Photo Credit: Kennicott Wilderness Guides Packrafting Tours

McCarthy-Kennicott Day Tours & Attractions

Discover an abundance of thrilling day tours in the McCarthy-Kennicott area. Unleash your adventurous spirit with rafting expeditions through Wrangell-St. Elias National Park that range from a few hours to several days. Embark on guided hiking journeys from May to September, where you can experience remote backcountry and glacier climbing. For the ultimate adventure, combine hiking and rafting for an exciting packrafting excursion. Or take to the skies for an unforgettable flightseeing tour from the area. McCarthy also boasts a wide array of historic sites and fun trails to explore.

Rafting Tours View All

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

Season: May 15 - Sept 15 $875+ 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 - Sept 15 $95+ per person 2 - 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: June 15 – September 1 $115+ 3+ hours

Raft the gor­geous glac­i­er-fed rivers and ice­berg-filled lakes of the Alaskan back­coun­try out of McCarthy, an his­toric town in the heart of America’s largest nation­al park, Wrangell-St. Elias. Going with St. Elias Alpine Guides — the park’s longest-oper­at­ing raft­ing com­pa­ny — is a great way to expe­ri­ence the wilder­ness on every­thing from half-day out­ings to 15-day expe­di­tions. No expe­ri­ence is required, and all food and gear are provided!

Season: May 15 to Sep 15 $240+ per person 4 - 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 $240+ per person 4 - 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: June – September $580+ per person 2 - 8 Days

Fly in and out of remote loca­tions in the gor­geous Wrangell-St. Elias Nation­al Park and expe­ri­ence the true wilder­ness of the Alaskan back­coun­try. Keep­ing it min­i­mal and unplug­ging com­plete­ly, you’ll sleep in a tent and wake up refreshed and exhil­a­rat­ed by the sights and sounds of these raw wilds. Mod­er­ate mini-Back­pack­ing excur­sions for begin­ners, or point-to-point hikes for expe­ri­enced back­pack­ers that match your abilities.

Season: Late June - Early September  $1,960+ 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

Season: May 24 – Sept 10 $115+ per person 3 hrs - Full-day

A third of Wrangell — St. Elias Nation­al Park is cov­ered in glacial ice, mak­ing it one of the eas­i­est places to access a glac­i­er in Alas­ka. Strap on the pro­vid­ed cram­pons and explore the stun­ning fea­tures of the glac­i­er with expert guid­ance — rivers and water­falls, crevass­es and blue pools wait to be dis­cov­ered. Or, take on the chal­lenge of scal­ing the dra­mat­ic icy walls of a glac­i­er on an ice climb­ing trip.

Season: May 15 - Sept 15 $115+ 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

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Flightseeing Tours View All

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

$300+ 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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McCarthy-Kennicott Glacier Tours View All

Explore the stunning features of the glaciers of Wrangell St. Ellias National Park

Season: May 15 - Sept 15 $115+ 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 24 – Sept 10 $115+ per person 3 hrs - Full-day

A third of Wrangell — St. Elias Nation­al Park is cov­ered in glacial ice, mak­ing it one of the eas­i­est places to access a glac­i­er in Alas­ka. Strap on the pro­vid­ed cram­pons and explore the stun­ning fea­tures of the glac­i­er with expert guid­ance — rivers and water­falls, crevass­es and blue pools wait to be dis­cov­ered. Or, take on the chal­lenge of scal­ing the dra­mat­ic icy walls of a glac­i­er on an ice climb­ing trip.

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McCarthy-Kennicott Walking Tours View All

Walk through abandoned buildings and hear what life was like during one of the richest copper strikes in history

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. By 1938, Ken­necott was a ghost town. This guide shows the self-guid­ed walk­ing tour points.

Season: May 25 – Sep 8 $34 2 hrs

The wilder­ness town of Ken­necott — once home to a bustling min­ing oper­a­tion — was sud­den­ly aban­doned in 1938 when the Ken­necott Cop­per Cor­po­ra­tion ceased oper­a­tions. Now you can tour the ghost town with an expert: St. Elias Alpine Guides was grant­ed spe­cial per­mis­sion as the only con­ces­sion­aire with the Nation­al Park Ser­vice to take trav­el­ers not only around the town, but also inside the buildings.

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McCarthy / Kennicott City Sightseeing Tours View All

Explore the once bustling mining operation town and buildings of Kennecott

Season: May 25 – Sep 8 $34 2 hrs

The wilder­ness town of Ken­necott — once home to a bustling min­ing oper­a­tion — was sud­den­ly aban­doned in 1938 when the Ken­necott Cop­per Cor­po­ra­tion ceased oper­a­tions. Now you can tour the ghost town with an expert: St. Elias Alpine Guides was grant­ed spe­cial per­mis­sion as the only con­ces­sion­aire with the Nation­al Park Ser­vice to take trav­el­ers not only around the town, but also inside the buildings.

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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. By 1938, Ken­necott was a ghost town. This guide shows the self-guid­ed walk­ing tour points.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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!

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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. 

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

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