Cantwell Creek to Windy Creek - A Beginner Link Up (almost)

Perhaps you’ll find yourself in my shoes - 3 cousins and 2 of their friends aged 13-17 coming to visit for a week or so - and are in need of a gentle yet fun river to float. We floated Cantwell Creek, starting at Broad Pass, linked it up with Windy Creek north of Cantwell, and found it to be nearly perfect.

Cantwell Creek is a mile of gentle bushwhacking for 12 miles or so of Class 1 or 2 river. No sweepers, a few small waves, and great scenery for minimal effort. We started somewhere near the “CAA Station” off a dirt road near Broad Pass that is easily found on a topo map. We took out at the Jack River bridge and walked through Cantwell up to Windy Creek, which was running super high with the recent rain/snow. I’ve done Windy before and thought it to be gentle class 2 boogie water, however with bankful+ water it was more like powerful class 2 and proved to be too much for the young guys … too much meaning a couple flipped boats and wild ride downstream trying to push the boats ashore! Jeff mentioned it in the Coffee River write-up, but trying to manuever swamped/flipped boats while paddling is nearly impossible.

We ended up walking a mile or two to get out of the canyon, then had a great time floating the much gentler section that starts upstream of the RR bridge. We took out at the Nenana bridge near Panorama Mtn. - all in all it is a great first-float or gentle river link up for anyone interested.