Explore Root Glacier by foot near the Kennicott Glacier Lodge.

Things To Do in McCarthy & Kennicott

Recreate off the beaten path in Alaska’s largest national park.

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

Things To Do in McCarthy & Kennicott

Recreate off the beaten path in Alaska’s largest national park.

Things To Do in McCarthy & Kennicott

While part of the fun of seeing the McCarthy and Kennicott area in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park is the journey to get there, there are many things to do once you've arrived. Those activities center around the outdoorsy and the historic. There are trails to hike, glaciers to see, and the fascinating Kennecott Copper Mine to visit. You can do all those things on a half-day guided hike to the Root Glacier. The hiking tour also includes an hour or two trekking on the glacier itself.

That trip begins and ends in the Kennecott Mines National Historic Landmark. The landmark is run by the National Park Service with rangers staffing its visitor center in the summer. You don't have to be a history buff to appreciate exploring such a large mining complex in the middle of nowhere Alaska, and day hikers often spend hours wandering through the buildings and exhibits. A shuttle provides transportation between the Kennecott mine site and McCarthy, its nearest neighbor, for a small fee.

Other favorite local area activities include packrafting and backpacking. Given its tiny size, McCarthy also has a busy live music scene, with local and traveling bands playing a few nights a week during the summer.

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Many travelers will overnight in Copper Center before or after their time in McCarthy. Here you can add a Copper River raft trip before continuing south to Valdez, north to Fairbanks, or on to Anchorage.

The McCarthy and Kennicott area is accessible by small plane or car. Visitors coming by car will travel via the McCarthy Road, a 60-mile gravel road that roughly follows an old train track. Not all rental cars are permitted on the road, so those eager to see this side of Wrangell-St. Elias will need to book a 4x4 rental. Looking for accommodations while you're in the area? Visit our McCarthy/Kennicott lodging page for ideas.

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Things To Do in McCarthy & Kennicott