Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, with over 13 million acres, is the largest United States National Park. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage site. Located in Alaska, the park has no trails and you’ll find no Princess Bus Lines (yet). It is a beautifully glaciated, vast and amazing place. You can drive the washboarded McCarthy Road from Chitina to McCarthy and access the park from there. You cannot drive your car into McCarthy. Once at the end of the road you’ll find a footbridge that will lead you into “downtown”. Kennicott, an old copper mining town is 5 miles down the road from McCarthy. Nizina is the other access point. It is worth the price to flight-see as the views are amazing. If time and wallet allow, the best way to get into the back country in via small plane. Base camping or a point-to-point hike might very well become the best memory of your Alaskan adventure.
- 1 Wrangell-St. Elias National Park Visitor Center, Mile 106 Richardson Highway, Copper Center, ☎+1 907-822-5234. All Year: M-F 8AM-4:30PM. Memorial Day-Labor Day: Daily 8AM-6PM. The Headquarters and Visitor Center provides information about the entire park in addition to the administration and management facilities. This new facility between Glennallen and Copper Center. Movie theater, exhibits, and a short nature trail to a spectacular view of the Wrangell Mountains. Park rangers provide guided talks and walks daily during the summer months. Subsistence fishing and hunt permits are also available. Services available in nearby Copper Center include a post office, lodging, gas station, food store, tire repair, and telephone.
- 1 Slana Ranger Station, Mile 0.5 Nabesna Road, ☎+1 907-822-7401. Summer: 8AM-5PM; Winter: Open, but call ahead. The Slana Visitor Contact Station provides information about the northern side of the park and the Nabesna Road. ATV permits, and subsistence permits are also issued here. Bookstore, phone, restrooms, maps, and park film shown on TV by request. Guided ranger interpretive programs available.
- 1 Kennecott Visitor Center, in the historic train depot building within the Kennecott Mill Town, ☎+1 907-960-1027. Memorial Day through Labor Day 9AM-5:30PM. Information hub for the Kennecott Mines National Historic Landmark in the heart of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve. Pick up maps and brochures, join a ranger for a history talk or nature walk, or plan your wilderness excursion. The visitor center also hosts a small branch of the Alaska Natural History Association’s bookstore.
- 1 The McCarthy Road Information Station, mile 59 McCarthy Road. Open Memorial Day to Labor Day 9:30AM-5PM. The information gateway to the communities of McCarthy and Kennecott. As you arrive in McCarthy stop by to get the latest information on parking, shuttle service and park and community events. Rangers are also available to help plan backcountry trips and answer questions. Restrooms and day-use parking are available at this site. Overnight parking and camping can be found at a variety of local private companies.
- 1 Chitina Ranger Station, Chitina, ☎+1 907-823-2205. Summer Only: Staffed with assistance from the Chitina Chamber of Commerce Th-M 2PM-6PM. Historic log cabin. Explore the exhibits and watch the 22-minute park movie. Services available in Chitina include a post office, gas station, store, tire repair, cafe and payphone. The log cabin station is decorated with historic photographs featuring the town of Chitina as a transportation hub, “where the rails meet the trails.” Trains, stagecoaches, dog sleds, and steamboats all passed through Chitina on their way to the mining and commerce centers of Alaska during Chitina’s boom years, 1910-1938.
- 1 Dry Bay Ranger Station, Yakutat, ☎+1 907-784-3295. 8:30AM-4:30PM all year. This Ranger Station and Visitor Center serves both Wrangell-St. Elias and Glacier Bay National Park. Exhibits, information, park video, bookstore, and trip planning. Located at the base of the St. Elias Mountains, the city of Yakutat (pop. 633) is a Tlingit settlement on the Gulf of Alaska. Outdoor guide services and commercial fishing are the primary sources of income for most residents. Yakutat is approximately 220 air miles northwest of Juneau, 218 air miles southeast of Cordova and 342 air miles southeast of Anchorage.