Visiting McCarthy and the Kennecott Mine is a bit of an investment in time, but trust us when we say it’s worth it. After all, when you consider that if your goal was to visit Valdez (also on our list), then this is just a bit of a bonus stop!
Nestled in the heart of Alaska’s Wrangell-St. Elias National Park Kennecott Mine was discovered in 1900 by two prospectors who saw a green patch of hillside that looked like great grazing for their horses. It turns out they discovered what was one of the richest known copper deposits in the world! Currently, the National Park Service is stabilizing and rehabilitating many of the mill and surrounding town buildings, but the sheer size of the original wooden structure is a sight to behold.
Want to see inside the 14 story concentration mill? You’ll have to book a tour to see this amazing human history come to life, but you’ll be glad you did. Seeing what these people accomplished over 100 years ago is nothing short of amazing.
Exploring the larger area of McCarthy is done in many ways. Hiking on the Root Glacier is an amazing way to spend a day exploring deep blue pools of glacial water surrounded by sculpted ice and learning about the natural history from an experienced guide. You can even poke your head inside ancient ice caves!
PREFER TO EXPERIENCE WATER NOT IN ITS FROZEN STATE?
How about a rafting trip down a glacial river instead. You can dovetail this into a flight-seeing excursion in an Alaskan bush plane, where viewing the park from the air is nothing short of breath-taking. Mountain bike rentals are available to explore the area, and you can even take them on a tram which crosses the Kennecott River!
Hike, fly, raft, explore, and learn about the amazing natural and human history in the McCarthy and Kennecott Mine area where there will be so much to do that you will love having over 19 hours of daylight to squeeze in all your activities.