Granite Creek, dropping south out of the Talkeetnas, is a beautiful clearwater creek that nicely combines the packing and rafting in roughly equal parts. This is a continuous Class III/IV run that shouldn’t be attempted if your skills top out at Class III.
Access is via the maze of ATV trails off the upper end of the Jonesville Road, which leaves the Glenn Highway in Sutton just west of the general store. If you know the way to Eska Falls you’re in good shape for getting started. If not, you may have some hit/miss experimentation to find the corrrect ATV trail. Embick’s Fast and Cold has a fair description of what you are aiming for. Follow the ATV track across the lovely meadow described by Embick until the track ends at a massive gully. Head downhill towards Granite Creek, aiming for a large light-colored landslide. There is an improved game trail along the south side of this gully that eventually drops into the gully, which you follow to the river.
The run starts off with a bang, with the fastest and biggest drops in the first 1/4 mile. The run continues with non-stop Class III/IV drops over and around granite boulders for 5 miles. There is wood in the river in 3 places, and these places come up fast. The first wood occurs where a landslide on river right has brought trees into the creek. The second spot of wood occurs where the river has taken a new channel through the woods. The third and last wood is on the lower river after emerging from the mountains.
The run ends at the Glenn Highway or the Matanuska River, where a car or mtn bike completes the shuttle. While Granite Creek is ungaged, nearby Moose Creek has a gauge, and it seems that anything over 12’ on the Moose Creek gauge is enough water to run Granite Creek. A longer run on Granite Creek is possible by hiking past Eska Falls, up through the Throne Room, and over the pass into the west fork of Granite Creek. You may have to hike down the West Fork to the main stem to find enough water to float. All reports indicate that this segment of Granite Creek is harder, with several larger Class IV drops. Alternately, you could access upper Granite Creek starting from the King’s River road and hiking up through Sheep Valley.