Kennicott-McCarthy Area Information
Two little towns, one big community.
Located deep in the heart of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, Kennicott and McCarthy offer visitors a glimpse at Alaska’s historic past, incredible wilderness access, and a chance to experience a real Alaskan bush town.
Kennicott-McCarthy are at the end of the 60 mile McCarthy Road deep in the heart of Wrangell St. Elias National Park. Sleepy in the winter months, in the summer permanently seasonal locals return to reunite with friends and run their businesses. After driving into the middle of nowhere visitors are often surprised by the vibrant community, great food and weekend music that welcomes you to the wilderness.
Kennicott was built, beginning in 1902, to support mining the richest copper deposit ever found. Home to the famous fourteen story mill building, where trams from the Bonanza Ridge 4,000 ft above brought ore to a waiting train, Kennicott was an all-business company town. McCarthy was the town of saloons, brothels and boarding houses that grew up down the hill. These two towns are where the wild west met the last frontier for a grand finale of the age. The unimaginable railroad that accessed the area operated from 1911-1938 and the story goes that residents were only given 24 hours notice when the last train, ever, was leaving. Kennicott and McCarthy became ghost towns overnight.
Over the years McCarthy was reborn as a year round bush community. Kennicott began to draw visitors wanting to marvel at the giant buildings quietly overlooking the glacier valley. When Wrangell-St. Elias became a national park in 1980 the private property in Kennicott and McCarthy became private inholdings, making them tiny towns surrounded by the largest National Park in the county.
Today, Kennicott is a National Historic Landmark and KWG’s office on Main Street is a hub for locals and visitors alike. Swing through to get some info, take in the view from the deck, or check out some incredible food from our neighbor at the Meatza Wagon. Our location gives us foot access to the Root Glacier and hike-in access to the Kennicott Valley and beyond.
McCarthy is a cute collection of cabins in the woods, a fun bar, great restaurants and a thriving music scene. Stroll around town, visit the museum, and get some world famous french fries at The Potato.
Check out our Wrangell-St. Elias National Park page to see why it’s so great to be surrounded by the wilderness!