Boreal Forest Trail

Difficulty

Easy

A pleasant trail system meanders through the forest around the campus of the Wrangell-St. Elias Visitor Center near Copper Center, offering an introduction to the local ecosystem as well as extraordinary views of three volcanoes and the Copper River Valley. The trail has seven interpretive signs and includes a segment of the original Valdez Trail that linked Valdez with Fairbanks during the late 19th century gold rush.

Best Elements

Boreal Trail Loop

With some paved segments, the half-mile Boreal Trail loops through the woods around the parking lot and buildings of the visitor center. Never far from facilities, this flat trail leads to its own overlook and the center’s amphitheater, and offers a wonderful stroll with a good chance of seeing (and hearing) Alaska’s forest songbirds.

Valdez Trail

For an encounter with history, this pioneer track branches off the Boreal trail and extends a few hundred yards toward the Copper River bluff. Close your eyes and you can almost hear the footfalls of Sourdough miners and the creaking trundle of wagons.

Copper River Bluff Trail

This graveled half-mile loop descends from the Boreal trail to an overlook with views of Sanford, Drum and Wrangell volcanoes and the sweeping river valley below. With some moderately steep sections.

Getting There

Coordinates
Latitude: 62.02067
Longitude: -145.36392

About 200 miles east of Anchorage in the Copper River Basin. Drive northeast on the Glenn Highway about 180 miles to Glennallen, then drive south on the Richardson Highway about 10 miles. The turnoff is around 10 miles south of Mile 106.8. Also located about 6 miles north of Copper Center. Call for current times for the guided ranger walk.

Prices & Dates

Season Mid-May to mid-September
Hours 9 a.m.–6 p.m.