BROOKS: Junjik to Chandalar

I’m thinking of heading out and floating the Junjik River from Timber Lake to the Chandalar River back to Arctic Village. Anyone got any beta on the Junjik? What its like in August? I’ve seen a couple guide service advertisements online. Anybody got an idea what sort of time that would take? I’m a returning teacher in Arctic Village so this in my backyard.

I haven’t been by the Junjik, but I have been nearby. You will probably have plenty of water for a packraft. I can only provide my thinking about what I would plan given the map and some time walking in the area.

About 2/3 of the straight line distance (measured along the rivers) to Arctic Village you’ll have dropped 600 of the 650 foot elevation drop on your trip. Thereafter, the rivers wander quite a bit. It would be a good time to start walking to the Chandalar opposite Arctic V. There’s a valley around the 2/3 point leading to Deadman Creek; you could walk that valley or over the mountain between the valleys. The soft walking on the flats would likely be slow, the many extra miles of serpentine paddling most likely slower.

The season is getting late up north. By the time you start, the snow line may be marching down the hills.

The time en route depends on conditioning, route finding skills, the hours pushing per day and the mushiness of the footing. In good shape from recently doing trips of the same kind, it might take 4 long hard days, so 4 days (or finishing on the fourth day) would be my goal. 3 days seems unlikely but possible, particularly if the packrafting goes rapidly. 5 days the most likely outcome. Planning 6 days offers some security.


I did this route in August 2010 from the Haul Rd. You can get from Timber Lake to Arctic Village in 3 days/2 nights without a problem should have plenty of water and flow. The Chandalar is slow but is a pleasant float.

Thanks for the beta. I ended up not making it all the way to the Junjik, but deciding to climb several of the peaks around that area then float back on the Chandalar from a few miles up river of Arctic. This was partially due to only bringing one packraft out, and being my first time squeezing two tall people into one boat. It was ok for ferrying and a few short hours drifting downriver, but the trip I had planned in my head would have been heinous with just one boat. The tussocks right across river are rough, but once you hit the ridges the walking is endless and fast. Everything is quickly freezing up now and we had our first snow on the 28th so I’ll have to save this one until next Summer.