John River

Located in the central Brooks Range of Alaska, the John River flows from Anaktuvuk Pass for 145 miles to the Koyukuk River near Bettles. This wild, arctic river has an easy approach. While a trip can be done from village to village, it is alos possible to fly into Hunt Fork Lake or Sixty Mile Creek.

The John River is unique in that it flows between communities that can be reached via scheduled flights to an airstrip. This eliminates the need for a bush or float plane flights and significantly reduces the cost and logistics of the river.  A trip can be done in a long week or expanded to two weeks to include more time for side trips and continue down to Allakaket.


  • Anaktuvuk Pass can be reached via schedule air service. From the landing strip, hike about 5 miles to a floatable section of the river.  
  • Hunt Fork Lakes is reached via float plane from Bettles.
  • Sixty Mile Creek is reached via bush plane from Bettles.


  • Bettles is 4 miles upstream from the John-Koyukuk confluence. Walk a trail into Bettles where there is scheduled flight service.
  • Allakaket is a further 60 miles down the Koyukuk river which has scheduled flights.

On the River

Anaktuvuk Pass to Hunt Fork

35 miles, Class II-III

This is a section of sustained whitewater which may have some portages.

Hunt Fork to Sixty-mile Creek

47 miles, Class II

The river mellows to Class II and is a popular section.

Sixty-mile Creek to the Koyukuk River

53 miles - Class I

An easy section to float.

Koyukuk River to Allakaket

60 miles - Class I

Continue down the larger Koyukuk River to the village of Allakaket.


  • Difficulty: *Varies*
  • Length: 140.0 mi
  • 2,100 ft
Trip Reports

This is a list of titles that represent the variations of trips you can take at this route/place. This includes side trips, extensions and peak combinations. Not seeing a title that fits your trip? Log in and send us updates, images, or resources.

  • John River: Anaktuvuk Pass to Hunt Fork
  • John River: Hunt Fork to Sixty-mile Creek
  • John River: Sixty-mile Creek to the Koyukuk River
  • John River: Koyukuk River to Allakaket

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