Chitina Things to Do

Access Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & McCarthy/Kennicott

Fly or drive to the historic former mining area of McCarthy/Kennicott

Fly or drive to the historic former mining area of McCarthy/Kennicott

America’s largest national park is a mammoth swath of rugged wilderness, filled with classic Alaskan tundra, remote peaks, and of course tons of wildlife. One way to get a perspective on this surreal area is to take a flightseeing tour with Wrangell Mountain Air. You can also use their air taxi service to go explore McCarthy/Kennicott, the former mining area turned ghost town inside the park. Flying from Chitina allows you to bypass the 60-mile McCarthy Road, a gravel road you need a special vehicle rental to drive

Drive the McCarthy Road

Some people say this drive is the highlight of their entire trip to Alaska. If you do have the type of rental vehicle allowed on this 60-mile gravel road, consider taking this two- to three-hour trip. It follows former railroad tracks through dramatic, pristine wilderness with the chance to see swans, moose, grizzly and black bears, owls, eagles, and other wildlife.

Hike and Camp at Liberty Falls

Just north of Chitina along the Edgerton Highway is the Liberty Falls State Recreation Site and Campground. If you’re camping, you’ll find 10 campsites here with picnic tables and tent platforms. There’s also a great view of a beautiful waterfall. Or just come for a hike; Liberty Falls trail climbs out of a spruce forest and follows a ridgeline, where you can look out onto great mountain views.

Liberty-Falls-Trail-01-mizx19

Enjoy stunning views of Liberty Falls

Chitina things to do alaska chitina fishwheels copper river mike haggerty Mike Haggerty chitina

Fish wheels are a method of fishing that continuously reel in fish

Marvel at the Fish Wheels

Check out the Alaskan Native fish wheels, a method of fishing that continuously reels in the fish! The current keeps the baskets turning while salmon swim into the net; they’re then deposited on the upriver side of the wheel. Salmon tend to come through in waves; if you’re lucky, you’ll see some!

Alaska chitina historic parks sites Chitina ghost town Chitina

Experience the history of Chitina Ghost Town

Explore the Old Ghost Town

Chitina became an overnight boom town when the railroad arrived in 1910 to support the mining industry; it became a ghost town just as quickly when the mine closed in 1938. People painted ghosts on the buildings in the ensuing decades; try to spot them as you walk around!

Show Map

Things to Do in Chitina

Chitina Day Tours & Attractions

Season: May 15 to Sep 15 $250+ 30 min to 2 hrs

If you want to get a true sense of the 13 mil­lion acres with­in Wrangell-St. Elias Nation­al Park — which has a mere 100 miles of road­ways — start with an aer­i­al view. Since 1992, Wrangell Moun­tain Air has been offer­ing safe and fas­ci­nat­ing tours of this remote king­dom, which boasts North Amer­i­ca’s largest assem­blage of glac­i­ers as well as its largest col­lec­tion of peaks above 16,000 feet. Choose from three main tours. 

How do you fish in a riv­er full of glacial silt? The eas­i­est way is to use the icon­ic fish wheel — long asso­ci­at­ed with Alas­ka Native sub­sis­tence. See them in action in the Cop­per Riv­er near Chitina.

The rock cut you’re about to dri­ve through was blast­ed out in the ear­ly 1900’s when the rail­road to the cop­per mines of Ken­ni­cott was being built. The rail­road began in Cor­do­va and fol­lowed the Cop­per Riv­er to cur­rent day Chiti­na before turn­ing through the rock cut and head­ing east towards the Wrangell Moun­tains. In the 1960’s the rail­road hand­ed over the land, and lia­bil­i­ty, to the new­ly estab­lished State of Alas­ka which prompt­ly began…  ...more

Chiti­na (pop. 105) came to life almost overnight with arrival of the Cop­per Riv­er & North­west­ern Rail­way on Sep­tem­ber 11, 1910. The rail­way was built to haul ore from Ken­ni­cott Cop­per Mines at McCarthy to Cor­do­va for ship­ment to Seat­tle. Chiti­na became a sup­ply town for both the rail­way and the mine. When the mine closed in 1938, Chiti­na became a ghost town almost overnight. In the 1950s and 1970s, ghosts were paint­ed on some of the old  ...more

Eight signs will guide you through the Cop­per Riv­er water­shed land­scape. See if you can vis­it all eight signs on your tour through this upriv­er basin formed by the ancient, glacial Lake Atna!

There’s a sto­ry about a local pio­neer who in the 1950’s walked the entire way to McCarthy from Cor­do­va. Across the Cop­per Riv­er was a steel cable, the cur­rent bridge hav­ing not been built until 1973.

[{"slug":"mccarthy","title":"McCarthy-Kennicott"},{"slug":"chitina","title":"Chitina"},{"slug":"copper-center","title":"Copper Center"}]

Chitina Parks & Trails

Want to feel like you’ve stum­bled into an old Indi­ana Jones movie? A rugged cliff-top trail reach­es south from Chiti­na along the Cop­per Riv­er into the gorge of Wood Canyon — offer­ing access to three creeks, the ruins of an old tres­tle, a his­toric train tun­nel and, final­ly, a sandy beach suit­able for camping.

The rock cut you’re about to dri­ve through was blast­ed out in 1909 as a rail­way to sup­ply and sup­port the Ken­necott Cop­per Mines when they were being built. The rail­road began in Cor­do­va and fol­lowed the Cop­per Riv­er to cur­rent day Chiti­na before turn­ing through the rock cut and head­ing east towards the Wrangell Mountains.

[{"slug":"mccarthy","title":"McCarthy-Kennicott"},{"slug":"chitina","title":"Chitina"},{"slug":"copper-center","title":"Copper Center"}]