Things To Do In McCarthy-Kennicott

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McCarthy - Kennicott

Day Tours & Attractions

Season: May 26 – Sep 10 $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.

Season: Late June - Early September  $1,525+ 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 15 to Sep 15 $105+ 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: June – September $550+ 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: May 15 to Sep 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: Year Round Flightseeing $250+ | Air Taxi $380+ One Way 1+ hrs

Year-round air ser­vice from Glen­nallen, Alas­ka. Short on time? Check Alaska’s largest nation­al park off your list with a flight­see­ing tour that includes a land­ing in the wilder­ness of the park. Trav­el­ing to McCarthy / Ken­ni­cott? Trav­el like the locals and hop on a mail plane flight. See how back­coun­try mail is deliv­ered and enjoy speedy trans­porta­tion to McCarthy. Or, opt for their sched­uled air ser­vice. Both have depar­tures from Anchor­age and  ...more

Season: May 26 – September 10 $110+ 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 to Sep 15 $995+ 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 $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. 

Season: May 15 to Sep 15 $215+ per person 5 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

The NPS pro­vides a wide range of free pub­lic tours that typ­i­cal­ly last 30 – 60 min­utes and don’t require too much walk­ing. These include walks down Main Street, where you’ll learn about each build­ing and hear what life was like dur­ing the town’s hey­day. You also might find your­self with a nat­u­ral­ist, who will take you a lit­tle ways out­side of town to iden­ti­fy local native plants, trees, and flow­ers. Call the NPS for a cur­rent sched­ule of free…  ...more

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Parks & Trails

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: 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: 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 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: 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

Difficulty: Difficult Distance: 2 miles

The main street in Ken­ni­cott turns into a well-main­tained, 4‑mile-long hik­ing trail just out­side of town. This trail winds along­side the Ken­ni­cott and Root Glac­i­ers, and hik­ing it is a great oppor­tu­ni­ty to expe­ri­ence the grandeur of the Wrangell Moun­tains and see more of the val­ley. It’s a great start­ing point, whether you have only a few hours or are plan­ning a mul­ti-day glac­i­er and moun­tain adven­ture. You will be reward­ed through­out the…  ...more

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.

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