Alaska’s sixth highest peak, the 16,237-foot Sanford dominates the northwest corner of the Wrangell Mountains about 200 miles northeast of Anchorage and 40 miles east of Glennallen. With its crown perpetually shrouded in snow and ice, Sanford’s geology is not well studied by volcanologists. A ridge ramps toward the summit from the north, and a 7,200-foot cliff forms a dramatic amphitheater to the south, making its shape especially dramatic. Scientists believe Sanford has not erupted in many thousands of years.
Best Viewing Spots
About 180 miles northeast of Anchorage
A great view of Sanford (and its sister volcanoes of Drum and Wrangell) fills the windshield during the final 10-mile-drive east into Glennallen on the Glenn Highway. Many pullouts in the area, and along the Tok Cutoff Highway toward Gakona and Chistochina, will feature different views of this colossal peak.
More views can be found at the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park visitor center at Mile 106.8 of the Richardson Highway, about 10 miles south of the intersection with the Glenn Highway.
For More Information
Sanford rises from a rugged wilderness area inside the national park on the other side of the Copper River from Alaska’s highway system and has no practical overland approach. But backcountry adventurers and mountaineers do visit and climb Sanford, most often traveling up the long north ridge after crossing the Copper River or getting dropped off by small aircraft. Sanford is a popular flightseeing destination.