Photo Credit: Kennicott Wilderness Guides Packrafting Tours

McCarthy-Kennicott Day Tours & Attractions

Rafting Tours View All

Wrangell St. Elias National Park • Day Tours • Multi-Day Tours • Packrafting

Season: May 15 to Sep 15 $775 per person 2 - 7 days

Sprawl­ing Wrangell-St. Elias Nation­al Park has huge moun­tains, North America’s largest con­cen­tra­tion of glac­i­ers, and thou­sands of rivers — but just two roads. That’s why tak­ing to the local rivers is such an excel­lent way to explore the park: this oper­a­tor out of McCarthy offers mul­ti-day adven­tures that embrace the rugged won­ders of the park, while keep­ing you com­fort­able enough so that you relax and enjoy it.

Season: May 15 to Sep 15 $95+ per person 4 hrs

Tak­ing to the rivers is such an excel­lent way to explore Wrangell St. Elias Nation­al park, and this oper­a­tor out of McCarthy offers day trips that let you embrace the won­ders of the park in a com­fort­able, hands-on, way. Both day trips are four hours. One allows you to pad­dle around a glacial lake, relax, and take in the scenery. The oth­er takes it up a notch by float­ing down­riv­er through class 2 and 3 rapids after a brief pad­dle around the lake.  ...more

Season: May 15 to Sep 15 $195+ per person 6 to 8 hrs

Expe­ri­ence the thrill of try­ing out a new sport: pack­raft­ing. Led by expert guides, you’ll leave from the town of Ken­ni­cott out to the Alaskan back­coun­try, then strap a raft to your back (it’s under 9 pounds) and set off on an inter­pre­tive walk down to a lake. Then unpack the raft and put in the water. You’ll learn how to use and maneu­ver these unique boats in Class I‑II water, and even have the pos­si­bil­i­ty of tak­ing on some Class III rapids.  ...more

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Guided Hiking View All

Wrangell St. Elias National Park • Day and multi – day hikes • Mountain & glacier views

Season: May 15 to Sep 15 $195+ per person 6 to 8 hrs

Expe­ri­ence the thrill of try­ing out a new sport: pack­raft­ing. Led by expert guides, you’ll leave from the town of Ken­ni­cott out to the Alaskan back­coun­try, then strap a raft to your back (it’s under 9 pounds) and set off on an inter­pre­tive walk down to a lake. Then unpack the raft and put in the water. You’ll learn how to use and maneu­ver these unique boats in Class I‑II water, and even have the pos­si­bil­i­ty of tak­ing on some Class III rapids.  ...more

Season: May 15 to Sep 15 $95+ 4 - 9 hrs

If you’ve nev­er walked on a glac­i­er, this is your chance. Going with expe­ri­enced guides, you’ll leave from Ken­ni­cott, hike two miles, and spend the next sev­er­al hours on the Root Glac­i­er, safe­ly explor­ing the blue ice, blue pool, canyons, and moulins of this extra­or­di­nary nat­ur­al phe­nom­e­non. Choose a half- or full-day tour and learn all about nat­ur­al and human his­to­ry from your expert guides along the way. Or ramp up the excite­ment by going ice  ...more

Season: May 29 to Sep 12 $28+ per person 2 hrs - Multi-Day

St. Elias Alpine Guides have a long his­to­ry of shar­ing the wilder­ness with trav­el­ers — whether the activ­i­ty involves hik­ing a glac­i­er, back­pack­ing, raft­ing, ski­ing, or even doing some extreme moun­taineer­ing — there’s some­thing for every­one! You can also take advan­tage of the option to cus­tomize your trip.

Season: Late June - Early September  $1,125+ all-inclusive packages Multi-Day Excursions

Explore the Alaskan wilder­ness while car­ry­ing your pack and camp­ing out — it’s a way to tru­ly get in touch with nature. Choose a 1‑night or 2‑night trek leav­ing from the town of Ken­ni­cott — your expe­di­tion will be led by expert guides, who will take you on hikes that can wind past gor­geous lakes and stun­ning water­falls. Work with your guide to per­son­al­ize your adven­ture — they know the must-see high­lights of this area and can fill you in on the human  ...more

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Flightseeing Tours View All

Impressive peaks over 16,000 Ft • See up to 13 glaciers

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. 

