Brochure and Map
Brochure and Map of Beaver Creek Wild and Scenic River (WSR) in Alaska. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
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Beaver Creek is your pathway to adventure. Flowing through the heart of the White Mountains National Recreation Area, Beaver Creek passes through boreal forests, past jagged limestone cliffs with falcons circling high above, and across the Yukon Flats to the Yukon River. Beaver Creek is a class I (smooth water) river ﬂoat with a few short sections of class II water. Numerous gravel bars along the way provide excellent places to camp, ﬁsh, and observe a variety of wildlife, such as moose, caribou, wolf, bears, eagles, falcons, and migratory waterfowl. The ﬁrst 127 miles of Beaver Creek are designated a wild and scenic river. Most of this segment lies within the White Mountains National Recreation Area. Beaver Creek begins at the conﬂuence of Bear and Champion creeks. The last 16 miles are in the Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge. After meandering slowly for another 154 miles through the “Flats,” Beaver Creek joins the Yukon River. From there, the take-out at the Dalton Highway bridge is 84 miles downriver. This road-to-road trip, from the put-in on Nome Creek Road to the take-out on the Dalton Highway, is more than 360 river miles. Bureau of Land Management Fairbanks District Oﬃce 222 University Avenue Fairbanks, Alaska 99709-3816 Local: 907-474-2200 Toll Free: 1-800-437-7021 www.blm.gov/alaska Gravel bars make great campsites. Photo by Daniel Krza. National Landscape Conservation System Beaver Creek Wild and Scenic River is part of the BLM’s National Landscape Conservation System, which conserves, protects, and restores nationally signiﬁcant landscapes and places that have outstanding cultural, ecological, and scientiﬁc values for the beneﬁt of current and future generations. National Conservation Lands include 900 areas (27 million acres) of National Monuments, National Conservation Areas, Wilderness Areas and other federally designated special places. Beaver Creek rafters float along a jagged limestone ridge in the White Mountains. Visit us on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/BLMAlaska Photo by Daniel Krza. Follow us on Twitter at: www.twitter.com/BLMAlaska Beaver Creek Wild and Scenic River BLM/AK/GI-00/026+8354+020 Rev 2018 Planning Your Trip Natural History Beaver Creek Wild and Scenic River Beaver Creek ﬂows through a remote area of Interior Alaska. Once you put in at Nome Creek, you will encounter no roads or services until you reach the Dalton Highway crossing over the Yukon River. There is no cell phone coverage in the area. The White Mountains are made up of massive white limestone formations up to several thousand feet thick. Wind, rain, and freezing temperatures have weathered away the surrounding soil to expose the jagged cliffs and peaks seen along Beaver Creek. These high ridges are home to Dall sheep and peregrine falcons. In contrast, the valley bottoms usually consist of permafrost (permanently frozen soil) about a foot beneath the surface. Growing on the permafrost are forests of short, stunted black spruce, deep sedge tussocks, and thick stands of willows. Moose, caribou, grizzly bears and black bears live throughout the area. Along the creeks, the gravel soils support tall white spruce trees and dense brush that line the banks. Eagles, peregrine falcons, and owls hunt the river corridor. Migratory waterfowl, such as mergansers, buﬄeheads, goldeneyes, and harlequins spend the summers along Beaver Creek. Known for its large dorsal ﬁn, the arctic grayling is the predominant ﬁsh species in the White Mountains area. Other types of ﬁsh include northern pike, sheeﬁsh, burbot, and salmon. Beaver Creek winds through limestone peaks of the White Mountains. Cultural History Early Athabascan people used the White Mountains seasonally for hunting caribou and ﬁshing. In the late 1890s, gold miners began mining the tributaries and headwaters of Beaver Creek and formed the Beaver Creek Mining District. Mining continued in this area until the 1990s. Miners and trappers built small cabins throughout the area to support their operations and many still exist