If you are in the Denali Park area and looking for a great packrafting daytrip, I recommend Riley Creek. JT Lindholm and I ran this on June 10th and had a blast.
Riley Creek can be accessed from several locations, but the easiest access is via the Triple Lakes Trail which starts on the northwest side of the Nenana River bridge in McKinley Village. There is a small turn-out and the trailhead is signed. After a short muddy section, the trail becomes fabulous, reach the first of 3 lakes in approximately 1.5 miles. The trail skirts the south shore of the three lakes, gradually petering out at the west end of the third lake. Continue westward up and over a ridge and descend steeply to Riley Creek. The creek was running clear blue when we put in, but within a mile a tributary from the west added glacial silt, turning the water gray. The boating is continuous Class II-III, with a few drops that bear paying good attention. We encountered no sweepers or other wood in the river, although watch for a rope hanging in the water below a cable crossing approximately 1/4 mile before you go under the railroad bridge. The biggest drops are in the vicinity of the railroad bridge. The total float is approximately 8-10 miles and about 2 to 3 hours of time on the water. The hike takes about 1.5 hours.
Riley Creek can also be accessed from Carlo Saddle by putting on the Nenana near Carlo Creek, floating downstream on the Nenana, then hiking over the saddle to Riley Creek. Word is that the hike is a bit of a thrasher bushwhack.
Water level can be problematic on Riley Creek, and I would suggest checking the flow level at the bridge over Riley Creek near the park entrance before launching this trip.
There is a shuttle van from the Wilderness Access Center back to McKinley Village.
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