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Museums & Cultural Centers View All

You can’t escape the town’s his­tor­i­cal dynam­ic, and this muse­um is the best place to get the inside scoop on its past, includ­ing the cop­per rush that hap­pened between 1900 and 1938. The muse­um build­ing itself is a piece of his­to­ry, hav­ing once been the railw¬ay depot. Check out the pic­tures of rail­way con­struc­tion — 196 miles of track from Cor­do­va — which are alone worth the vis­it. You’ll also find pho­tos and arti­facts that give you an idea what…  ...more

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Historic Parks & Sites View All

This aban­doned cop­per min­ing camp is a Nation­al His­toric Land­mark Dis­trict. Estab­lished in 1903, Ken­necott Min­ing Cor­po­ra­tion oper­at­ed 5 mines in the area. Ken­necott became a bustling min­ing camp filled with min­ers and their fam­i­lies. In 1925, a geol­o­gist pre­dict­ed that the area would soon be mined out. By 1938, Ken­necott was a ghost town. 

Difficulty: Moderate

If you’ve spent the day in Ken­ni­cott, on the glac­i­er trail, or in the moun­tains and still can’t get enough of the out­doors, skip the shut­tle ride down the hill to McCarthy and take this nice 1.5‑hour walk. The Wag­on Trail cuts off the main road just to the right of the St. Elias Guides office.

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!

The first two things vis­i­tors notice about Ken­necott are the spec­tac­u­lar views and the town itself…in that order. The com­bi­na­tion of dra­mat­ic scenery and strange min­ing town makes for a unique expe­ri­ence. Give your­self a cou­ple hours to explore and take it in.

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 4 miles

This his­tor­i­cal trail through the woods between McCarthy and Ken­ni­cott was the walking/​wagon road when the rail­road was still run­ning. It’s a nice alter­na­tive to walk­ing or bik­ing up the 4.5‑mile-long road between McCarthy and Ken­ni­cott, where you’ll find more vehi­cles and dusty conditions.

Talk about an authen­tic pio­neer town. Time seems to have stood still on McCarthy’s Main Street, which is unpaved, only a few hun­dred yards long, and lined with clas­sic build­ings and memorabilia.Some vis­i­tors walk through McCarthy and com­plain that there’s noth­ing to do — and that’s exact­ly why folks like liv­ing here. But while you may not find much activ­i­ty, you will find a lot of his­to­ry: In the town’s hey­day there were sev­er­al hotels,…  ...more

Across the street from the muse­um is a short path lead­ing to the old rail­road turntable used to flip the engine around so it could push the train the 4.5 remain­ing miles up to Ken­ni­cott. Look for a wood­en sign across the street point­ing the way. Two or three peo­ple can get it mov­ing again. It’s a great activ­i­ty for kids look­ing for a short but unique ride.

Thurs­day evenings are open mic night in McCarthy. It’s a great chance to rub elbows with some locals and fel­low trav­el­ers and get a taste for the neigh­bor­hood. All are wel­come! Bring your gui­tar, har­mon­i­ca, and voice – or just your eyes and ears. Occa­sion­al­ly on Fri­days and Sat­ur­days there’s a band play­ing after 8:30 p.m. Be on the look­out for spe­cial events that are free and open to the public.

Replaced by a foot­bridge in 1997, this tram used to be the only way to get across the Ken­ni­cott Riv­er. Today you can take the Ken­ni­cott Riv­er Foot­bridge to begin your adven­ture in McCarthy!

The Ken­necott Mill tells the remark­able sto­ry of how the mill was built and oper­at­ed to bring cop­per out of Alas­ka wilder­ness to an Amer­i­ca hun­gry for cop­per dur­ing the begin­ning of the 20th cen­tu­ry. Rangers in the Vis­i­tor Cen­ter will play this 15-minute video on demand in a back room of the Vis­i­tor’s Center.

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Points of Interest View All

How and where to find Alaska’s glac­i­ers — some of the state’s most beau­ti­ful nat­ur­al attractions

Talk about an authen­tic pio­neer town. Time seems to have stood still on McCarthy’s Main Street, which is unpaved, only a few hun­dred yards long, and lined with clas­sic build­ings and memorabilia.Some vis­i­tors walk through McCarthy and com­plain that there’s noth­ing to do — and that’s exact­ly why folks like liv­ing here. But while you may not find much activ­i­ty, you will find a lot of his­to­ry: In the town’s hey­day there were sev­er­al hotels,…  ...more

The road may end here but the jour­ney isn’t over yet. Ken­necott Riv­er Pedes­tri­an Bridge cross­es the main chan­nel of the riv­er, pro­vid­ing access to the road lead­ing to the town of McCarthy and the old min­ing town of Ken­necott. You can walk or bicy­cle the .6 miles to the town of McCarthy or the 5 miles to the his­toric min­ing town of Ken­necott. Look for the old hand-pulled, open plat­form cable tram next to the pedes­tri­an bridge. Before the state  ...more

