Just outside Glennallen you’ll find some great views of the Copper River and the Wrangell Mountains, as well as the chance to take some photos that don’t include any roads or buildings.
Mt. Drum will be straight in front of you, with Mt. Sanford on the left side, and Mt. Wrangell— a massive shield volcano—on the right. Cloud cover is the only way you’ll miss this dramatic scene.
And these mountains are definitely dramatic. The western face of Mt. Drum rises 9,000 feet in less than 10 miles, while the southern face of Mt. Sanford rises 8,000 feet in just one mile. Sure, lots of mountains in, say, Colorado top out at 14,000 feet, but they may start at 9,000 feet. These mountains emerge from a valley floor with an elevation of just 1,500 feet, so the mountain itself is much bigger; Mt. Wrangell is estimated to contain seven times the volume of Mt. Rainier.
This spot also gives you a nice view of the Copper River as it cuts its way through the valley floor. A very long time ago, the area where you’re standing was deep underwater. Glaciers downstream had blocked the flow of what’s now the Copper River, and the entire valley you’re looking at was a gigantic lake referred to now as Lake Ahtna. When the lake drained, it left behind deep deposits of glacial silt, which the Copper River and its tributaries now run through.