USA // Alaska //

Practicalities

Half the fun is getting to McCarthy along 58 rugged miles of the McCarthy Road, following the abandoned railroad that once linked the Kennicott mill to the port at Cordova. Take it slow and stop often to admire the scenery and abandoned trestle bridges. At the end of the road you cross the Kennicott River on a footbridge and continue half a mile to the village of McCarthy on foot, from where a shuttle bus runs along four miles of dirt road to Kennicott. Hitching along the McCarthy Road can be a hit-or-miss affair; if you haven’t got a vehicle you can go with Backcountry Connection (t 1-866/582-5292, w http://www.kennicottshuttle.com), who charge $139 return from Glennallen. The park’s visitor centre is just south of Glennallen at Mile 107 on the Richardson Highway (summer daily 9am–7pm; t 907/822-5234, w http://www.nps.gov/wrst).

Accommodation around McCarthy and Kennicott isn’t cheap, though the Kennicott River Lodge and Hostel (t 907/554-4441, w http://www.kennicottriverlodge.com; ($81–160)), near the road end, has four-bunk cabins ($30 pp) and nice common areas. The atmospheric Lancaster’s Backpacking Hotel, in McCarthy (t 907/554-4402, w http://www.mccarthylodge.com) has simple rooms with shared bathrooms ($68 single, $98 double), and the associated Ma Johnson’s Hotel ($131–160) is also very pleasant, with good food across the road at the McCarthy Lodge. In Kennicott there’s the upmarket Kennicott Glacier Lodge (t 1-800/582-5128, w http://www.kennicottlodge.com; $161–200), which also has the town’s one restaurant (reserve for dinner).

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