Wrangell Mountains

Location: 200 miles east of Anchorage
Features: Mountains, Glaciers, Rivers

Wrangell-Saint Elias National Park has the highest mountains (except for Mt. McKinley in Denali NP) and the highest number of glaciers in Alaska. It's an exceptional mountain range with lots of hiking opportunities.

impressions along McCarthy road

To get to the heart of the Wrangell Mountains, you have to take McCarthy road, a roughly 60 mile long gravel road. When we got there it was in a quite good condition, although during heavy rain I wouldn't recommend driving that road without a 4x4.
There are fantastic views along the way and the closer you get to the end of the road the higher the mountains. The road ends at Kennicot River in the little village of McCarthy, nestled in between giant mountains.
McCarthy is a good starting point for hikes into the mountain range, although hiking in the National Park is not as easy as in other parks. There are usually no maintained trails, simply for the reason, that flooding in the spring season regularly destroys parts of the trails. So you basically hike along rivers and small streams and a map is essential here...

Mt. Blackburn the end of the official trail...

We made a 3-day trip to Nikolai pass, at least that's what we intended to do. I'm still not convinced that we made it, but after the trail simply vanished (see picture above) and after a 4-hour odysee uphill on loose gravel and extremely steep gradients, we decided to make the plateau we reached Nikolai pass.

on the way to Nikolai pass
Although the weather was not perfect, we had a very nice view over the mountains from that point.
Our way out of the National Park was a real pain, since it heavely rained the whole time. This especially sucks if there is no real trail and you have to go through the woods from time to time.
Anyway...if the weather is nice, a hike through the Wrangell Mountains is certainly a breathtaking experience.

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