Chitistone Falls

This legendary cataract deep inside Wrangell St. Elias National Park is difficult to view from the ground and usually requires a three-to-five day wilderness backpacking trip over difficult terrain. Most photographs of the falls are taken during flightseeing trips—showing two tiers that drop 300-plus feet through a gorge that resembles the American Southwest in color and ruggedness. With favorable winds, hikers picking their way along the scree slopes above Chitistone Canyon will hear the falls before they see them. Catching a glimpse of the falls requires route-finding and probably means taking side hikes down steep slopes from the most favorable traveling routes.

Best Viewing Spots

Several overlooks of the falls can be found along the Goat Trail traverse during a trip between Skolai Pass and Glacier River. For sure viewing that doesn’t involve an epic wilderness trip, book a flightseeing charter.

Getting There

Latitude: 61.548181
Longitude: -142.175889

The headquarters for Wrangel St. Elias National Park is about 210 miles east of Anchorage in Copper Center on the Richardson Highway. Most guides and air charters that service the Chitistone Cayon area and do drop-offs for backpacking trips operate out of McCarthy, some 275 road miles from Anchorage at the end of the famous McCarthy Road. The Kennecott Mine site is five miles from McCarthy.

Driving Directions