The TAT is a great trip but not the only option if your looking for the Alaska experience. We now have a boat stashed in Anchorage and Flew up this year to do the Talkeetna for the first time. It is a great trip with awesome whitewater and easy logistics. We flew with Talkeetna Air Taxi in a beaver to a strip just down stream of Yellow Jacket Creek. One of our crew felt the need to pack like a Grand trip so we got 3 boating and 6 people in 3 loads costing $425 a person. You could easily get in cheaper if you didn't need two full size dry boxes and 162 qt cooler and two capt boxes.
The trip is typically done in 3 days but we took 5 and had time to enjoy our selves. Unfortunately we were between the King and silver runs so I only caught 1 10" Bow with my $35 license but you pay your money and take your chances.
The Whitewater is all is the Canyon and is essentially a 12 mile long rapid with some spots in the class IV range after paying the price of admission. The canyon starts with Entrance exam and Toilet Bowl both solid class 4 with very real flip and Long swim potential in 34 deg water. We had 15K on the gauge which is considered quite high and it was plenty spicy of our group.
Over all a great trip with the added bonus of Big whitewater but there are better trips for scenery and glaciers. We have done the Copper River which ends near the town of Cordova a number of times and really like that trip. There are lots of options to put in that you can Taylor to your budget. There are a couple of different road accessible places and endless fly in options out of the town of McCarthy. One option is to fly in to the Tana and that provides some Grand Canyon style whitewater with a series of Rapids called On Ramp, Free Way, and Exit. The BIG features are called Soul Crushers and True Violence. The rest of the water is on the Nizina, Chitna, and Copper is more of a scenic float with tons of animals, Glaciers and sand dunes. take a second and google Miles lake and Childs glacier as those are both highlights of the trip.
Did I mention No Permits required for any of the above options. It's always fun to spend time up there but opportunity costs and its tough to get people to commit to anything and these trips are no different.
May the water be under your boat and the wind at your back.