Kennecott Mines

Chitina, Alaska

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1 Review
3 out of 5
Historic buildings of the Kennecott Copper Corporation and nearby onceboisterous town of McCarthy sit beside the Kennicott Glacier. High above, on precipitous mountain slopes, mines once disgorged precious blue-green ore onto aerial trams for transporting to the mill 4,500 feet below. Abandoned wagon roads leading to three of the mines, Erie, Jumbo, and Bonanza, are trails into history. Through the years, Alaskans who prefer a more remote lifestyle have been reclaiming the settlements. New summertime activity came with the area’s designation as Wrangell–St. Elias National Preserve and the subsequent arrival of tourists. Sixty miles of gravel access road limits the number of visitors, however. The road is not recommended for large camper vehicles or trailers. Allow 2 /2 hours to drive the rough road, and beware of flat tires; railroad spikes churned up by road graders are a threat. The road terminates at the Kennicott River.
55 Ways to the Wilderness in Southcentral Alaska

DESCRIPTION FROM:

55 Ways to the Wilderness in Southcentral Alaska

by Helen D. Nienhueser & John Wolfe Jr. (The Mountaineers Books)

Historic buildings of the Kennecott Copper Corporation and nearby onceboisterous town of McCarthy sit beside the Kennicott Glacier. High above, on precipitous mountain slopes, mines once disgorged precious blue-green ore onto aerial trams for transporting to the mill 4,500 feet below. Abandoned wagon roads leading to three of the mines, Erie, Jumbo, and Bonanza, are trails into history.

Through the years, Alaskans who prefer a more remote lifestyle have been reclaiming the settlements. New summertime activity came with the area’s designation as Wrangell–St. Elias National Preserve and the subsequent arrival of tourists. Sixty miles of gravel access road limits the number of visitors, however. The road is not recommended for large camper vehicles or trailers. Allow 2 /2 hours to drive the rough road, and beware of flat tires; railroad spikes churned up by road graders are a threat. The road terminates at the Kennicott River.

©  Helen D. Nienhueser & John Wolfe Jr./The Mountaineers Books. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Chitina
Distance: 24
Elevation Gain: 6,600 feet
Trail Type: Several options
Duration: 4 hours- 1 day
Season: June-Sept
Local Contacts: Wrangell-St.Elias National Preserve
Local Maps: Trails Illustrated “Wrangell–St. Elias National Park and Preserve”
Driving Directions: Directions to Kennecott Mines

Recent Trail Reviews

8/26/2010
0

These trails up to the mines are fine, for what they are- basically walking uphill for four or so hours until you reach the old mine sites (the entrances have been sealed by the Park Service for safety). The views of the Kennicott River Valley are gorgeous, the mines and their artifacts are interesting, but with all the fantastic backcountry hikes in this area, why are NONE listed except this "tourist" hike? The iconic Goat Trail comes to mind, as well as many other routes around Skolai Pass, Chitistone Canyon, routes in the Chugach Mountains, and the Crystalline Hills. We did a really sweet airstrip-to-airstrip hike in Steamboat Hills this year. Wrangell-St. Elias National Park is enormous and filled with amazing hikes. If you find yourself in the Kennicott-McCarthy region, buy one of the two trail guide books available for this park and have an adventure instead.



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May 2018