The Other Peters Creek

There are several Peters Creeks in Southcentral Alaska, but the Peters Creek that runs through the Peters Hills past Petersville makes for a fun packrafting/biking combination.

Access the area by turning off the Parks Highway in Trapper Creek onto the Petersville Road. Continue west out the Petersville Road, turning right at the Forks Roadhouse (or turn left at the intersection to leave a bike at the take-out bridge over Peters Creek 200 yards beyond the intersection). Continue approximately 10 miles on a worsening road into and through the Peters Hills to a put-in at the bridge over Peters Creek.

The creek downstream of the bridge is mostly Class III but there are several abrupt drops that should at least be scouted and perhaps portaged. The creek runs through a very narrow 200’ deep gorge for approximately 4 miles before easing and opening at the old mining community of Petersville. From this point downstream to the bridge near the Forks Roadhouse the creek continues as Class II water with occasional cottonwood logjams.

The canyon can be run separately in several hours or combined with the lower section for a full day’s outing. A bike left at either the lower end of the canyon section or near the Forks Roadhouse completes the shuttle.

Brad Meiklejohn

Is it possible to see ahead to the BIG drops to get an idea when to bank-scout? And, if need be, is it realistic to portage any/all of these drops? Or are they too numerous?

We paddled Peters earlier this summer (I believe in June when the water was really high). I remember that you can see a few of the largest drops from the road. At really high water, there are 3 distinct drops. It’s really short… The 1st drop (IV-) seemed like a 4 ft. nearly riverwide ledge with a small twisted hole. The next one was a boulder gardenish class III+ drop. The last drop (solid IV) was an incredible series of 3 different ledges. first one punching a big curling wave/hole just right of center, 2nd ledge punching a twisted ledge hole, and the 3rd drop was an incredibly large, powerful hole at the base of a steep (maybe 6 ft. tall) sluice of water into a boiling caldron… paddle hard!!! ps… you can’t really stop between them.

Really cool and fun at high water. The last drop was awesome and juicy, the others were a bit manky/bony even at higher water. That’s what I remember, I’m sure it’s a totally different monster at low water, probably pretty easy with a few steep little drops. Even at really high water I remember the rocks being sharp, so watch your tubes carefully… not to mention there is a lot of old mining debris in the riverbed…

Timmy J.

Six of us just ran the lower section of this Peters Creek on Sunday, Sept. 13. The gauge on Willow Creek was about 250 cfs and that may be a good indicator for future reference. I guess that will depend on where the rain is or has recently been. It was low water and scrapy, lots of trees all the way across the river. Some we had to portage; at this low water some we were able to limbo under.

We put in at the “town” of Petersville with the owner’s (Michelle) permission to cross her land. Took out at the bridge 200 yards from Forks Roadhouse, 13.5 miles according to the GPS later. Class II with scattered boulder and small ledges making playful waves and mini-holes.

This is a great trip if you want something similar to Red Gate on Willow or Lyon/Granite Creek down at Turnagain Pass but longer than the 2 of them put together.

Food is good and the warmth was appreciated at the Roadhouse. We underestimated the drive time from Anchorage so we did not get on the river until 2 PM and got off about 8:30 PM.

Checkout the photos and details at

Next spring if you are looking for lots of “beginner to intermediate” level pack raft trips be sure to watch the Anchorage Adventurers calendar

I have done this canyon a couple of times now at low medium, and medium water levels. At both levels there is good eddy service, and the ledge drops are clean enough to run at lower water levels. If you can, fairly easily, scrape down the first ripple at the put-in, it is a go. At a medium level, the drops were stout and will give a boater the foamy face in the landings. The canyon is very narrow, twisting and pretty steep,and I would scout the drops, which can be portaged.
The canyon also has very sharp rock, as we found out, and I wished we had brought a repair kit. The nine inch gash in Jim’s pack raft did change the trip plans, and with the walk out looking daunting, and less than fun, we rode double on my IK and laughed like school children instead.
So… watch for sharp rocks, it is shallow, and check this out if you can catch eddies.If you swim at (lower levels), the swims will not be bad in the slower water, which is kinda pool dropish in character in places. This one is fun and worth the drive, and has a jog or simple bike shuttle which is about four miles long. The take out is on this side of Petersville down the road to left which runs right in front of a shack.