Part of the adventure of visiting Kennicott & McCarthy is getting here.
Getting here is part of the experience and we are here to help! Whether you drive, fly or shuttle, traveling across Alaska is incredible and we encourage you to look forward to the journey.
No matter where you come from, if you drive yourself you will get to experience the adventure of the McCarthy Road. The McCarthy road is the last leg of your journey, 60 miles of dirt road that begins in Chitina and ends at the Kennicott footbridge in McCarthy.
Check out this awesome video from our friends at Alaska.org that describes the journey: Getting to McCarthy
- You do not need 4WD
- The road is maintained during the summer months but does vary in condition from week to week due to rain and use.
- Expect it to take approximately 2 hours. An average of 30-35 miles an hour will help to avoid flats and collisions.
- Make sure your car or rental car has a full sized spare and the tools you need to change it. Flat tire repair service is available in McCarthy.
- Chitina is the last stop for fuel!
- Phone service is reliable for most carriers in Chitina (except AT&T). The road itself has little coverage until the last 10 miles when Verizon and Credo begin to work again.
- Enjoy the drive! It follows the path of old railroad from the mining days and has big vistas and ample opportunity for wildlife sightings.
When you arrive:
- Follow directions from your lodging as to where to park and how to best reach them. If you do not have lodging or are planning to camp it is $10/day to park your car at the end of the road. If your cell phone does not work then please use the courtesy phone at the footbridge to reach us by calling 907-554-4444 (907-554-1044 after 7:30 pm).
Rental Car Companies:
Not all rental companies allow their cars to go down the McCarthy Road and policies change from year to year. Check in with your company before making the booking. The following (by no means a comprehensive) list of companies allow travel down the McCarthy road :
If you rent a car that does not allow travel down the McCarthy Road, there’s an option to drive yourself to Chitina and get either a flight or a shuttle from Chitina to McCarthy to avoid driving the McCarthy Road. See the flying or shuttles tab.
From Anchorage – 314 miles (7-8 hours)
Take the Glenn Highway out of the downtown area and into the Matanuska Valley. Pass the Parks Highway turnoff, continue through the town of Palmer (last stop light and grocery store) and follow it 130 more miles as it twists and turns between the northern boundary of the Chugach Mountains and the southern boundary of the Talkeetna Mountains. Turn south in Glenallen (fuel up), taking the Richardson Highway 33 miles through Copper Center, the Wrangell Mountains boldly presenting themselves in the East. Then turn east (left) on the Edgerton Highway, and cruise 33 more miles to Chitina and the bridge crossing the Copper River. From there it’s 60 miles of dirt to McCarthy.
From Fairbanks – 374 miles (7-8 hours)
Take the Richardson Highway south through Delta Junction and Glenallen before taking a left on the Edgerton Highway to Chitina & McCarthy. A great side trip is taking the Denali Highway 14 miles out of Paxson and staying at Tangle Lakes. Beautiful alpine tundra, lakes, and Alaska Range monster peaks. There is camping and lodging at the end of the pavement.
From Valdez – 176 miles (5 hours)
Take the Richardson Hi-way north 100 miles, then head East (take a right) on the Edgerton Highway to Chitina & McCarthy. This is a gorgeous drive through the Chugach, some highlights including Thompson Pass and following the Tonsina River.
From Denali National Park – 359 miles (8+ hours)
Head East from Caswell on the Denali Highway, which is a dirt road whose condition you should ask about before taking. This runs 120 miles. Once in Paxson, head south on the Richardson Highway through Glennallen, then left on Edgerton Highway to Chitina & McCarthy.
TAKE A SHUTTLE
Taking a shuttle is an easy way to get to Kennicott/McCarthy! It is especially nice for single travelers and may be more cost effective than renting a car. Make sure and contact shuttle companies directly to check for pricing and scheduling.
Take a KWG Shuttle
KWG has a limited number of direct shuttles between Anchorage and McCarthy.
- 14 person capacity Sprinter van
- Comfortable seats with incredible views
- First come first serve
- See “Travel with KWG” page for more details and schedule
Dates and availability are constantly changing, contact us for the most up to date schedule.
If you are looking for transportation service from Anchorage to McCarthy, Kennicott, and the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, look no further! Soak in the beauty that Alaska has to offer and leave the driving to us. Our Anchorage-McCarthy shuttle service runs twice a week, each direction, from May through September.
Copper Spike Transport
Providing direct shuttle service from Anchorage to McCarthy and back again. The schedule is booked on a first come, first serve basis, and the schedule is filled in around those reservations.
Transportation between Anchorage and McCarthy- $200 one way
Direct service every day of the summer from Glennallen to McCarthy and back, with stops in Copper Center, Kenny Lake, and Chitina.
If you don’t want to drive the McCarthy Road, or your rental car does not allow it, this is an excellent alternative without the expense of flying. Kennicott Shuttle is also the only shuttle option for those staying outside of the McCarthy area who want to visit for a single day trip.
BOOK A FLIGHT
Flying saves time in a busy travel schedule and is a phenomenal way to see the vast landscape of Alaska. If you are already considering taking a flightseeing tour while you are in Alaska, air shuttles can be a great way of combining that flight-see experience with an efficient transportation solution.
Book a charter flight to reserve your own plane on the date and time you want. The flight is direct and the views are incredible.
- Contact us and, for no additional fees, we will arrange the best charter for your individualized logistics. We can organize a charter from anywhere in the state, including Chitina and Glennallen. We have listed our most common charter flight below to give you an idea about timing and pricing.
- Flights from Anchorage (approximately 1.5 hours)
- 1-3 people: $1,700 (one way)
- 4-5 people: $2,100 (one way)
- 5+ people: contact us
KWG Scheduled Seat Fare:
Book a Scheduled Seat Fare through KWG to reserve a seat on a pre-scheduled flight. The flights listed are direct flights and are always incredibly scenic.
- See our “Travel with KWG” page for more details and schedule.
Other Flying Options:
For any of the below services you can contact us and we will help arrange the flight and logistics for you, or you can contact the company directly.
Scheduled Flights with Copper Valley Air/ Reeve Air
Regularly scheduled flights between Anchorage, Glennallen and McCarthy on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday throughout the summer season.
See Schedule and Pricing Here
Wrangell Mountain Air
Wrangell Mountain Air offers three daily flights from Chitina (a 5 hour drive from Anchorage, 6 hour drive from Fairbanks and 2.5 hour drive from Valdez).
See Schedule and Pricing Here
THE JOURNEY TO McCARTHY
Check out this awesome video from our friends at Alaska.org!