Childs Glacier & Recreation Area

NOTE: A bridge at Mile 36 of the Copper River Highway is currently (2020) impassable, with repairs not expected for several years. Child’s Glacier is not currently accessible by road. Contact Cordova Ranger District for current venders providing transportation options to the far side.

This very active glacier forms a wall along the fabled Copper River near a historic railroad route that once serviced the world’s largest copper mine. The striated face looms over the roiling, silt-swollen river, directly across from a popular campground—a startling only-in-Alaska setting that has to be seen to be believed. Calving icebergs have been known to splash waves large enough to wash into the forest and strand migrating sockeye salmon flopping on the ground. As if the spectacle of shattering ice and the sudden appearance of fish isn’t enough, the historic (and now broken!) Million Dollar Bridge is only a few hundred yards away, where the railroad once continued north toward the mines at Kennicott in the present Wrangell St. Elias National Park.

Viewing

Viewing the glacier is easy, once you reach this small campground just past Mile 48 of the Copper River Highway. It simply looms—a great blue-white wall a quarter mile to the west. Set up a camp chair on the beach or at a viewspot in the campground, and wait for the show.

Getting There

Coordinates
Latitude: 60.67105
Longitude: -144.746

From Cordova—accessible by air or boat about 150 miles southeast of Anchorage— take the Copper River Highway out of town across the vast Copper River Delta region to about Mile 48, where it ends at the Childs Glacier Recreation Area.

NOTE: A bridge at Mile 36 is currently (2020) impassable, with repairs not expected for several years. Contact Cordova Ranger District for current venders providing transportation options to the far side.

Photos