Explore Wrangell-St. Elias National Park Kennecott Mines

Rate this Adventure Kennecott Visitor Center

Bordering a harsh and desolate landscape, walk through American ruins that immortalize a nearly lost history of bravery, ingenuity, and the American determination. Within the landscape conserved by Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, there exists the enshrined remnants of a former copper mine behemoth just north of the pioneer town of McCarthy. If you are lucky enough to even get to this historical landmark, your adventure has already started. 

If you have already stepped foot into Wrangell-St. Elias, you probably arrived via bush plane or by heroically navigating the relentlessly brutal, pothole smothered McCarthy Road. Once across the Kennecott River footbridge, you must take the shuttle from the river's edge to Kennecott (NB: the shuttle services to Kennecott in the winter). Once dropped off in Kennecott, the Visitor's Center is within walking distance a few to a hundred feet. This is not a bad place to start.

For up to a mile, the northern trending path will take you passed ruins of the Kennecott mine that operated in the early 1900s. The buildings are a hollow reminder of the grandiose will and determination of the American spirit at the turn of the century. The harsh, yet commanding backdrop to the red facades is an untamed Wrangell-St. Elias wilderness, dotted with mountain ranges and accompanying glacial fields.

If you've come this far, why stop now? Continue to explore into the Park's backcountry wilderness and discover more of what the early miner's discovered.

Pack List

For a day hike: 

  • Snacks
  • Day pack
  • Water
  • Camera to harness history
  • An active imagination

As part of a backpacking journey:

  • Seasonally appropriate backpacking kit
  • Crampons - eventually land runs sparce and glacier take over
Show More
RT Distance 1 Miles
Elevation Gain 100 Feet
Activities Chillin, Photography, Snowshoeing, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Picnic Area
Romantic
Scenic

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Nearby Adventures

More Nearby Adventures

Hike to the Bonanza Mine in the Wrangell St-Elias National Park

This 9 mile strenuous hike will reward the intrepid hiker with a serene setting and in-tact mining ruins for any and all to explore at will.

10 Saves

Hike the Root Glacier to the Donoho Lakes

Traversing the glacier can be a whole day experience in and of itself. Make sure to set aside enough time to explore. I'd plan on at least 3-4 hours total travel time round trip on the glacier alone.

6 Saves

Backpack to Stairway Icefall at Wrangell-St. Elias National Park

We began our trek at the Kennecott Mines, which is a short van ride from the town of McCarthy, which is (semi) road accessible.

11 Saves