Canoeing -- The delta's canoe routes are little used, leading to remote places where birds and aquatic animals rule. You can launch on Alaganik Slough at a picnic area at mile 22 on the Copper River Highway, paddling placid waters into stunningly beautiful marsh lands, perhaps headed for the Tiedeman Forest Service Cabin for a few days. Taking the "Wrong Way" route that starts a couple of miles up the road, you can float several miles of challenging water down to McKinley Lake, stay at the Forest Service cabin, then float downstream again to the slough launch, back at the road. It's ideal overnight, or you could do it in a day or, as we did, spend an extra day and night at the cabin. The couple that runs Cordova Coastal Outfitters rents canoes for $50 a day (additional days discounted 15%), offers drop-off, and will help you decide what route to take. You can ride out on one of their bicycles and pick up the canoe already at the launch site. They rent camping gear, too. Make sure to get their advice on current conditions before setting out on the water.

Fishing -- Anglers can fish the delta's lakes and streams for all species of Pacific salmon except kings (which you can fish in saltwater), as well as Dolly Varden char and rainbow and cutthroat trout. The Cordova Ranger Station can offer guidance, or contact the Cordova office of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (tel. 907/424-3212;

Hiking -- The Forest Service maintains several trails on the delta. The Alaganik Slough Boardwalk and Saddlebag Glacier Trail are two of the most popular. The Copper River beaches make for sublime off-trail hikes.


The Haystack Trail, starting on the right just past the 19-mile marker on the highway, climbs through mossy rainforest from the delta's floor onto an odd little hill. The glaciers that once covered the delta spared this bedrock outcropping. The trail is steep in places but only three-quarters of a mile in length, and it leads to an overlook.

The McKinley Lake Trail, at mile 21.6 on the highway, leads 2.5 miles through rainforest vegetation to a lake bearing trout, and a little farther to the overgrown ruins of a gold mine. You can also get there by canoe . There are two Forest Service cabins on the trail, the small McKinley Trail Cabin, near the highway, and the McKinley Lake Cabin, beautifully situated among big trees above the lake. Each costs $35 a night and can be reserved through the national system.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.