Hiking & Backpacking
A hiking trip in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve can be an exciting and rewarding wilderness experience if you are prepared for the difficulties and hazards of traveling through rugged, undeveloped land. Here, you will experience solitude, self-reliance, and unaltered nature to an extent seldom found elsewhere.
Learn more about Hiking Trails and Routes in and around Wrangell-St. Elias!
Find out about our Backcountry Public-Use Cabins!
Because there are very few maintained trails within the park, travel through dense brush, along steep scree slopes, and across fast and cold glacial streams and rivers should be expected. For most routes, map and compass reading skills are essential. Weather in these mountain ranges can vary to extremes in relatively short time periods. Summer snow storms may occur at elevations of 4,500 feet and above. It is best to expect (and prepare for) almost any possibility with a variety of layerable clothing (polypropylene, wool or pile), raingear, and extra food. Be sure to bring Bear Resistant Food Containers for all food.
Carry food for several extra days in case of unexpected delays. Assistance may be days or miles away, so be extraordinarily careful in this vast region. Ask park rangers or local residents about weather conditions and the reasonableness of trying to reach certain points. Walking across the spruce muskeg with a pack or crossing rivers can take much more time than expected. From a distance the landscape may look like easy hiking, but place a foot in it and you quickly find out the land tests your endurance as you hop from tussock to tussock and try to avoid hidden pools of water.
While planning your trips, remember that there are very few actual "trails" like you may find in other tame national parks in the lower 48. Here you will mainly find rugged, un-maintained routes over which you may only be able to travel a few miles in a day.
Donoho Basin Group Camping
Did You Know?
The Malaspina Glacier, larger than Rhode Island, was named in 1874 for Capt. Alejandro Malaspina, an Italian navigator who, in service to Spain, explored the northwest coast of North America in 1791.