A summer evening spent admiring views of Wrangell St. Elias National Park.

Things To Do in Copper Center

Raft the mighty Copper River or venture into the vast Wrangell-St. Elias National Park.

Shot of Kennecott, an abandoned mining camp near Valdez Alaska.

Things To Do in Copper Center

Raft the mighty Copper River or venture into the vast Wrangell-St. Elias National Park.

Fireweed growing outside Copper River Princess Lodge.

Things To Do in Copper Center

Raft the mighty Copper River or venture into the vast Wrangell-St. Elias National Park.

Enjoy a scenic float on the Copper and Gulkana Rivers.

Things To Do in Copper Center

Raft the mighty Copper River or venture into the vast Wrangell-St. Elias National Park.

Copper Center Things To Do

The tiny community of Copper Center is tucked along the Old Richardson Highway. It's a jumping-off point for adventurers headed to backcountry expeditions within Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and travelers making their way around the scenic roadways of southcentral Alaska.

The Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve visitor center is an excellent place to begin a visit to Copper Center. Learn about the Ahtna Native Alaskans who have fished, hunted, and traded here for centuries, see a fish wheel, and gather information about the plants and animals of this mountainous region.

Get up close to the valley's productive rivers with a scenic float trip that provides an opportunity to see the salmon-rich Copper and Tazlina rivers. Depending on the season, on the float you can watch a working fish wheel yield a harvest of famous Copper River salmon. You'll also want to keep an eye out for eagle nests, moose, and bear.

Copper Center is five hours from Anchorage and four hours from Fairbanks. It has few services, but does have one full-service hotel, the quiet Copper River Princess Wilderness Lodge. The nearest gas station and stores are in Glennallen. Some people make a loop from Anchorage, staying in Copper Center and then driving their vehicle onto an Alaska Marine Highway System ferry in Valdez, offering mountain passes and tidewater glaciers in one scenic trip of two days or longer.

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If you'd like a deeper dive into Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, consider a flightseeing day trip from the nearby community of Glennallen. A few hours in the air yields big views of the park, including the small communities of McCarthy and Kennecott, the latter a remnant from a copper mine that operated there from 1903 and 1938. Or, if you'd rather drive, take the Edgerton Highway to the 60-mile gravel McCarthy Road, a remote road that only Alaska 4x4 Rentals permit their vehicles to travel.

To learn even more about the Copper Center area, stop by the George I. Ashby Memorial Museum and its two rustic log bunkhouses. Full of artifacts from the 1898 gold rush, Kennecott Mine, and local Athabascan tribal groups, this is a must-see museum for visitors.

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Things To Do in Copper Center