Windy Creek (Denali National Park)

This float was a mission to rescue a couple friends abandoned raft on the Windy Creek. They had planned to float the creek out in a little $60 walmart special with dinky little paddles and quickly found out after about 2 miles that not being able to steer is kind of a problem. :smiley: So my wife and I hiked in and found their raft and rolled it up amazed that they even attempted the creek with their setup. However, it was a ball in the packrafts. Had to stop to empty my boat out 3 times due to water filling it, but my wife and her spray skirt did just fine. We were able to find the raft on the river bank and roll it and the other gear up and strap it to the rafts and return it to our friends mission accomplished. :smiley: I know most folks just walk up the Windy enroute to the Sanctuary River as part of a packraft classic route, but this was a fun little float. Parked the truck at the first Parks Highway crossing of the Nenana River (5+ miles north of Cantwell), biked to the trail head west of Cantwell, hiked about 3 or so miles to where the trail meets up with Windy Creek, and floated down the Windy, to the Jack River, and got out where the Jack River dumps into the Nenana and hiked the couple hundred yards back to the truck. Not sure what class rating it is, maybe someone with more experience could tell as I really suck at it, of course I was too busy while in the worst of it to operate a camera but maybe Class II. Either way it was a ton of fun and a good beginners intro to some whitewater. :smiley:

Here are a few pics:

The put it.

This series was shot as I had to pull over after a while to dump the water out of my boat and I snapped a few shots of my wife with a smug smile on her face in the 2nd shot gloating with her spary skirt.

Raft rescued and strapped to the packraft.

A couple on board shots. Sorry the pic quality is low but it finally got dull enough to allow me to take a couple pics.

On the mellow portion towards the end.

This was a great day trip from Fairbanks. Thanks for posting. Very fun class II water that was relatively easy to negotiate for beginners in our group. We hiked the trail up to the Park Service Cabin on Windy Cr (5-miles or so) and then floated 9-miles down to the confluence with the Nenana River – the entire trip took about 5 very leisurely hours.

Windy is running pretty low but still doable right now. A couple spots were bony but all of it goes. The trail hiking in is dry at first but then typically boggy.

One heads up for anyone running this creek in the near future: About a half mile or so past the railroad bridge there is a river-wide ice dam. It comes quickly and the sides running up to it are all shelf ice. Take out after a ninety degree turn to the left, right when the shelf ice becomes much more noticeably thick. This ice dam looks like it might be around for a bit.