Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve
Photo Credit: R. McGimsey, U.S. Geological Survey
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The Visitor Center Complex in Copper Center provides information about the entire park. View the park movie in the theater, enjoy the exhibits, speak with a park ranger, and gaze at the Wrangell Mountains from the bluff overlook. While youâ€™re there, visit the Ahtna Cultural Center where you can learn about Ahtna culture through exhibits, artifacts, and personal stories. Winter hours: Monday-Friday 9am-4pm, closed federal holidays.
Driving the McCarthy Road is an Alaskan adventure! Although maintained by the State of Alaska, the gravel surface makes for slow travel, and this 60-mile road usually takes two hours one way. Other hazards can make it even longer: heavy rain can make the road muddy and slippery, sharp rocks can cause flat tires, and narrow bridges make maneuvering large vehicles difficult. Under normal summer conditions, most two-wheel drive vehicles can make the trip, but be sure to carry at least one spare tire and an adequate jack. There is private land that adjoins many parts of the McCarthy Road, so please respect private property
At the end of the McCarthy road, all visitors must park their vehicles and use a foot bridge to cross the Kennicott River. Once across the bridge, you may continue on foot or choose to take a shuttle into the town of McCarthy or up to the Kennecott Mill Town, which is 5 miles away. During the winter, the Kennecott Shuttle is not in operation.
Once you reach Kennecott, be sure to visit the Kennecott Visitor Center. While youâ€™re there, you can talk to a park ranger, pick up maps and brochures, or plan your backcountry wilderness excursion. There are several trails that originate from Kennecott, and rangers are available to recommend day hikes and answer questions. The visitor center is typically open late May through early September.
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- Kayaking - Sea
- Camping - Backcountry
- Bicycling - Mountain