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Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve
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General Information

Description - This is an area larger than both Rhode Island and Vermont combined. Glaciers continue to carve and define this beautiful area. Due to the fact that there are only two roads accessing this area- McCarthy and Nabesna- there are not many travelers in the park itself. However, major peaks such as Blackburn, Sanford, Drum, and Wrangell can be seen from nearby highways. This park is the intersection point of four major mountain ranges which consist of nine of the 16 highest US peaks. The Chugach range can be found along the southern coast. From the Gulf of Alaska north, the Saint Elias Mountains pass the Chugach towards and move on towards the Wrangells which are found in the interior of the northern region. The Mentasta and Nutzotin mountains create part of the northern border.

Attractions - The Chugach, Wrangell, and St. Elias mountain ranges converge here in what is often referred to as the "mountain kingdom of North America." The largest unit of the National Park System and a day's drive east of Anchorage, the park-preserve includes the continent's largest assemblage of glaciers and the greatest collection of peaks above 16,000 feet, including Mount St. Elias. At 18,008 feet it is the second highest peak in the United States. Adjacent to Canada's Kluane National Park, the site is characterized by its remote mountains, valleys, and wild rivers, all rich in their concentrations of wildlife. The park is a place for visitors to enjoy the Alaska wildlife and historic mining sites. LIMITED FEDERAL FACILITIES.

Recreation - hiking, backpacking, flightseeing & air taxis, mountain biking, river trips, mountaineering, fishing, hunting, ATVs, sea kayaking, backcountry cabin, and backcountry airstrips

Climate - Despite being near the coast, Wrangell St. Elias exhibits climate characteristics of an interior continental area due to the mountain and icefield barriers.

The winter season is long, dark, and extremely cold with highs around 6ºF and nighttime lows around -50ºF. Dry snow covers the ground up to about two feet deep and clear sky is an usual occurance.

Spring season produces clear skies, longer days warmer temperatures with highs in the 40s and lows which get down to teens and single digits.

Mosquitoes and wildflowers both peak in summer season around June and July. Highs can reach up to 80 but snow is always a potential in the highcountry. Late June to late August is the best time for backcountry activity. Rainfall tends to increase in August and September but drizzling rains are not uncommon throughout the summer season.

Autumn comes early with willows and aspens changing colors by mid-August and ends quickly with the first snowfall often coming in September.

Location - Wrangell-St. Elias is located in southcentral Alaska, about a day's drive from Anchorage. Accessibility to the park can be found via Richardson Highway and the Tok Cutoff. Park headquarters can be found 10 miles south of Glennallen, Alaska in Copper Center.

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Trip Reports:
Add your own trip Report! Newly re-released feature. One of the most popular features on Wildernet, trip reports allow you to share your experiences with others. This is an invaluable resource for determining what to expect on your outdoor adventure, so please participate! To prevent spamming, you must be a registered user of Wildernet in order to submit a trip report

Number of People Encountered: 25-50 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Rafted CHitna river from Huberts landing back to the Copper river. Almost flipped the raft at the confluence of the Tana and Chitna. Only saw 2 bears. One was a little closer that we liked.

More Information

Contact Information:
Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, P.O. Box 439, Mile 105.5 Old Richardson Hwy. , Copper Center, AK, 99573, Phone: 907-822-5234

Additional Information:
Alaska Travel Region - Southcentral -
Alaska Marine Highway System - Designated as an Alaska State Scenic Byway in recognition of spectacular scenery, abundant wildlife, natural beauty, rich cultural heritage and coastal history.
Alaska National Parks and Monuments -
Anchorage Area -

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve - Official agency website


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