The 49.5 mile Copper River Highway leads from the town of Cordova to the Million Dollar Bridge. The Million Dollar Bridge was once used by the railroad to haul copper from Kennicott to the port of Cordova, and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2000. Aside from the bridge, there are several highlights along this fairly short highway, such as great trails and scenic lookout points.
NOTE: The Copper River Highway is currently closed beyond mile 36, where there is a failed bridge. As of this time, the road does not go beyond that point.
Cordova is known in to the locals as Alaska’s hidden treasure. It's a small, hard-working fishing community with a population of about 2,270. Located near the mount of the Copper River, it nestles peacefully at the head of Orca Inlet in Prince William sound and has a mystique all its own. In the area are glacier-carved mountains, wildlife-rich wetlands, lush forests, More...
In part 2, we will look at the proposed changes and restoration to various locations around Eyak Lake. The project includes replacing many inefficient culverts with fish friendly access culverts for spawning salmon and a short bridge segment near Mavis Island to improve sediment and turbidity formation along the shore where salmon spawn. Signs of lake erosion and habitat destruction More...
The 3.3-mile long trail is mostly boardwalk over muskeg. This is an excellent spot to bird-watch, look for waterfowl feeding on Eyak Lake. Trumpeter swans frequent this lake. Most fly south for the winter however, up to 100 swans will winter here in this ice-free lake.
Sundews are amazing carnivorous plants that live in poor soil conditions and catch insects in an ingenious way to supplement their needs for nitrogen and other nutrients that the surrounding soil lacks. Hiking in areas where the ground is wet and spongy or boggy, you will likely find the tiny carnivorous plants waiting for their next insect meal. Look for a small plant growing close to More...
Fall time is beautiful anywhere in Alaska, but the changes in the area around Cordova and the Copper River Delta are truly breathtaking. Learn about the insect activity that takes place in this season with a detailed look at insect mimicry and a harmless bee look-alike called the flower fly. These insects are usually found in the autumn in areas with flowering plants including More...
Watch for wildlife in this aquatic area, look for the beaver lodge. Beavers are common on most lakes and marshes all over Alaska. If you look closely enough, you'll see lodges, dams and canals on many of the waterways along the highway. If you're lucky, a beaver may even be swimming nearby.
There's a covered pavilion here with interpretive plaques about the Chugach National Forest area and the Copper River Delta. The Copper River Delta is the largest continuous wetland on the west coast of North America.
An access road leads to the terminus of Sheridan Glacier and the trailhead for Sheridan Mountain USFS trail. The trail is a difficult 2.9-mile hike. The glacier was named for the Civil War General Philip Sheridan. There is an easy walking trail to a spectacular view of the glacier.
This ski trail weaves through muskeg and forest and gradually gains elevation until it ends. The trail leads to a high muskeg that overlooks the Copper River Delta, Heney Range and the Gulf of Alaska. This trail is very wet during all seasons excluding winter and is not a hiking trail.
This is an easy .8-mile boardwalk trail with lots of stairs. The boardwalk leads to overlook of the Copper River Delta with many signs. Be sure to bring your camera, this is a great place to see moose and bear.
This is an easy 2.4-mile hike with excellent fishing for sockeye, Dolly Varden and cutthroat. You'll find access to McKinley Trail and McKinley Lake public use cabins. It is a well-maintained trail that has several bridges for easy stream crossings and interpretive signs to explain the trail's history.
Look for the channel to a beaver pond. The channel provides access to the pond for silver salmon fry and can support up to 25,400 young salmon. The fallen trees and brush provide cover from predators. Here you will also find access to Saddlebag Glacier USFA Trail, a 3-mile trail to Saddlebag Lake, this is the best trail for mountain biking in the district.
Here is a great view of Copper River. Take the short walk to a monument dedicated to the men who built the bridges to the islands that you see here. This monument especially dedicated to the crane crew who lost their lives on July 21, 1971.
This is the main flow of Copper River, known for its wild salmon runs; in fact this is one of the most prized stocks of salmon in the world. Watch for harbor seals as they follow the salmon runs up the Copper River as far as Childs Glacier. You'll see them bobbing along the river or resting on ice flows.
Child's Glacier is certainly Alaska's most spectacular roadside glacier--it's the only one where you can see calving. Child's Glacier is 400 yards across the river from the viewing platform, so you can't walk up to it like you can Exit, Byron, or Matanuska Glaciers.
Directions: Cordova is an hour flight from Anchorage. Then, it's a 1 hr drive to the glacier. Distance: 190 miles east of Anchorage Drive Time: 3 hours Explore: If you visit Cordova, make a day out of exploring the Copper River Highway (which ends at the glacier), Child's Glacier itself, and the nearby Million Dollar Bridge.
Construction of this early-1900s bridge cost a whopping (at the time) $1.4 million, which earned it the nickname Million Dollar Bridge. But the bridge quickly earned its keep, allowing the railroad to haul copper from Kennicott to the port of Cordova. At 1550 feet, it was the longest steel bridge on the 196-mile Copper River and Northwestern Railway. Its railroad days ended in 1938, More...