Alaska is over twice the size of Texas, but our road system seems about the size of Hawaii. To the casual observer it appears that the vast majority of the state is inaccessible. And that would be true if it were not for our rivers. We have over 365,000 miles of rivers interlaced all across the state, and in many ways, these rivers are our roads. Larger rivers such as the mighty Yukon or the Kuskokwim, are the equivalent of superhighways, providing access for barges filled with needed supplies destined for villages along the banks. Other rivers, such as the Susitna, the Tanana and the Porcupine serve as liquid (or frozen) highways used to visit friends and family, or for recreational purposes. Smaller rivers and streams are frequently used for subsistence activity, recreational hunting and fishing, or for access to hiking areas.
Many Alaska river systems have been featured in books, DVDs and of course, maps. This page contains a comprehensive list of such rivers, together with the resources which discuss them. Many of these references contain only superficial content relating to a given river, such as what kind of fish it contains, or a very general description of the river. If you are collecting all resources available for a particular river, use the KEY below in reference to your river. If you need detailed information, refer only to the river guidebooks listed below. They contain detailed river mileage, gradient, access points, whitewater ratings and much more.
In the mid-1970's an effort was made by the federal government to study certain rivers in Alaska for inclusion in the National Wild and Scenic Rivers program. Teams were sent, often by helicopter, to rivers around the state, to study the recreational potential of these rivers. These teams kept detailed journals of their explorations, and they have been collected into a series of documents known as the Alaska River Logs. Though the information is somewhat dated, it still has great value to recreational users of these areas today. These reports are available here, and are listed by region.