Wrangell St. Elias National Park offers visitors a uniquely Alaskan experience far from the beaten path. Our largest national park features exquisite glaciated landscapes and great hiking and rafting opportunities in some of the most pristine wilderness left in the world today. Combine this with the fascinating human history found in the former mining towns of Kennecott and McCarthy and you'll wish you had more time.
We recommend some "must-do" activites to help you maximize the time you have while you're in town. Hiking on the Root Glacier is an amazing way to spend a day; exploring blue pools and sculpted ice and learning about the natural history of the area from an experienced guide. For those who prefer water in its liquid form, rafting down a glacial river is the trip for you. Combine this with a bush plane pick up/flightsee and its sure to be a memorable day. The amazing human history of the area comes to life on a tour of the mill town of Kennecott which, by the way, is the only way to see INSIDE the famous 14-story mill building. And finally, if the sun is shining you'd better take a flightseeing trip. Viewing the park from the air is nothing short of spectacular!
For more information on these activities and many more, we've included links to some local companies that are excited to help you plan your trip.
St. Elias Alpine Guides is the oldest continuously operating guide service in the park, and has been sharing this remarkable wilderness with people since 1978. They have the local knowledge and connections to make your visit memorable. From half-day glacier hikes and one day ice-climbing seminars to multi-day backpacking trips and mountaineering expeditions, SEAG will take you where you want to go in the park with style and professionalism. Their guides are highly trained and some of the most friendly and personable folks you'll meet in Alaska. St. Elias Alpine Guides also has the exclusive concession from the National Park Service to take visitors INSIDE the 14-story mill building and other industrial buildings in Kennecott.
A professionally guided raft trip with Copper Oar is your ticket deep into the heart of the park. They offer wilderness rafting trips from 1-15 days in length, and each is fully outfitted with your comfort in mind. Copper Oar's one-day float and flightsee trip is one of the highlights of a visit to the Kennicott Valley. This trip travels down three glacial rivers and includes guides that are excited to share their knowledge of the area as well as a tasty lunch. After lunch, you'll float through the Nizina Canyon, where 200 foot limestone cliffs tower above you. And, in case that isn't enough, at the end of the river trip a bush plane lands at the edge of the river and carries you back to McCarthy with a spectacular loop over the Kennicott and Root Glaciers, Mt. Blackburn, the Stairway Icefall, and the townsite of Kennecott. What a day!
Wrangell Mountain Air offers access to unique Alaskan experiences beyond the end of the road. From their base in McCarthy, their experienced pilots can fly you to remote areas of the park that are otherwise inaccessible. Glaciers stretch for miles and 9 of the highest peaks tower above their neighbors. Flying through Wrangell-St. Elias is like being inside an IMAX movie. Wrangell Mountain Air offers remote, backcountry drop-offs as well as flightseeing trips from 35 to 90 minutes in length. We recommend flightseeing for every person who visits the park!
If your Alaska adventure takes you to Valdez, Pangaea Adventures can take you on the sea kayaking trip of a lifetime. From their base at the Valdez Harbor, experienced sea kayaking guides can help you get up close and personal with the spectacular, calving glaciers, abundant marine life, and breathtaking scenery of Prince William Sound. With trips ranging from day excursions in Shoup Glacier State Park to multi-day expeditions deep into the Sound you're sure to find an adventure to fit. Pangaea Adventures offers guided glacier hiking and ice climbing on the Worthington Glacier near Thompson Pass. And, the guide service frequently partners with McCarthy-based guide services, St. Elias Alpine Guides and Copper Oar Rafting, to design unforgettable multi-sport adventures involving backpacking, rafting, sea kayaking, climbing, and more!
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