Wrangell-St Elias National Park—It’s Bigger than Switzerland !

Seriously, it really is bigger than Switzerland at 13.2 million acres its the largest national park in the country. The only thing more impressive than the park’s size, is its remote, untouched, pristine wilderness.

It’s a 4 1/2 hour drive from Anchorage up the Glenn Highway to the Edgerton Highway. At the end of that road is the beautiful little town of Chitina.  From Chitina it’s a mere 60 miles to McCarthy.  Why then does it take more than 3 hours to get there?  The perilous McCarthy road.  It didn’t really occur to me that driving to McCarthy was a bad idea until I arrived in Chitina. First of all, you’re not allowed to take your rental car off road.  Most places I would ignore that rule (sorry Dollar Rental, hope you’re not reading this)  but here, not so much. The road is whats left of the abandoned Copper River and Northwest Railroad bed that was used to transport copper from the mines to Cordova. Legend has it that there are still railroad spikes embedded in parts of the road.

The other reason I decided it was a bad idea is I still don’t know how to change a tire.  In theory I do, I’ve watched the You Tube video and asked the mechanic at the dealership to show me how.  I figured since a flat tire on this road is more of a probability that a possibility, I should figure out another way to get there.

Wrangell Mountain Air to the rescue!  Packed up what I needed into my spare bag, had a burger at the Gilpatrick Hotel and headed to the “airport”  and by airport I mean dirt strip 5 miles outside of town.

I hopped into our little bush plane, seating capacity of 4 and Matthew our awesome pilot beagan the most scenic flight I’ve ever taken.

Next stop—McCarthy

















  1. Sal Tripodi on September 3, 2018 at 8:07 am

    I’m taking notes for our eventual trip to AK

    • Marc Heft on October 7, 2018 at 7:33 pm

      I’m going to do a customized itinerary for you !

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