Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve
Climb some of the nation’s highest mountains and peer toward imposing glaciers at Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve. Uncover artifacts from man’s attempts to tame this unruly region. Forge your own pathway through a wilderness of tundra and wetland.
At 13.2 million acres (5.3 million hectares), this is the the largest national park in America. It holds four mountain ranges, a glacier the size of Rhode Island and thousands of miles of wild coastline.
Located in the southeastern corner of this unimaginably large area, the town of McCarthy is the place to begin your trip. Pick up information or purchase maps and supplies here before heading into the wilderness of the park.
Follow the road north from McCarthy to reach one of the area’s historical relics, the mines of the Kennecott Copper Company. Now abandoned, these ruins are a reminder of a time during the mid-20th century when local businessmen made their fortune from the rich supplies of local copper.
Continue deeper into the park and select from several giant mountain ranges for further exploration. To the west, the Chugach Range offers superb views over the Gulf of Alaska. To the southeast, the St. Elias Range is home to Mount Saint Elias. At 18,000 feet (5,480 meters), this is the second-highest peak in the United States. Gaze toward civilization in the distance and watch glaciers as they slowly melt and change shape from year to year.
Leave the altitude and icy winds behind and hike toward green lowlands. Pass mountain goats and sheep before you reach areas of flora and soft, boggy ground. Look for moose grazing here and be watchful for bears that feed in the freezing rivers.
Wrangell-St. Elias National Park is located in southcentral Alaska. The main settlement in the park is McCarthy, an 8-hour drive from Anchorage. The other arrival option is flying in; most settlements in the park have an airstrip. Arrange a public or private flight from Anchorage to McCarthy, Copper Center and Willow Creek.
Enjoy an affordable outdoor vacation in this vast wilderness, one of the U.S. national parks that have been set aside for eternal preservation.