If catching one of the state’s most prized varieties of salmon is on your list, look no further than Gakona.
ABOUT GAKONA (AHTNA ATHABASCAN: GGAX KUNA’)
Gakona and neighboring Gakona Junction sit at the confluence of the Copper and Gakona Rivers, 15 miles northeast of Glennallen and just east of the Richardson Highway on the Tok Cut-off Road. With a combined population that barely tops 200, the communities make up for their size with awesome recreational opportunities.
THINGS TO DO
Regarded as a paradise for anglers and rafters looking for big fish and whitewater adventure, Gakona is a great place to base your quest for the famed Copper River red (sockeye) salmon and king salmon. Popular fishing areas include the Copper, Gulkana, and Klutina Rivers. Local outfitters lead full-day and half-day fishing and sightseeing trips and can provide gear rentals and shuttle service if you’d rather guide yourself. The Gulkana River is a federally designated Wild and Scenic River and a popular float trip for visitors and locals alike, from its headwaters at Paxson Lake to the Sourdough Campground about 20 miles north of Gakona.
Outfitters can also arrange raft trips ranging from an afternoon to a week-long adventure on many rivers in the area including the Gakona, Copper, and Tonsina River, famous for its glacier-blue water, Class III whitewater, and high cliffs.
In winter, visitors can witness the great Alaska tradition of dog mushing when the Copper Basin 300 Dog Sled Race rolls through town. Often referred to as the toughest 300 miles in Alaska, the race follows a loop that begins in Glennallen, passes through Lake Louise, and heads north to Summit Lake before passing through Gakona on the return loop to Lake Louise.
Built in 1929, Gakona Lodge is on the National Register of Historical Places and still accommodates travelers today who get an authentic glimpse of Alaska's history including relics and equipment from the era. Gakona is also home to Doyle's Roadhouse, built in 1904.
Learn more about fishing in Alaska.
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