Photo Credit: Root Glacier Trail

McCarthy-Kennicott Parks & Trails

Experience the grandeur of the Wrangell Mountains by exploring the trails. Take the popular 4-mile long hiking trail that winds alongside the Kennicott and Root Glaciers. Or, if you are looking for an in-town stroll, take the Wagon Road Trail which connects McCarthy and Kennicott via a 1.5 hour walk. The trail was once the walking/wagon road when the railroad was still running. You can access the trail both from McCarthy and Kennicott.

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Parks & Trails

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.

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.

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.

Difficulty: Easy

Camp right at the toe of the Root Glac­i­er, in a Nation­al Park Ser­vice camp­ing area. This is a great way to expe­ri­ence the glac­i­er with­out the traf­fic of hik­ers and tourists that pass through dur­ing the day. The area has a few camp­ing spots carved out of the hill­side, as well as bear box­es (and there’s anoth­er just past Jum­bo Creek). Jum­bo Creek is the bound­ary for camp­ing – with no per­mis­sion to camp before you cross it. Be wary of bears: In…  ...more

Difficulty: Difficult

This route begins at the Park Ser­vice and Infor­ma­tion Sta­tion. Fol­low the flags, and they will lead you to an unmain­tained foot­path. This trail requires a lot of bushwack­ing and the footholds are not strong, espe­cial­ly after the first four miles.

Difficulty: Moderate

Lib­er­ty creek is acces­si­ble via Lib­er­ty Creek Camp­ground. The camp­ground sur­rounds a clear­wa­ter creek at the bot­tom of a beau­ti­ful water­fall. Camp­grounds are on either side of the creek in a sur­re­al setting.

Difficulty: Difficult Distance: 2 miles

Locat­ed in Wrangell-St. Elias Nation­al Park, this 4.4‑mile trail takes hik­ers through a rugged land­scape of ice, rock, and streams. It’s a mod­er­ate­ly chal­leng­ing hike that offers stun­ning views of the glac­i­er and sur­round­ing mountains.

Difficulty: Easy

Get­ting out to the Ken­ni­cott Glac­i­er is the first chal­lenge. You need to hike onto the Root Glac­i­er, cross over the mon­ster rock moraine to your left, cross anoth­er tongue of ice on the Root Glac­i­er, then cross yet anoth­er mon­ster rock moraine between the Root and the Ken­ni­cott glac­i­ers. It’s tricky ter­rain and not to be tak­en light­ly. When fac­ing down the sec­ond moraine, you’ll want to hit the low point that’s close to where the black mud…  ...more

Difficulty: Moderate

To get a lit­tle fur­ther away from civ­i­liza­tion, you can also camp at the end of the Root Glac­i­er trail, about 4 miles from Ken­necott. This is hard­ly a tra­di­tion­al camp­ground; there are a few cre­ative spots to pitch a tent, one of which is on the trail itself. There’s also a bearproof food stor­age box, since this is def­i­nite­ly bear coun­try. But few peo­ple and amaz­ing views make the hike out here worth it. You’ll know you’re at the end of the…  ...more

Cop­per brought peo­ple to Kennicott/​McCarthy, and gold kept them com­ing, usu­al­ly via Dan Creek Road. The Cor­do­va Cham­ber of Com­merce built this road back in 1914 to pro­mote access into the gold-rich inte­ri­or of Alas­ka. Today you can use this road to get to the old airstrip, a min­er’s cab­in at the top of the bluff above McCarthy Creek (a 25-minute walk from McCarthy), and the Niz­ina Riv­er, some 9 miles away. Watch for the bridge over McCarthy…  ...more

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