Overview: For nature lovers with the skills for remote travel on their own, this eight-day itinerary takes you on a 60-mile float through 1.6-million acre Wood-Tikchik State Park, the largest and most remote state park in the nation. The float itself takes about four days.
Day 0 Planning
Write, call, or email the Alaska Department of Natural Resources Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation to secure a float and camping permit for the upper Wood-Tikchik Management Area. Permits cost $100. You’ll also need to arrange rental of rafts and other gear in Dillingham (or bring your own), and book air taxi drop-off and pick-ups. Tips on clothing and other gear essentials are available at the Wood-Tikchik State Park web page. It’s also best to purchase groceries and other provisions in Anchorage before flying to Dillingham; supplies are much cheaper and more plentiful in Anchorage.
Day 1 Dillingham
Arrive in Dillingham via commercial air service from Anchorage. Before you turn in to your hotel or campground for the night, pay a visit to the Dillingham Visitor Center and the St. Seraphim of Sarov Russian Orthodox Church.
Day 2 Nishlik Lake
Your air taxi will drop you and your gear at Nishlik Lake, with arrangements to pick you up at Tikchik Lake in about four days (or more, if you care to spend longer on the river). From Nishlik Lake you will float the Tikchik River to the next lake, Tikchik Lake, some 60 miles south. For now, just enjoy arrival day and get organized for the trip to come. Camping is permitted throughout the park, and park managers request guests “leave no trace” when camping, packing out garbage with them. When water levels are low, gravel beaches are a particularly nice place to set up camp and enjoy a fire.
Days 3–6 Tikchik River
As your float takes you toward Tikchik Lake on the Tikchik River, you’re sure to spot plenty of wildlife, including grizzly bears, black bears, moose, caribou, foxes, eagles, osprey, loons and much more. If you like fishing you’ll be in heaven, fishing all along the way for rainbow trout, grayling, Arctic char and other trout species or for one of the five species of Pacific salmon, depending on what is running while you’re on the river. A fishing permit is required for resident and non-resident fishers, so be sure to buy one in Anchorage or Dillingham before your trip gets underway.
Day 7 Tikchik Lake
Your air taxi will pick you up today at your specified time and location. Once back in Dillingham, check in to a local hotel or B&B and enjoy a hot shower and the comfort of a hot meal that wasn’t prepared over a camp stove.
Day 8 Anchorage
Fly back to Anchorage from Dillingham and check into one of the city’s higher-end hotels for some real pampering: a trip to the spa, a gourmet dinner out, or maybe just reliving your adventure over locally crafted beers at one of Anchorage’s many award-winning breweries. Congratulations! You’ve seen a part of Alaska well off the beaten track and wilder than many people will ever experience.