Explore Wrangell-St. Elias National Park Kennecott Mines
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Added by Mike Quine
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.
For a day hike:
- Day pack
- 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
Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.
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
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