Sheenjek River

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Sheenjek River
Sheenjek River YFNWR.jpg
Sheenjek River is located in Alaska
Sheenjek River
Location of the mouth of the Sheenjek River in Alaska
CountryUnited States
DistrictNorth Slope Borough, Yukon–Koyukuk Census Area
Physical characteristics
SourceBrooks Range
 • locationslightly south of the Continental Divide, North Slope Borough
 • coordinates69°01′53″N 144°00′40″W / 69.03139°N 144.01111°W / 69.03139; -144.01111[1]
 • elevation6,079 ft (1,853 m)[2]
MouthPorcupine River[1]
 • location
23 miles (37 km) northeast of Fort Yukon, Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge
 • coordinates
66°44′23″N 144°34′01″W / 66.73972°N 144.56694°W / 66.73972; -144.56694Coordinates: 66°44′23″N 144°34′01″W / 66.73972°N 144.56694°W / 66.73972; -144.56694[1]
 • elevation
446 ft (136 m)[1]
Length200 mi (320 km)[3]
DesignatedDecember 2, 1980

The Sheenjek River is a 200-mile (320 km) tributary of the Porcupine River in the U.S. state of Alaska.[3] It begins in the eastern part of the Brooks Range and flows southward to meet the larger river northeast of Fort Yukon.[1]

Its name derives from the Gwich'in word "khiinjik," meaning "dog-salmon river"."[4] Explorer J.H. Turner called it the Salmon River.[3]

In the United States, the geographic location most remote from human trails, roads, or settlements is found here, at the headwaters of the Sheenjek River.


The Sheenjek is suitable for boating by wide variety of watercraft between June and late September. The upper river is rated mostly Class II (medium) on the International Scale of River Difficulty, while the lower half of the river is Class I (easy). However, just after rainstorms, the river can suddenly rise and become more difficult.[5]

Dangers on the upper river include shallow, extremely braided channels, and aufeis. Overhanging vegetation and submerged logs pose risks along the entire course, as do bears along the lower reaches in late summer and early fall.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Sheenjek River". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. March 31, 1981. Retrieved November 4, 2013.
  2. ^ Derived by entering source coordinates in Google Earth.
  3. ^ a b c Orth, Donald J.; United States Geological Survey (1971) [1967]. Dictionary of Alaska Place Names: Geological Survey Professional Paper 567 (PDF). University of Alaska Fairbanks. United States Government Printing Office. p. 861. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 17, 2013. Retrieved November 4, 2013.
  4. ^ Bright, William. Native American Placenames of the United States. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. p. 437. ISBN 0-8061-3576-X.
  5. ^ a b Jettmar, Karen (2008) [1993]. The Alaska River Guide: Canoeing, Kayaking, and Rafting in the Last Frontier (3rd ed.). Birmingham, Alabama: Menasha Ridge Press. pp. 135–37. ISBN 978-0-89732-957-6.