the Dalton Highway. Many floaters arrange for a Fairbanks air-taxi service to pick them up from a gravel bar. Check with the air-taxis for current information on suitable pickup locations. It usually takes six to ten days for an enjoyable float through the White Mountains National Recreation Area, if you continue down Beaver Creek and the Yukon River to the Dalton Highway bridge, you should plan for up to two additional weeks of travel. This 360-mile trip has been called the longest road-to-road float in North America.

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Designated Reach

December 2, 1980. The segment of the main stem from the vicinity of the confluence of the Bear and Champion Creek downstream to its exit from the NE corner of T12N, R6E, Fairbanks meridian within the White Mountains National Recreation Area and the Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge.

Outstandingly Remarkable Values


Beaver Creek's fishery consists primarily of Arctic grayling. Northern pike, sheefish, and whitefish are also present in the lower reaches of the river.

Beaver Creek contains a BLM Alaska watch list species (Chinook salmon), and fisheries diversity is one of highest in the region. Unique concentrations of Arctic grayling are highly important for recreational fishing. The near pristine aquatic habitat in Beaver Creek provides crucial spawning and rearing habitat for the survival and recovery of Chinook salmon. The populations of regionally significant fish species and the river’s pristine habitat combine to a finding that fisheries is an outstanding remarkable value for Beaver Creek.


Beaver Creek’s limestone outcrops and associated karst features, as well as Serpentine Slide, represent geologic features that are rare and unusual in the geographic region. The creek flows out of the Tanana-Yukon Uplands, a structurally complex region of igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks. Around the White Mountains, the river flows through a tectonically active fault zone. The first major fault occurs at the Big Bend, where the river crosses a band of Tolovana Limestone, the backbone of the White Mountains. The creek then runs parallel to a series of active thrust faults and touches a zone of Lower Paleozoic mafic and ultramafic rocks (including serpentine) along the river's northern margin before continuing into the sedimentary bedrock of the Yukon Flats.


Beaver Creek has long been a popular destination for river adventurers and is recognized regionally, nationally, and internationally as truly wilderness type experience on an easy Class I river. The river's clear water, modest rapids and unparalleled scenery make for a relaxing trip. The rivers setting within the heart of the White Mountains presents outstanding scenic and geological opportunities which are unique within the region. The presence of diverse wildlife and the possibility of seeing them in a natural setting enhance the experience.

Floating Beaver Creek can take from seven days to three weeks to complete. For shorter trips, arrangements can be made with an air taxi for a gravel bar pick-up near Victoria Creek. Others continue for several more weeks onto the Yukon River and take out at the bridge on the Dalton Highway. This 360-mile trip has been called the longest road-to-road float in North America.


The river flows through the heart of the White Mountains, whose massive, white limestone formations up to several thousand feet thick offer stunning scenery and peaceful solitude. The change in elevation and topography of this river and the surrounding environment result in a highly diverse scenic and visual attraction. The back-and-forth transition from broad valleys with rolling hills and mountains to narrow valleys with steep rugged mountains; the transition between heavily forested and vegetated areas to areas where talus slopes and rocky outcroppings predominate; and the notable white limestone offer an ever changing visual quality. Wind, rain, and freezing temperatures have weathered away the surrounding rock to expose the jagged cliffs and peaks. In contrast, the valley bottoms usually consist of permafrost (permanently frozen soil) about a foot beneath the surface. This results in forests of short, stunted black spruce, deep sedge tussocks, and thick stands of willows. Creekside gravel soils support tall white spruce trees and dense brush. The small numbers of cabins found along the river blend with the landscape and are mostly hidden from view adding some variety and points of interest to the area. The variety of vegetation types and the seasonal colors are an exemplary example for interior Alaska.


The jagged peaks of the White Mountains' high ridges are home to an atypical Dall sheep population and endangered peregrine falcons. Wildlife in the valley include moose, black and grizzly bears, wolves, and caribou. Common furbearers include lynxes, beavers, martens, wolverines, muskrats, and foxes. Eagles, peregrine falcons, and owls hunt the river corridor. Migratory waterfowl, such as merganser, shovelhead, goldeneye, and harlequin ducks, spend the summers along Beaver Creek. The Steese and White Mountains are important calving, summering and wintering areas for caribou, although numbers have declined; the Steese-Fortymile herd may have numbered as many as a million animals during the early 1900's.


Wild — 127 miles; Total — 127 miles.
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