The south side of the Alaska Range, the Talkeetnas, the Chugach mountains, the Kenai Peninsula and the Wrangells
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Planning on doing the Girdwood to twenty mile trip next month. Read about others trips in years past, any advice for a first timer? We are going to make it an overnighter since this is our first time.
Don't get fooled when heading down from the pass back into the forest - the new trail will lead you further south than you want to be. The old trail is rough and there is some class 3 bush whacking, but it's likely to be easier than where you would end up otherwise. Stay in the forest and away from the alders as much as possible. Also, many beginners have flipped rafts in wood that piles up in the first mile or two of the float.
I just completed this trip yesterday. The weather was outstanding and the travel was great. I started at Alyeska Resort and took the Winner Creek trail. Earlier in the season, my attempt had been thwarted due to high snow levels. At this point late in July, there was very little snow travel and the main trail is very easy to find. I made it over the pass in about 3 hours. I am unfamiliar with the "old" trail so I followed the new trail to the end (14 miles). It dead ends at a bridge. I decided to turn left just before the bridge and follow the gravel bank of the tributary. There is a snowmachine(?) gravel trail that leads to Twenty Mile (or one of its main tributaries). By hour 5, my boat was inflated and in the water. It took me 4 hours to float all the way to the highway. There were no major downed trees, sweepers, etc to hinder my travels. The river is not very fast and braids occasionally. Sometimes the main channel is a bit tricky to find. All in all, the river is very easy. I encountered 3 jet boats closer to the end. I hitched a ride back to Girdwood from a very nice lady (thank you Kelly) and we talked about Alaska over some beers before dropping me off at my car. This is a relatively easy and fun day trip.