Yukon - Charley Rivers National Preserve

Quick Facts

Yukon - Charley Rivers National Preserve


(907) 547-2233

Map Directions

Things To Do


Located along the Canadian border in central Alaska, the Yukon-Charley Rivers National preserve protects 115-miles of the 1,800-mile Yukon River and the entire Charley River basin. Numerous rustic cabins and historic sites are reminders of the importance of the Yukon River during the 1898 gold rush. Paleontological and archeological sites here have added much knowledge of the environment that existed thousands of years ago. Peregrine falcons nest in the high bluffs overlooking the river, while the rolling hills that make up the preserve are home to an abundant array of wildlife. Whether you choose to leisurely float the water of the mighty Yukon River in a state of the art vessel or homemade raft, or experience the premier whitewater of the Charley River in a sturdy and suitable inflatable, you will make memories to last a lifetime. With ample wildlife viewing, outdoor recreation opportunities, camping and fishing, this Preserve is definitely worth the trip.

Map of Yukon - Charley Rivers

Latitude, Longitude: 65.435435, -142.860718



  • Boating

    Arriving in historic Eagle, AK, visitors can enjoy a leisurely float down the majestic Yukon River or visitors arriving in Circle are able to motor upstream into the preserve.

  • Camping

    Public use cabins are not reserved but are utilized on a first come, first served basis and no fees are required.

    Backcountry camping is permitted on any federally owned land within the preserve. Gravel/sand bars are recommended as campsites because are breezy, discouraging insects and also provide a good view making it less likely to surprise or be surprised by wildlife. Always practice minimum impact and Leave No Trace priciples and leave camping sites free of refuse. Pack everything out and leave NO garbage.

  • Fishing

    The Yukon River is a brown, silt-laden river in the summer. Therefore, anglers will find the best fishing areas are at the mouths of or up the clear-flowing tributaries of the Yukon. The main tributaries in the preserve are the Tatonduk, Nation, Kandik, and Charley Rivers. Some species commonly caught in the preserve are arctic grayling, northern pike, sheefish, burbot, and whitefish. Other species found in this area, but rarely caught are arctic lamprey, least cisco, arctic cisco, Dolly Varden, lake chub, longnose suckers, and slimy sculpin.

    Sport and subsistence fishing are permitted in Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve. You must follow state and federal fishing regulations.

  • Hiking

    There are no maintained trails in the preserve for hiking enthusiasts. Game trails and some old mining trails do provide limited hiking opportunities. Most people find summer hiking best above timberline (3000'-3500') since there are fewer insects, less brush and improved vistas allowing for less chance of surprising or being surprised by wildlife. Historic mail trail areas do provide the oppportunity to hike, but fires during the 1999 and 2002 fire seasons have severely limited their use as easy and enjoyable hiking areas.

    As is prudent with any outdoor experience, always leave a trip plan with a friend or family member to help insure your safety. The Eagle Visitor Center staff will be happy to file a backcountry hiking plan for you to help add to the level of security for your trip, but always remember that in the backcountry you must be self sufficient. Carry plenty of water. Satellite phones and GPS units are often quite helpful in the backcountry.

  • Hunting

    Sport hunting and trapping are permitted in Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve. Most hunters access the Yukon-Charley by driving to Eagle or Circle and boating into the preserve on the Yukon River. The majority of hunting camps are along the Yukon River where access is easier and visibility along the river is less restrictive. A few hunters fly and land in the preserve, and some float the Charley River by raft. Jet boats have been the preferred mode of transportation by many hunters accessing the Kandik, Nation, Tatonduk, and lower Charley Rivers. Water levels on all of these rivers are extremely variable from year to year, but they are usually quite low by September. Water levels on the smaller rivers can drop quickly as the temperatures in the higher elevations of the drainage approach freezing. Traveling by jet boat on these narrow and winding rivers can be extremely challenging even for the seasoned veteran.

    Hunting in the preserve is governed by Alaska state laws. All hunters over the age of 16 must have an Alaska state hunting license. Call the park for more information on regulations.

  • Water Sports

    Float the Yukon and Charley Rivers! The Charley River originates in the Yukon-Tanana uplands and flows northward about 108 miles to the Yukon River. The river flows through three distinct topographic regions - open upland valley, entrenched river, and open floodplain - offering varied, sometimes spectacular scenery as well as unspoiled wilderness. The upland valleys drain a rugged mountain area where peaks over 6,000 feet are common. The river passes beneath high bluffs and cliffs where the majority of the rapids occur. When the river leaves the high bluff area, it enters the flat plain of the Yukon Valley where it slowly meanders to the Yukon River.

    The Yukon River originates in the coastal mountains of Canada and flows 1,979 miles in a wide arc to the Bering Sea. The river flows northwest through Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve for 128 miles. The river is silt laden in summer due to glacial runoff, and it is completely clear in winter when glaciers are frozen. As the river enters the preserve near Eagle, it flows across a narrow floodplain flanked by high bluffs and heavily forested hills. The bluffs become less prominent as the river leaves the preserve near Circle.

  • Winter Sports

    Many winter sports can be enjoyed in this area; please contact the park for weather conditions and activities available.


The Preserve is open year round.



Although there is no direct highway connection to Yukon-Charley Rivers, two highways serve towns near the preserve boundaries. Driving to Eagle, Alaska along the 161 mile Taylor Highway begins at Tetlin Junction on the Alaska Highway and ends on the banks of the Yukon river, 12 miles upstream from the preserve. It is usually open from mid-April to mid-October and is suitable for cars, trucks and small RV's. The Steese Highway begins in Fairbanks and travels 162 miles to Circle, 14 miles downstream of the preserve boundary. It is open year round, depending upon snow and drifting conditions in winter months. Check locally about road conditions before beginning your journey and always remember to bring sufficient emergency supplies with you. It is recommended that you carry water, food, warm clothing and two spare tires, just in case. Road condition reports are available and updated regularly.


Visitors can charter an air taxi from Fairbanks or Tok, AK and challenge their abilities on the rapids of the wild Charley River.

Phone Numbers


(907) 547-2233