Headquarter's Visitor Center Switching to Winter Hours on Sept. 20th
Wrangell-St Elias's main visitor center, located near Copper Center, AK, will be switching to winter hours starting September 20th. The new hours of operation are Mon.-Fri. 9:00 am-4:00 pm and closed on Saturday and Sunday.
Driving Park Roads
Only two roads actually penetrate the park, The Nabesna Road, and the McCarthy Road. Both are gravel, but usually passable to all vehicles during the summer months (high clearance is highly-recommended). Conditions can change quickly here, so it is always a good idea to stop by a park visitor center to check on current road conditions before heading out.
Driving a Rental?
The Road Less Traveled
The Nabesna Road was originally built in 1933 by the Alaska Road Commission to supply Nabesna Mine and to ship out its ore. Today, the Alaska Department of Transportation maintains the Nabesna Road and, generally, the road is passable by most two-wheel drive vehicles. However, higher clearance and/or four-wheel drive are occasionally needed beyond Mile 29 due to stream crossings. Wet conditions such as spring run-off and heavy rain can make these stream crossings impassable. The last four miles of the road are not maintained and may be deeply rutted and wet. Vehicle travel on this portion of the road is not recommended.
Get the Nabesna Road Audio Tour!
Born On Rails
It will take about 3 hours each way to drive this road. If you don't want to take your own vehicle on the road, you can take a shuttle or fly there. The road ends at the McCarthy bridge (foot traffic only). From McCarthy, it's a five mile hike to the Kennecott historic mine area. For those who would rather not walk, there are shuttle rides available during the summer months.
Did You Know?
The ptarmigan is perfectly camouflaged with mottled brown feathers in summer, and solid white plumage in winter.