Points of Interest
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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!
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
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
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
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