Kennicott is located in Wrangell – St. Elias National Park & Preserve. With 13.2 million acres, it’s the largest national park in the US, the same size as Yellowstone, Yosemite and Switzerland combined! The town is surrounded by rugged mountains, wild rivers, rushing streams, glaciers, and remote valleys, providing many options for hiking, backpacking, mountain climbing, rafting, and glacier trekking. There’s also much to see in the communities of Kennicott and McCarthy. Or you can simply relax at 17 Silk Stocking Row.
Explore the Towns of Kennicott and McCarthy
You can walk around Kennicott with its buildings from the heyday of the Kennecott mines. Visit the National Park Service Visitor’s Center in the old General Store, where you can see a short introductory video about Kennicott or one of several free Park Ranger presentations about the area. You can go into several of the restored buildings and take a guided tour of the mine buildings with St. Elias Alpine Guides.
You can also walk or take a shuttle the 5 miles to McCarthy where you can go to the McCarthy Museum or explore the town.
Hike up to the Bonanza or the Jumbo Mines. This hike is about 9 to 10 miles roundtrip with a 4,000ft elevation change. The trail goes above the tree line with awe-inspiring views of 16,390′ Mt. Blackburn, the Kennicott Glacier, Chitina River Valley and the Wrangell and Chugach Mountains.
Hike to the Root Glacier and beyond. From 17 Silk Stocking Row you can hike about 1.5 miles to the Root Glacier, where you can walk out onto the ice. You can also hike to the Erie Mine, about 5 miles from Kennicott, and Erie Lake, about 7 miles from Kennicott.
Hike the old wagon road toward McCarthy and out to the “toe” of the glacier. The Kennicott Glacier “toe” is about 5 miles from Kennicott, and provides spectacular views of the 7,000′ Stairway Icefall, with the town of Kennicott nestled at the base of the mountains. You’ll pass the old Kennicott cemetery along the way.
You can bike the 5-mile road between Kennicott and McCarthy or the parallel old wagon road. There are also mountain biking opportunities on the rocky old mining roads in the area.
Kennicott Wilderness Guides offer instruction in ice climbing and other mountaineering activities for all ages. St. Elias Alpine Guides provide opportunities for exploring “North America’s mountain kingdom,” with options for glacier exploration, ice climbing, and mountain climbing.
There are several options for rafting near Kennicott:
The Copper Oar offers options for 1- to 4-day rafting trips where you can negotiate white water and spot black and brown bear, moose, wolves, and Dall sheep.
McCarthy River Tours and Outfitters offers half- and full-day leisurely rafting trips on the glacier lake near the “toe” of the Kennicott Glacier as well as full-day rafting trips down the Kennicott River.
Kennicott Wilderness Guides offers full day introductory packrafting trips. The trips are 6-8 hours and begin with a short hike starting at the toe of the Kennicott Glacier. Once in the water, you will learn the basics of packrafting technique and then test your skills on class 1 and 2 and possibly class 3 rapids before ending the trip with a half mile float along the edge of the glacier. No experience is necessary.
Wrangell – St. Elias National Park & Preserve contains the largest assemblage of glaciers and peaks above 16,000 in North America. There are flightseeing services available to show you the wonders of the area. Passengers describe the flights as “incredible”, “awesome”, and the “highlight of our trip.” Wrangell Mountain Air can fly you over Bagley Icefield, the Wrangell and University Mountain Ranges, Chitistone Canyon, Mile High Cliffs, and 13 glaciers.
You can also relax at 17 Silk Stocking Row!
Although you can make your meals in the kitchen at 17 Silk Stocking Row, there are also options for eating out.