For all its remoteness, McCarthy-Kennicott boasts what may be the most romantic, picturesque hotel in the state: the quintessentially Alaskan Kennicott Glacier Lodge. A replica of one of the historic copper-mining buildings, it's a luxurious property that sits in the heart of the ghost town and the center of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, surrounded by spruce and mountains. Curl up by the fireplace with a book, enjoy the home-cooked meals, and linger with a glass of wine on the deck that nearly juts out over the Kennicott Glacier.
The Main Lodge (built in 1987) has a 190-foot-long front porch with a panoramic view of the Chugach and Wrangell Mountains. It offers 7 downstairs guest rooms and 18 upstairs guest rooms with shared, private-use, spotless bathrooms, a family-style restaurant, a cozy Reading/Family Room, and a large Gathering Room with TV, couches, slide-projection equipment, and plenty of space. Your quiet, intimate bedroom is decorated with old mining artifacts and photos.
The first section of the South Wing was completed in 2004 and the new section was completed in 2016. Just 75 yards from the Main Lodge, its 20 guest rooms offer the same commanding views of the Kennicott Glacier. South Wing guest rooms are $60 more—and worth it. They’re larger than rooms in the Main Lodge, and each has its own private bath as well as two queen-size beds. As with the Main Lodge, mining artifacts and photos grace guest room walls, and first floor rooms access a panoramic front porch. The South Wing also has its own spacious Gathering Room. See the Virtual Tour
The two must-do activities while staying at Kennicott Glacier Lodge are a Tour of the Historic Mill and a Glacier Trek. Ever walked on a glacier? Kennecott offers one of the most scenic and certainly the most economical opportunity in Alaska to put on crampons and walk on the ancient ice of an Alaska glacier. No helicopters needed here; just walk out the front door in the company of an experienced guide. On a half-day or full-day hike onto the Root Glacier, you’ll safely explore a world of moulins, ogives, and sapphire-blue water pools.
You can also take a leisurely stroll along forest paths, hike mountain trails, and explore old copper mines, with stupendous views of the area around you. The Kennicott and McCarthy area is great for mountain biking, since there are plenty of old mining roads and little or no traffic. Discover more about this historic mining area by visiting the museum in nearby McCarthy.
The lodge offers a casual atmosphere and congenial staff for dining. Breakfast and lunch are served from a menu, and dinner is served family style at a single seating. The "wilderness gourmet" dishes feature homemade soups, pastries, breads, and delicious desserts.
After dinner, join a guide for a leisurely stroll through the ghost town, watch a slide show or an Alaskan video, or just enjoy the evening sunshine from the front porch and listen to the glacier creak, pop, and groan. It's that close.