The Tanana River is formed by the confluence of the Nabesna and Chisana Rivers near Northway
. It then flows 440 miles westward to the Yukon River
and then into the Bering Sea.
It crosses the Parks Hwy at Mile 305.1, where the Nenana River joins it at the town of Nenana. Tugs and barges based in Nenana carry cargo and freight to the Yukon region in the summer months after the ice breakup.
There are fish wheels north of the bridge that can be seen in action during salmon runs. It is a wide, shallow, sometimes muddy river. The "Taku Chief", a former Tanana River tug, is on display behind the visitor information center at A St.