The Chitina River (Ahtna Athabascan Tsedi Na’ [tʃɛ.diː.näʔ] < tsedi "copper" + na’ "river") is a 112-mile (180 km) tributary of the Copper River in the U.S. state of Alaska. It begins in the Saint Elias Mountains at the base of Chitana Glacier and flows generally northwest through the Wrangell–St. Elias National Park and Preserve to meet the larger river near Chitina. The watershed was once a major copper mining region.
Chitina River below the confluences of the Nizina and Chakina Rivers
|⁃ location||Saint Elias Mountains, Wrangell–St. Elias National Park and Preserve|
|⁃ elevation||3,507 ft (1,069 m)|
|1.2 miles (1.9 km) east of Chitina; 66 miles (106 km) northeast of Valdez, Chugach Mountains|
|466 ft (142 m)|
|Length||112 mi (180 km)|
The Chitina River is suitable for floating in rafts, kayaks, and decked canoes by boaters with sufficient wilderness and whitewater skills. From a put-in place near Hubert's Landing, slightly downstream of Chitina Glacier, the river is Class II (medium) on the International Scale of River Difficulty all the way to the mouth at Chitina.
Boaters starting from Hubert's Landing will have to make a difficult 2.5-mile (4.0 km) portage to reach the main river channel. It is also possible to put in at Jake's Bar, about halfway between the glacier and the river mouth. The shorter trip requires no portage.
Hazards include cold silty water, bad weather, and the remote location. Grizzlies pose a danger to boaters, especially near the mouths of clear tributaries, where the bears tend to congregate. A variety of salmon, attractive to bears, migrate to and from these tributaries.
The most important tributaries of the Chitina are from the north and emanate principally from the south slope of the Wrangell Mountains; in order downstream they are Nizina, Lakina, Gilahina, and Kuskulana rivers. From the south the main affluents are the Tana, Chakina, and Tebay rivers, which rise in the Chugach Mountains. Kiagna River is also a southern tributary of Chitina River.
The Tebay River, and an associated set of lakes and smaller streams in the Tebay watershed, offer "the potential for some of the finest wilderness angling experiences to be had in Southcentral Alaska", according to Alaska Fishing. The main game fish in the Tebay system are rainbow trout, lake trout, and Arctic grayling.
- "Chitina River". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. March 31, 1981. Retrieved December 18, 2013.
- Derived by entering source coordinates in Google Earth.
- Smelcer, John (2011). AHTNA NOUN DICTIONARY and Pronunciation Guide (2nd Edition) (PDF). Copper Center, Alaska: The Ahtna Heritage Foundation. pp. 28, 53 108. ISBN 0-9656310-2-8. Retrieved 13 December 2014.
- Alaska Atlas & Gazetteer (7th ed.). Yarmouth, Maine: DeLorme. 2010. pp. 77, 87–88. ISBN 978-0-89933-289-5.
- Jettmar, Karen (2008) . The Alaska River Guide: Canoeing, Kayaking, and Rafting in the Last Frontier (3rd ed.). Birmingham, Alabama: Menasha Ridge Press. pp. 206–08. ISBN 978-0-89732-957-6.
- Ellsworth, Clarence Eugene; Davenport, Royal William; Hoyt, John Clayton (1915). A water-power reconnaissance in south-central Alaska (Public domain ed.). Government Printing Office. pp. 54–.
- Moffit, Fred Howard; Overbeck, Robert Milton (1918). The Upper Chitina Valley, Alaska (Public domain ed.). U.S. Government Printing Office. pp. 77–.
- Limeres, Rene; Pedersen, Gunnar; et al. (2005). Alaska Fishing: The Ultimate Angler's Guide (3rd ed.). Roseville, California: Publishers Design Group. pp. 275–76. ISBN 1-929170-11-4.
- Media related to Chitina River at Wikimedia Commons