Nizina Basecamp

A Family Trip. Wilderness Adventure for the Intrepid. Packraft Nizina Lake. Hike Nizina Glacier. Walk These Waterfalls.

  • 4 nights camped at Nizina Lake
  • Packrafting options
  • Hike Nizina Glacier
  • Fly the Mile High Cliffs
  • 2 nights accommodations in McCarthy, AK
  • Transport Anchorage - MXY provided
  • The Heart of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park


Nizina Lake. Nizina Glacier. Nizina River.

The Wrangell Mountains are home to some stunning wilderness settings, and perhaps none is finer than Nizina.

Massive icebergs rest in the lake. Nissan Glacier winds its way down from the very aptly named Mt Regal (13 000’+). The enormous glacial valley carves through the midst of the Mile High Cliff giving you absolutely remarkable panoramic vistas.

You’ll spend (typically) 4 nights here, camped in some of the wildest and grandest landscape you’re likely to venture into. Anywhere.

You’ll packraft in Nizina Lake, paddling amongst glaciers bigger than a house. Throw on some crampons and we’ll explore the nooks and crannies of Nizina Glacier and its endless stretches of ice.

Hike through the boreal forest. Watch for moose and black bear along the way. Grizzly bears are also present.

We’ll go visit some cool waterfalls.

Perfect family basecamp trip.

Nizina Lake Packrafting Video

Why We Love Nizina

Who’s This Trip For?

A great basecamp trip for those folks looking for a fun and exciting backcountry adventure. This basecamp trip offers you a remote wilderness trip with all you could possibly want to do and a whole lot more.

It’s an excellent choice for those folks who don’t want the rigors of a backpacking or a packrafting trip, but want to capture some of that solitude and wilderness setting typically only available via the more strenuous expedition.

Bring the family and relax at camp. Enjoy various different day hiking options. Packraft around Nizina Lake. Trek on the staggering Nizina Glacier. Photograph the mountains.

Nizina Basecamp trip offers you a little of everything.

Trip Options

A perfect 4 night basecamp trip. Packrafting, hiking, glacier walks and more.

For the more adventurous soul, combine the trip with a backpacking trip such as the Goat Trail. We can detour from the normal route and wind our way down to Nizina, and spend a few more days in the wilderness base camped here before flying back to McCarthy.

Another choice, for experienced packrafters, is to basecamp here a few days, built up your paddling skills, and then we’ll take a packraft trip down Nizina River to the Chitina River confluence. The air taxi makes it a short flight back to McCarthy.

Trip FAQs

  • None.

    We’ll outfit you head to toe. Packrafts, paddles, PFD, drysuit, booties, gloves and all our standard water safety gear. Everything included.

  • 3-4 nights is about perfect.

    There is so much to do in this area. packrafts also give us access to hiking on either/both side of the lake, which really opens up opportunities.

  • Maybe. Almost certainly we can run some part of it. Which part will depend on your boating skills and experience.

    Water levels are also a big factor. It’s a fun paddle for sure, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

  • You’ll receive a Trip Departure Packet upon your reservation with a detailed Gear section and a comprehensive Gear Check List for you. Read it carefully  and be sure you have the appropriate gear with you. We’ll do a gear review before your trip but you really should contact me with any questions you have before you arrive in AK.

    You’ll find tons of information on gear and related stuff on the blog. You’ll find some extensive commentary there about gear and backpacking and hiking trips, etc. Rain gear and keeping dry, down versus synthetic sleeping bags , backpacks, and so forth. I update it reasonably often, so do check out the blog posts for information. Here is a link to The Gear Category on the blog.

    In the meantime this should help you get started below.

    Bring a sturdy backpacking tent. Lesser ‘car camping’ tents can fail miserably when you need them the most. If you don’t have a tent, or aren’t certain, please inquire with Expeditions Alaska. We’ll rent you a tent if you prefer.

    Good rain gear is a must. I recommend a lightweight, gore-tex type shell. A poncho-style rain jacket or shawl is NOT recommended (as in, DO NOT BRING ONE).

    A sleeping bag that will keep you warm down to 20deg (F) is what I suggest (or lower). A 32deg (F) bag would be considered bare minimum for most Alaskan summer adventures and I do NOT recommend it. Either synthetic fill bags or down bags are great – you just need to keep them dry. Read more about your sleeping bag here.

    Unless you’re booking a fully outfitted trip you’ll need to bring a reliable stove. Bring a reliable stove, preferably one that burns white gas, or Coleman fuel. MSR ‘Whisperlite‘ or similar stoves are great. Remember that with current restrictions on air travel it is illegal to bring fuel onto commercial planes. I can provide fuel for you, available when you arrive in Alaska.

    Another stove that’s very popular recently is the Jetboil.

    My preference is for long sleeve shirts and full length brushed nylon pants. A mosquito headnet is also recommended for those times when the bugs get gnarly.

    Do NOT bring cotton pants, shirt, socks, etc. If you’re confused about this, contact me.

