Alaska is a big state and distances can be deceivingly long. Transportation is often a challenge throughout the state, but once you figure it out it, your travel time will become one of the highlights of your trip. Beautiful views are everywhere, whether you travel by car, bus, boat, train or plane, and there are numerous roadside stops along Alaska's highways with great opportunities for photography, short hikes and Alaskan "culture"!
McCarthy & Kennecott are located in the Kennicott** Valley at the end of the 60 mile (96 km) McCarthy Road from Chitina. This is the heart of Wrangell St. Elias National Park and there are several ways to get to us...
For travelers with a little extra time, driving is an excellent way to travel to America's largest national park and experience the charm and beauty of Alaska along the way. Major highways in Alaska are generally maintained in good condition, with helpful signage and services along the way. 511.Alaska.gov provides comprehensive highway information for the state of Alaska. Additionally, there are countless opportunities to stop and enjoy the spectacular scenary along the way. Click here for a map of Alaska's highways and a chart of driving times to help you plan your journey.
The McCarthy Road
The McCarthy Road provides scenic and adventurous access to the towns of Kennecott and McCarthy and the 13.2 million acre Wrangell St. Elias National Park. Beginning in Chitina, this unpaved road runs 60 miles (96 km) to the Kennicott River near the town of McCarthy and is not maintained during the winter. There is no vehicle access across the Kennicott River; however, a footbridge and local shuttle service provide convenient access to the historic towns. Along the way, the road traverses majestic spruce forests, lively glacial rivers, and provides spectacular views of the Wrangell and Chugach Mountain ranges. If you’ve got the time, driving the McCarthy Road is a true adventure through remote Alaska!
Rent a car
In recent years, the condition of The McCarthy Road has improved so much that many car rental agencies allow their vehicles to be driven on it. Here are some suggestions:
Levi Car Rental in Anchorage - (907) 563-2279
High Country Car and Truck Rental in Anchorage - 888-685-1155 or 1-907 562-8078
Enterprise Rent-A-Car in Anchorage. Use the local alaska number: 1 907 563-5050 to get approval for the McCarthy Road.
A-1 Car Rental in Anchorage - 1-800-546-6065 or 1-907-929-1222. Very low rates and some larger vehicles too.
Go North Alaska Travel Center in Anchorage and Fairbanks offers 4 wheel drive vehicles. Call 866-236-7272 or (907) 479-7272
Backcountry Connection offers daily van service from Glennallen to McCarthy. Their site also has good information about connecting service to and from Anchorage and other destinations.
Alaska is served by direct flights from major cities throughout the United States as well as some international destinations. Additionally, connections can be made to many destinations within Alaska. Most visitors fly to the major cities of Anchorage or Fairbanks to start their adventures. From there it is possible to arrange flights with the companies listed below for all or part of your journey to the Wrangell St. Elias National Park. Click here for a map of air routes and charts of flight times to and within Alaska.
Wrangell Mountain Air offers three daily flights from Chitina, at the edge of the park to McCarthy. They also offer charter flights from Anchorage and other destinations within Alaska. Many of our visitors rent a car in Anchorage, drive to Chitina, and catch a flight from there. For the really adventurous folks, you can then raft back to your car on a 3 or 4-day wilderness rafting trip with Copper Oar!
Ellis Air offers scheduled flights to McCarthy from Anchorage or Glennallen on Wednesdays and Fridays. Get delivered with the mail!
Although, not the most direct route to the Wrangell St. Elias National Park, incorporating a ride on an Alaska Marine Highway ferry can add a scenic adventure to your trip. It is possible to ride the ferry system all the way from the "Lower 48" to Alaska. Most visitors, however, choose shorter trips. A popular loop is to rent a car in Anchorage, visit the Wrangell St. Elias National Park, drive to Valdez, catch the ferry to Whittier (with your car), then return to Anchorage. Don't forget to visit Pangaea Adventures while you're in Valdez for some spectacular sea kayaking.
Copyright 2009, McCarthy-Kennecott Visitor Information Center, All Rights Reserved.