Gravel Creek

I took a fat-bike ride up Gravel Creek today and it appears to be a perfect level for packrafting.

If you haven’t done this one yet here are the details:

Take the road directly across from Victory Bible Camp all the way to the Matanuska River. The mouth of Gravel Creek can be seen directly across the river. Float across the Matanuska. You will have to walk at least one gravel bar. Land on the far side of Gravel and you will find a logging highway. Follow the highway crossing the river twice. Put-in as high up as you can hike.

This is a great class III run with an easy hike.

Are there a lot of sweepers? I was thinking of going up there by myself on Saturday.

There was one river-wide that I saw. It was right at the beginning of the large sand cliffs.

The water level will probably be higher this weekend. I don’t know how good of a boater you are, but you might want a partner for it.

I agree with John, the warm weather will change the creek into a river that is filled brush to brush on both sides with very few eddies. Last year there was almost a death at high water, a girl swam for a long time, estimated 20-30 minutes. The creek seems to be the hardest on the corners, of course, so scout as much as possible going up.
Like John stated, classIII at normal levels, but it may a bit harder with exteme hot weather and is continuous too boot.

Thanks Guys! I have some partners to go paddle with this weekend. We might check it out. 20-30 minute swim sounds intense! I’ll let you know if I make it up that direction!

Floated the first 5-6 miles 5/18/14. That stretch was swift Class II with no portaging necessary. My estimate-comparison is that at low-medium levels Gravel Creek is comparable in difficulty to Glacier Creek in Gwood at 26.5’ level. Gravels seems to pick up in difficulty slowly and steadily as elevation increases. I look forward to going to back to the glacier and floating the entire thing.

Hiking is good on a literal “logging highway” - rough and obvious doubletrack that can get wet and muddy but isn’t nearly as bad as the ATV trails across the Mat in the Talkeetnas. The doubletrack trail seems to cross the creek a couple times. With low brush levels at this time of year, it was easy to avoid one ford and follow a game trail back to the doubletrack to avoid one of (what seems to be) two fords. In hindsight, paddling revealed that the creek is consistently shallow - but it’s dirtiness (similar to, but not as bad as, the Mat) and swiftness made the fords seem more intimidating than they probably really are.

Due to the transitions (from paddling to hiking) necessary, long hike, and continuously swift Class II-III water I think this trip would best be done as a more casual overnighter to get the full length of it.