Wrangell - St Elias National Park & Preserve

Overview

The Chugach, Wrangell, and St. Elias mountain ranges converge here in what is often referred to as the "mountain kingdom of North America." The largest unit of the National Park System and a day's drive east of Anchorage, this spectacular park includes the continent's largest assemblage of glaciers and the greatest collection of peaks above 16,000 feet. Mount St. Elias, at 18,008 feet, is the second highest peak in the United States. Adjacent to Canada's Kluane National Park, the site is characterized by remote mountains, sweeping valleys, wild rivers, and a variety of wildlife.

Map

Seasonality / Weather

The primary season for visiting Wrangell-St. Elias is early June through mid-September. Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve has no entrance stations or gates, and never actually closes. However, Winter arrives early to interior Alaska and by September 15th, available services and facilities are few.

The park administration building in Copper Center is open weekdays year-round from 8:00am - 4:30pm.

Directions

Driving: 

Wrangell-St. Elias is located in southcentral Alaska, a day's drive from Anchorage. The park is accessible via the Richardson Highway (4), and the Tok Cutoff (1).

Park headquarters is located in Copper Center, 10 miles south of Glennallen, Alaska. The main park visitor center, theater, and exhibit buildings are found here. Head south from Glennallen to mile 106.8 of the Richardson Highway. There is also Ranger Stations in Slana, Chitina and Yakutat.

Flying: 

Access into the Park/Preserve is usually by private vehicle along unpaved gravel roads, via watercraft, or by chartered air taxi service from Tok, Glennallen (Gulkana), McCarthy, Valdez, Cordova or Yakutat. Yakutat and Cordova can also be reached by Alaska Airlines (800)-426-0333 which offers daily jet service from both Juneau and Anchorage.

Copper Valley Air has scheduled flights from Anchorage to Glennallen and McCarthy on Wednesdays and Fridays. Wrangell Mountain Air offers three daily trips (Mid-May to Mid-September) between Chitina and McCarthy with advance reservations.

There are numerous airstrips throughout the Park/Preserve. These can be reached via private airplane or by contacting one of the air taxi services licensed to operate in the Park/Preserve.

Public Transport: 

Glennallen, the largest community near the park, is located at the junction of the Richardson and Glenn Highways. Alaska Direct Bus Line runs a bus from Anchorage to Tok, with multiple stops along the way, including in Glennallen. Seasonally, Backcountry Connection makes daily runs from Glennallen, Copper Center, Kenny Lake, Chitina to McCarthy/Kennecott. Group transportation is also available from Anchorage, Denali National Park, Fairbanks & Valdez.