Directions to Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve

Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve has two road entrances, but before you get excited remember that this is the wilderness of all wildernesses and they are both, therefore, dirt roads.

The main visitor center for the park is at Copper Center, Alaska, along AK Hwy 4 – known as the Richardson Highway to many people, around 10 miles south of Glennallen. To put this more into context, the visitor center is around 200 miles to the east of Anchorage, Alaska, and 250 miles to the south of Fairbanks, Alaska – now you’re getting some idea of where it’s at!

Approximately 75 miles from Copper Center to the northeast is the Nabesna District. There you’ll find a Ranger Station (but you’ll only find Rangers at it in the summer) – the road is around 42 miles long with a total of 3 stream crossings.

Approximately 50 miles from Copper Center in the southeast is the McCarthy Road. Starting in Chitina this stretches for around 59 miles until it reaches the end of the line close to McCarthy. This is a long, bumpy, slow road – there is a Ranger Station at Chitina but again, it is only staffed during the summer.

That’s the Richardson Highway – beautiful ain’t it?

Flying to Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve

If it’s just too far for you to drive to Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve then you can always fly into Anchorage (ANC) – 200 miles from the visitor center remember, or Fairbanks (FAI) – 250 miles from the visitor center. From there you can either take a hire car to continue your journey or hop on the bus . . . more about that in a minute.

There are plenty of airstrips in and around Wrangell-St Elias National Park & Preserve for anyone who is flash enough to have their own airplane. If you don’t have your own airplane there are other options;

  • Wrangell Mountain Air runs a daily flight between Chitina and McCarthy, Alaska, during the summer time only. Call (800) 478-1160 for further information.

Traveling to Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve by Bus

A shuttle bus service is available to and from Glennallen. This is a limited service for which you will need to make reservations.

  • Alaska Direct Bus Line – runs from Anchorage, AK to Toc stopping at a few different places including Glennallen. Ring (800) 770-6652 for more details.
  • Soaring Eagle Transit – runs from Anchorage, AK to Glennallen and on to Valdez. Call (907) 822-4545 for further information.
  • Backcountry Connection – provides a scheduled service on the McCarthy Road during the summer. Call (866) 582-5292
  • Wrangell – St Elias Tours – also provides a summer service. Find out more at (907) 822-5978

Don’t panic if you thought it looked a little scary – the video was sped up rather a lot!