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A Jet Boat Ride up the Stikine River

Airship Goes to Alaska

On Thursday we took a jet boat ride out of Wrangell and up the Stikine River with Zack from Breakaway Adventures. Breakaway Adventures does trips to LaConte Glacier, Anan Bear Observatory, the Stikine River, and Telegraph Creek, B.C. in their super fast, super fun jet boats.

We inquired about the Anan Bear Observatory trip, but the season for that pretty much ended a few days ago and they told us there was really only one bear hanging out there right now, and even that one wasn’t always around. I think we’ll plan on doing that earlier in the season next summer.

Our captain, Zach, was born and raised in Wrangell and has been exploring the Stikine River since he was about ten years old. He knows it well!

The jet boat can run in as little as 6 inches of water, and the channels in the mud flats and the river are constantly moving and shifting. Zach has to constantly be watching and reading the surface of the water to figure out where the deepest part is (today) as the boat is zooming along at about 30 mph. It’s quite exciting!


It was gray and sometimes rainy, but it was a ton of fun. Here’s a bit of what the ride was like:

We wove our way along the channel through the mud flats and up the river. There are little privately owned float houses and a few forest service cabins along the way (mostly used by canoe and kayak campers):



We headed up river through some side sloughs and ended up in Shakes Lake and Shakes Glacier.

Here’s a map…Wrangell is just out of view in the lower left corner, and Shakes Lake and Glacier is at the top:









The wall of ice that you can see sticking out of the water is about 150 feet tall.

Black bear sow and cub climbing up high on the rocks on our way in (far right, black dots on the roundish rock…hardly worth posting this photo, really):


We stopped over on the beach and got out to walk around and take some photos:







It was a great trip, and Zach made it feel like we were just going out for a jet boat ride with a friend…he knows a lot about the area and the river, is very friendly and down to earth, and was a great guide and a fun captain!