along Beaver Creek. While most of these structures are in decay, please respect these sites and do not disturb them. Several private cabins and landing strips are located along Beaver Creek. Please do not disturb these sites or land aircraft at them, as they are not public lands. Map & Guide Be alert for bears among the willows and on the gravel bars. Cover photo: A kayaker enjoys an evening on Beaver Creek. Those continuing onto the Yukon River should be respectful of large areas of private lands owned by Alaska Native villages and regional corporations. Tribal members, landowners, and Alaska Native corporation shareholders are the only people eligible to enter these lands, including for hunting or ﬁshing. It usually takes six days to reach Beaver Creek’s conﬂuence with Victoria Creek at river mile 111. Many people end their ﬂoat trips near here by arranging to be picked up by an air taxi service and ﬂown back to Fairbanks. If you intend to continue on to the Yukon River bridge, plan for up to two additional weeks of travel. Commercial services are limited on the Dalton Highway, so arrange transportation back to Fairbanks in advance. Motors on boats launched on Nome Creek are limited to 15 horsepower or less. The type of boat you use depends on where you plan to take out. A raft, inﬂatable kayak, or folding boat can be loaded into an airplane if your pickup point is a gravel bar. A canoe is better for traveling on the Yukon River. Camping is best on the many gravel bars along Beaver Creek. The BLM encourages Leave No Trace camping techniques. Use dead and down wood for campﬁres. Pack out any non-burnable trash. Remove any trace of your camp, such as ﬁre rings, and scatter any ﬁrewood piles. Several public use cabins are accessible from the river and available for rental. If you plan to use any of the cabins, please make a reservation before you leave Fairbanks. Reservations must be made via the Recreation.gov website (search for “White Mountains National Recreation Area - Alaska Cabins”). Call the BLM oﬃce in Fairbanks for additional information. The trail shelter on Summit Trail is free of charge and available on a ﬁrst-come, ﬁrst-served basis. Be Prepared Have the proper equipment and expect a wide variety of situations and weather conditions. Beaver Creek is beyond cell phone range, so be prepared to handle emergencies on your own. Make sure to bring a topographic map. File a trip plan with a friend Leave your trip plan with someone, noting: • Date, location, and method of travel • Where you plan to camp • What type of equipment you are taking • How and when you expect to return to town Unpredictable conditions The weather can change without warning. Sunny days can change to rain or even snow. River conditions can change rapidly as well. Rain in Beaver Creek’s headwaters often causes the river to rise suddenly downstream. Choose campsites carefully and always tie off your boats at night so they don’t ﬂoat away with rising water levels. River temperatures are very cold. Be able to recognize the symptoms of hypothermia and know how to treat it. Carry dry clothes in water-tight containers. Make your pickup arrangements with an air taxi service before leaving Fairbanks. One of the several gravel bars near Victoria Creek (between river miles 100 and 111) may be preferable for aircraft landing and takeoff depending on the river’s water level and shifting channels. Inclement weather, changing water levels, or a delayed pickup may prolong your trip. Bring extra supplies in case you spend unexpected time on the river. Watch out for wildlife Grizzly and black bears live in the area. Keep a clean camp and store food away from your tent to avoid unwanted guests. Be Careful with the Water You Drink Be prepared to line your boat for short distances through shallow sections of the river, particularly on the upper section of Beaver Creek. Northern pike attract anglers to pools and sloughs of lower Beaver Creek. • Drinking water should be boiled, ﬁltered, or treated chemically for giardia. • Dig any latrines or “cat holes” at least 100 feet back from the mean high-water mark (this is where the main vegetation line on the bank begins). Moose Creek Mile 114 Turn left onto Nome Creek Road and continue 12 