If you’re hik­ing up to Ken­ni­cott from McCarthy and would like a 1- to 2‑hour diver­sion, the toe of the glac­i­er is it. There are some amaz­ing moun­tain views, and a good chance you’ll see a unique move­ment of nature involv­ing rock, ice, and glacial silt. When you’re here, imag­ine your­self back in the ear­ly 1900s: McCarthy was a boom­town, and this land was com­plete­ly cov­ered by ice. That’s obvi­ous­ly changed, and the cur­rent lake will like­ly be 10…  ...more

This clas­sic swim­ming hole is a local favorite — it’s the per­fect spot to relax on a hot sum­mer day. You’ll find it at the sec­ond foot­bridge, a 5‑minute walk from the Ken­ni­cott Riv­er, where you can park your car. Lounge on the beach or even go swim­ming — the water’s rel­a­tive­ly warm when the sun is shin­ing. While here, you can also explore near the toe of Ken­ni­cott Glac­i­er and find all sorts of inter­est­ing glacial fea­tures, includ­ing a terminal…  ...more

Known in town as The Toe,” this area — the toe of the glac­i­er — is a large open space at, yes, the toe of the glac­i­er. It’s also rel­a­tive­ly hid­den, so you won’t find many peo­ple here. What you will find: a lake that’s formed below the ice, the spec­tac­u­lar dis­play of rocks falling off the ice into the water, and, some­times, a par­ty or con­cert (an aban­doned flatbed truck serves as the stage). There’s also space for camp­ing — even a Park Ser­vice bear…  ...more

As you cross this bridge, you will notice that the Cop­per Riv­er below you is quite dirty. Mil­lions of tons of rock dust are scoured off of dis­tant moun­tains by glac­i­ers and car­ried down­riv­er each year. These silty waters are the per­fect camoflague for samon swim­ming up the riv­er to spawn.

Every­one’s wel­come to come play soft­ball — gloves, bats, and balls are all pro­vid­ed! McCarthy’s soft­ball nights typ­i­cal­ly begin some­time after 5 p.m. Fri­day from June through August. You may see signs about this fun activ­i­ty around town, or over­hear folks talk­ing about it. Don’t be shy. Head down the street just to the right of Wrangell Moun­tain Air (in down­town” McCarthy) and take the first left up the hill to the field. You’ll get a beautiful…  ...more

Along the road get good views of Ken­ni­cott Glac­i­er, Mount Black­burn and Fire­weed Moun­tain. McCarthy served as the sup­ply and recre­ation stop for the Ken­ni­cott Min­ing Dis­trict. Today, the town looks much like it did when it was first estab­lished in 1906 thanks to the local who have restored and pre­served the orig­i­nal buildings. 

Owned and oper­at­ed by the Nation­al Park Ser­vice, this hall often hosts speak­ers, movies, potlucks, yoga, music, wed­dings, and oth­er com­mu­ni­ty events. You’ll like­ly see fly­ers around town about these events, which are usu­al­ly held for no charge (though they may request dona­tions). If there is some­thing going on dur­ing your vis­it to town, don’t be shy; it’s worth your while to find out what’s hap­pen­ing. And check in at the NPS vis­i­tor cen­ter to see  ...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!

The Wrangell Moun­tain Cen­ter is a non­prof­it orga­ni­za­tion ded­i­cat­ed to wilder­ness edu­ca­tion and cre­ative arts, housed in the old hard­ware store; stop by and see if any events are being held dur­ing your vis­it. There’s a kiosk out front with a sched­ule that often includes free lec­tures by vis­it­ing biol­o­gists, artists, nat­u­ral­ists, and stu­dents. Activ­i­ties include ear­ly morn­ing bird walks, gar­den­ing lessons, open-mic poet­ry jams, films on local…  ...more

Difficulty: Easy

Look­ing for a mel­low 3- to 4‑hour walk and a nice spot to relax with a book or a jour­nal? Check out McCarthy Creek. To get here, just walk straight through McCarthy’s Main Street, past Ma John­son’s Hotel (on the left), down the hill, and past the Wrangell Moun­tain Center.

Locals say that where the road ends, the adven­ture begins,” and the McCarthy Road (an adven­ture in itself) abrupt­ly ends at the Ken­ni­cott Riv­er. This is a glacial­ly-birthed tor­rent, and the best place to watch the action is from the footbridge.

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