    Trekking poles are worth their weight in gold. Don’t head for Alaska without them. Expeditions Alaskan provide these (free) if you like.

    Definitely bring sturdy, waterproof boots. Your lightweight day hikers may be fine around town but they are often not durable enough to withstand a multi-day alpine adventure. Alaska Hiking boots info.

    A comfortable backpack is required and a system for carrying gear on a dayhike is very handy. Many backpacks have removable tops and these work great. A rain cover that fits your fully loaded pack is a must have!

    Another choice for is a small summit pack for dayhikes. I use the Marmot Kompressor. Not requisite but handy to have.

    The single most important element of gear is your ability to use it.

    Practice with your equipment before heading into the backcountry. Do not wait until you’re miles into the wilderness before you realize your stove doesn’t work or that you don’t know how to set up your tent. Being comfortable with your equipment and how to use it can be paramount to a safe and enjoyable trip.

    My Gear.

  • Reserving your place on a trip requires a 50% deposit. Deposits are non-refundable. All trips MUST be paid in full 45 days prior to the scheduled departure date.

    If the client cancels on a trip paid in full, 90% of the price can be deferred to another trip within the next 12 months, provided that

    i) Expeditions Alaska is able to fill the spot,
    ii) the trip is full and
    iii) 30 days notice is given.

    If cancellation is within 30 days of the trip only 75% of the fee can be carried over to a future trip. No refunds are given for cancellations within 14 days of the trip departure.

    Expeditions Alaska reserves the right to cancel and/or modify the itinerary of a trip. You will be refunded your payment in full if Expeditions Alaska cancels your trip.

    If weather or other factors delay or impede your trip, there will be no refund of fees. Expeditions Alaska is not responsible for any other costs incurred by the client as a result of the cancellation. Additional costs incurred through weather delays and itinerary changes are the responsibility of the client.

  • I put trip itineraries online here to give visitors a more detailed look at some of our trips and what options they include.

    I can’t over-emphasize that each is simply an example.

    What I work hardest on is tailoring trips to the specific interests and abilities and experience of the people who hike with us. No 2 trips are the same. Where possible we don’t use the same campsites when we do a route and we often even vary the route when appropriate to do so.

    I try to be flexible with how far we hike each day and how many days we spend in the backcountry. What time we get up in the morning, for example, is largely up to the trip participants (unless for some reason I feel we need to be up and on the trail by a particular time – this rarely happens).

    Itineraries are somewhat fluid. As they should be. Weather, hiker experience and many other factors determine the actual trip.

    So don’t expect the itinerary for a trip to match an outline of Day 1 we hike abc, Day 2 we hike xyz, etc, etc. It doesn’t (and in my opinion shouldn’t) work that way. The itineraries listed on this site are

    a) to outline the travel time and logistics for you, and

    b) attempt to help give you some sense of the route and how it goes.

    But with wilderness trail-less backpacking routes, these kinds of structured itineraries are really not very useful.

  • If you’re providing your own food for the trip you need to understand how many meals you might expect to bring.

    For McCarthy based trips you won’t eat any meals in the backcountry until lunchtime on Day 2.

    A trip billed as a 12 day trip,  for example, would require you to pack 10 days worth of food plus extra food in case weather delays our pickup. It’s always wise to allow an extra day of food. All Expeditions Alaska trips to McCarthy, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, unless specifically scheduled otherwise, will include a day travel to get to McCarthy, a day to return to Anchorage, and we fly out of the backcountry usually in the morning of the 2nd last day.

    So for a trip scheduled, for example, Aug 1-12, you’ll need in your backpack

    lunch and dinner on Aug 2

    breakfast, lunch and dinner Aug 3-10

    breakfast and maybe lunch of Aug 11

    So I would suggest at least 10 full days food for your backpack.

  • Expeditions Alaska offer all guests the option of either providing your own food OR having us provide food for you. The prices posted on our site here do NOT include the additional cost incurred if you would like us to outfit the food for you.

    “Goat Trail 15 -23 Aug 2016. Amazing experience. The entire experience was a pleasure. Thanks Carl and thanks for putting us with Rhane. He is an awesome guide and great cook. By the time we were finished, the group felt like we had made a new friend and the experience in the wilderness was life changing. The entire experience with Expeditions Alaska exceeded all my expectations. I am already looking at your website for my next Alaskan adventure. Cheers, GK”

    If you would like to bring your own food, here’s a suggestion for novice hikers and those who are inexperienced with backcountry meal preparation. Typically, freeze-dried dinners work well for the inexperienced outdoor chef or those looking for an easier route. Some of the organically grown items, from smaller companies, aren’t bad at all. Mary Jane’s Farm has some great options for starters. They’re fast, easy, lightweight, packable, and require very little cleanup. Try different ones before you pack for your trip.

    Less time preparing food allows for more time to enjoy the magnificent surroundings. They don’t taste too bad either!

