Paved road from Richardson Highway to Chitina; 35 miles (56 kilometers). Narrow gravel road from Chitina to McCarthy; 61 miles (98 kilometers). This route is the primary road into Wrangell-Saint Elias National Park, the largest park in the United States (six times as big as Yellowstone). The first 33 miles to Chitina are paved. Beyond this point, the McCarthy Road follows the abandoned grade of the Copper River and Northwestern Railway. This route is extremely narrow, so pass oncoming vehicles with caution. Even if you are driving a passenger car, you may have to find a wide spot to pull over to allow another vehicle to pass.
This part of the route runs through Wrangell-Saint Elias National Park, but most of the roadway is flanked by privately owned land. The road dead-ends on the banks of the Kennicott River. The town of McCarthy and the abandoned Kennecott Copper Mine lie across the river, and at the time this book was written, they could only be reached via a hand-powered cable tram above the water. This eTrail is a complete description of a scenic drive with a route map and information on the best travel seasons, interesting sites, recreation opportunities, camping locations, and much more.
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