miles to its end, just past Ophir Creek Campground. You’ll ﬁnd a parking lot and a staging area to begin your trip. Be prepared to pack your equipment and boats 200 feet along a footpath to Nome Creek. Location of area shown on map Nome Creek Mile 6 Alaska ee Anchorage Moose Rock Mile 83 Legend Beaver Creek Wild and Scenic River Corridor BLM White Mountains National Recreation Area on Lost Horiz Wolf Run Cabin Mile 53 W Public Use Cabin Shelter Cabin k Cr ee k av er Cr ee Rivers Borealis-LeFevre Cabin Mile 32 Be Big Bend Mile 36 Nome Creek ree k Cr ee Wickers ha m torized) no nmo Mt. Prindle Campground e oad R k Cripple Creek Campground MP 60 U.S. Creek Road to Circle U.S. Creek Wayside MP 57 Mo tT rail ( Summit Trail Shelter Ste Wickersham Dome 3,207 ft Wickersham Dome Trailhead MP 28 to Fairbanks Victoria Creek Mile 111 Yukon River Mile 281 The mouth of Victoria Creek is at river mile 111, across from a privately owned cabin. Please do not disturb the private property. Several gravel bars near Victoria Creek may be suitable for air taxi pickup. Discuss pickup points with your air carrier prior to departure. At river mile 281, Beaver Creek joins the Yukon River. The Yukon is a very large, fast-ﬂowing river comprised of many channels. It can be challenging to navigate. Fast currents, high winds, and ﬂoating debris, such as logs or entire trees, can easily damage or capsize a boat. The mouth of Moose Creek is the northeast boundary of the White Mountains National Recreation Area. From here Beaver Creek enters the Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge. For the next 14 miles the river braids with fast water, sharp turns, cutbanks, and sweepers. Yukon Flats Mile 127 The Beaver Creek Wild and Scenic River corridor ends at river mile 127. For the next 140 miles, Beaver Creek slowly meanders through the Yukon Flats. A small boat motor helps when negotiating this section of slow water. The current picks up noticeably at river mile 268 near Beaver Creek Slough. You will recognize a distinct change in water color from dark green to silty gray. hway g i H Chatanik 0 to Fairbanks Moose Creek Mile 114 e se Su m m Davidson Ditch Historical Site MP 57 The last section of the trip, from the mouth of Beaver Creek to the Yukon River Bridge on the Dalton Highway, is 84 miles. You can make this stretch in a long day with a small boat motor, if wind and water conditions are favorable. Otherwise, plan for several days of ﬂoating. Yukon Crossing, where the bridge crosses the river, is 134 highway miles northwest of Fairbanks at MP 56 of the Dalton Highway. Lodging, food, telephone, and gas are available on the northwest side of the bridge. Yukon Crossing is the lower of only two places in the state where the Yukon River may be reached by road. To reach Yukon Crossing from Fairbanks, follow the Steese Highway to Fox. Take the Elliott Highway to MP 73, then follow the Dalton Highway 56 miles to the bridge. 5 5 0 r ive R a Kilometers Miles 10 Download BLM’s georeferenced PDF map of the White Mountains and Beaver Creek for your smart phone or tablet. Instructions and maps are available at www.blm.gov/maps Borealis-LeFevre Cabin at river mile 32 provides convenient overnight lodging for floaters. Advance reservations are required. USGS Quad Map Legend This brochure should be used for general trip planning only. The map index below shows the USGS inch-to-the-mile maps (1:63,360) recommended for detailed trip planning. B-6 B-5 B-3 B-4 B-2 A-6 A-5 A-4 Stevens Village D-6 D-5 Yu D-4 B-1 Beaver Beaver B-6 B-5 Fort Yukon A-3 A-2 A-1 A-6 Creek A-5 r e v Bea D-3 D-2 D-1 D-6 D-5 C-2 C-1 C-6 er Riv n ko Dalton Highway Bridge MP 56 lto n C-6 B-6 C-5 B-5 H C-4 way igh Near river mile 100, Beaver Creek has established a new channel. The older, now dry channel often serves as a favorable location for air taxi pickup. i C ir h Op k Da For the next 25 miles, several creeks and tributaries drain into Beaver Creek, adding water and increasing the current. Large gravel bars provide great campsites with lots of ﬁrewood. While ﬂoating, you will have good views of Victoria Mountain to the north and high peaks to the south. k t iot Ell By river mile 83, the river ﬂows into the mountains and you can frequently see Dall sheep