    For lunches I recommend items that don’t need to be cooked. Bagels, pita breads, nuts, dried fruit, candy bars, crackers, etc are great. Something hot for breakfast is a good start to the day, particularly if the weather is cold. Hot drinks such as hot cocoa, tea, or coffee can be very welcome at either end of the day.

    If you want me to take care of your food, just let us know. We’re glad to put together a great menu, tailored to your tastes. Good food at the end of a hard day hiking definitely makes a difference!

  • All trips and trip prices include the following.

    * Professional Guide Service: Experience is paramount, as is a friendly, flexible atmosphere for your trip, and Expeditions Alaska go out of our way to bring that to the backcountry. I know the routes, the natural history and the place as well as anyone, and all the best campsites! Backcountry camping in Alaska can be intimidating for a novice and even for some intermediate and experienced hikers. A qualified guide service can go a long way to minimizing problems that may come up. Customers returning for seven eight nine ten consecutive hiking trips with Expeditions Alaska speaks volumes for the value of a good guide.

    * Travel and Accommodations: Expeditions Alaska typically offers a complete Door-to-Door service.

    For example, for our Wrangell-St. Elias National Park trips, we’ll pick you up from your hotel in Anchorage, drive to McCarthy in our comfortable conversion van, stay the night at the Kennecott River Lodge, enjoy a hot breakfast the following morning in McCarthy, then fly into the backcountry. Backpack and hike for your trip, fly back to McCarthy, have the afternoon in and around McCarthy, exploring the Kennecott Glacier, or the old mines up at Kennecott, spend another night at the Kennecott River Lodge, and drive back to Anchorage the final day, right to your hotel in Anchorage.

    For the ANWR trips, we’ll usually travel from Fairbanks to Coldfoot or Kaktovik by plane, then fly into the backcountry. Whether we pick you up at your hotel in Fairbanks or not will depend on whether we’re driving or flying north. If we fly, we’ll meet you at the airport. If we’re driving, we’ll pick you up.

    For all other trips, check first as to exactly what the plan is.

    * Gear: We can provide all cookware, fuel, etc for the trip. Feel free to let us know if you’d like to bring your own. We can get the fuel you need as it’s not possible for you to fly with any fuel in your luggage. If you would prefer a fully outfitted trip we can accommodate that. You’ll need to bring your personal gear, such as a sleeping bag and backpack. We’ll also provide bear-resistant food canisters and bear spray for the trip. Expeditions Alaska trips will also provide a cook tent for the trip. We also provide hiking poles for you if you don’t have your own.

    * Safety: Any professional guide service puts safety first. This means caution, it means responsibility and it means an excellent knowledge of the area: the terrain, wildlife and travel, backcountry camping and safety. Fully qualified Wilderness First Aid certification. A satellite phone available for emergency backcountry service if necessary and a backup emergency messaging device such as Delorme inReach or PLB. We bring a GPS, map and compass on every route we do. This is an owner-operated business and all participants can feel confident knowing they’re not getting an intern or inexperienced guide for their trip.

    * Storage: Extra travel items that won’t be needed while we’re in the backcountry (limited space available).

    What’s Not Included?

    Expeditions Alaska do not provide the following unless otherwise specified.

    a) food and camping gear — Expeditions Alaska will outfit your trip if you would like us to. For a minimal addition in cost, I’m glad to supply food and camping gear (you will need your own personal gear, such as a sleeping bag, pad, clothes, pack, etc). Any specific items you may need help with, just send me an email or call me and I’ll work it out for you.

    b) travel arrangements to Anchorage from outside Alaska.

    c) trip insurance. Our suggestion is Travelex.

    d) travel meals. Any hotel or lodge meals we eat in the frontcountry are not included in your price. So if we stop to eat along the road, for example, we do not pick up the tab for that.

    d) guide gratuities.

    Extra Info

    Please note

    The ANWR and Gates of the Arctic National Park trips include all travel (return) from Fairbanks to Coldfoot, or from Fairbanks to Kaktovik, where we fly into the Refuge, as well as rafts, dry bags, etc. The Icy Bay and Malaspina Glacier trips start and end in Yakutat, Alaska. Because of the nature of backcountry adventure, trips vary year to year. Each trip is also available for longer or shorter durations, and trip prices vary accordingly. Similarly, group bookings (3 or more participants) can receive substantial discounts.

    For more information, contact us using the Contact Form here.

    All clients complete the backcountry waiver before departing for any of our trips.

  • Most trips will allow for a maximum of 5 hikers plus your guide.

    Rarely will we schedule a group larger than that, for a number of reasons. Primarily, solitude. Most of these trips head into some pristine wilderness and the impact of larger groups camping and trekking in those regions can be somewhat destructive to the fragile ecosystems there. The focus of our trips is to provide a wilderness experience and keeping group sizes reasonable enhances that provision.

  • I know you do. I do as well.

    I recommend starting with the General Trip FAQ page

    More questions? Email me or call me  and we’ll go through them.

    Upon your reservation I’ll also send out a comprehensive trip information packet that covers just about everything and more you might imagine about your trip.

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