Prospectors going to the upper Copper River Gold Fields had to cross the coastal mountains. To many, the Copper River looked like the best route.
In a widely published account, J.M.C. Lewis, a civil engineer said "the
Copper River is navigable for small steamers for many miles beyond the
mouth of its principal eastern tributary. . . ".
In their Prospectus , the Conn. and Alaska Mining and Trading company described their route: "We propose to start for the mouth of the Copper River . . . We will sail up the river as far as the rapids which are about 100 miles [sic 35 miles] up from the mouth, we shall then launch the steam launch, . . . and start up through the rapids, [if] the boat will not make any headway against the rapids we will send some of the men up the bank till they get above the rapids, then they can make fast one end of the rope which they will take with them to a tree or spur of rock and tie the other end to a log throw it in the river where the swift current will carry it down to the waiting men in the launch, who will speedily haul themselves up through the rapids."
Fortunately, by the time the Conn. and Alaska Mining and Trading Company arrived in Alaska, they had abandoned the Copper River for the Valdez Glacier route.