climbing on the cutbanks and high bluffs, or eagles soaring nearby. You will ﬂoat across several deep pools at the base of the bluffs. Small creeks cascade into the river over waterfalls. Nome Cr Put-in for Beaver Creek to the Dalton Highway nC o i mp Cha Nome Creek Mile 6 e Cre l i a Tr ek Ophir Creek Campground k Moose Rock Mile 83 O’Brien Creek Mile 12 ee Cr Beaver Creek continues slowly northward, moving away from the White Mountains and passing by forests of birch and aspen. Here the river braids into smaller channels, then rejoins and meanders across a broad, open area with distant views of the mountains. Look for eagles soaring high above the river or moose feeding in the willows along the banks. k k ee r lC Fossi Beaver Creek Wild and Scenic River Mile 0 e Roads Caribou Bluff Cabin Ro yC ree k Trails Cr ee Toilet Mt. Prindle 5,043 ft r Bea k o ad r lo Co Fossil Creek Mile 46 O’Br ien Trailhead Cache Mountain 4,772 ft ose Colorado Creek Trail crosses Beaver Creek at river mile 53. This winter trail is not obvious from the river but can be located by consulting a topographic map and carefully observing the landscape. In an emergency you can follow the trail eastward through the tussocks and across Windy Creek for 1.5 miles to the Wolf Run public use cabin. y Creek Colorado Creek Trail Mile 53 Scenic View iott High w ay Ell Colorado Creek Trail Crossing Mile 53 ind Lime Peak 5,062 ft re Parking k k Information Warren Creek Cr ee Campground Cr ee k White Mountains National Recreation Area ee k Cr Canoeing Fossil Creek Mile 46 Between river miles 45 and 80, you will see evidence of the wildland ﬁre that passed through in 2005. Near river mile 46, Fossil Creek ﬂows into Beaver Creek across from a privately owned cabin. With your topographic map and a little route-ﬁnding, you can hike 4 miles along the creek and the winter trail through Fossil Gap to Caribou Bluff Cabin. This public recreation cabin offers spectacular 360-degree panoramic views of the Fossil Creek drainage and Limestone Gulch. ose Creek Fairbanks At Big Bend, Beaver Creek turns north and grows wider and deeper as it passes along the base of the White Mountains. Several privately owned cabins and landing strips are located along Beaver Creek. Please do not land aircraft at these sites or disturb them in any way. Mo The river braids into several channels for the next several miles before coming back together near Big Bend at river mile 36. The rock formation at Big Bend is the southern end of a limestone ridge that forms the spine of the White Mountains. You can often see Dall sheep and peregrine falcons among the rocks. Cr Yellow Big Bend Mile 36 Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge ek At river mile 32, the Borealis-LeFevre Cabin sits on a small bluff on the north side of the river. This public recreation cabin (reservations required) is part of a system of trails and cabins in the White Mountains National Recreation Area. The 20-mile Summit Trail starts on the south bank of the river and ends at MP 28 of the Elliott Highway. The non-motorized trail can be used for a day hike or as a take-out point for a ﬂoat-in, pack-out trip. Creek a i r o t c Vi p Borealis-LeFevre Cabin Mile 32 Victoria Mountain 4,588 ft Will ow Creek After passing several smaller creeks, O’Brien Creek at river mile 12 is the next major drainage to join Beaver Creek. Trail Creek adds more water at river mile 15. The next 17 miles ﬂow through a mix of boreal forest and hillsides burned in a 2004 wildﬁre. Victoria Creek Mile 111 ee Sh O’Brien Creek Mile 12 Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge Mascot Cre From the river put-in, it is a short, 2.5-mile ﬂoat on Nome Creek to reach Beaver Creek at river mile 6. For the ﬁrst 20 miles, Beaver Creek is a shallow stream with frequent sand and gravel bars that you will occasionally have to line your boat across. Yukon Flats Mile 127 Mt. Schwatka 4,177 ft Cr ee To reach Beaver Creek, follow the Steese Highway north from Fairbanks to MP 57. Take U.S. Creek Road for 7 miles into the White Mountains National Recreation Area and the Nome Creek valley. Beaver Creek Wild & Scenic River Brigham Trip Description B-4 C-3 Livengood Highway B-3 B-2 White Mountains NRA B-6 B-1 C-5 Circle B-5