Getting There

17 Silk Stocking Row is in a very remote location in the middle of Wrangell St. Elias National Park & Preserve. Roads wind through spectacular scenery, but getting here is definitely an adventure (and well worth the effort, we think!) and we want you to understand what’s involved.

Driving on Alaska’s road system can take longer than it would to drive a similar distance elsewhere.  Here are distances and driving times to the West Side of The Kennicott River (the end of the road):

From Anchorage

314 miles 7.5+ hours
From Fairbanks 374 miles 9.5+ hours
From Denali National Park 395 miles 11.0+ hours
From Valdez 176 miles 5.5+ hours
From Glennallen 125 miles 4.0+ hours
From Chitina (the McCarthy Road):

McCarthy Road Guide – Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve (U.S. National Park Service)

60 miles

~3 hours

Driving to Chitina

The drive from Anchorage, Fairbanks or Denali National Park goes through Glennallen, then south onto the Richardson Highway past Copper Center to the Edgerton Highway, about 34 miles from Glennallen (and about 80 miles north of Valdez). This road runs 33 miles to the town of Chitina, located at the confluence of the Copper and Chitina rivers. Beyond the two gas stations located in Glennallen, fuel can be available at the Tazlina River Trading Post (Grocery and Liquor Store at Mile 110.7 Richardson Highway: 907-822-3277), in Kenny Lake at the Kenny Lake Mercantile & RV Park (Mile 7.2 Edgerton Highway: 907-822-3313) and in Chitina at Spirit Mountain Gas (24/7 Card-only, unleaded-only gas pump in Downtown Chitina at Mile 33 Edgerton Highway: 907-823-2265).

Chugach Mountains Near Matanuska River

Matanuska Glacier View

Nelchina Glacier

Wrangell Mountains from Richardson Highway

Copper River at Chitina

Driving from Chitina to the West Side of the Kennicott River:  The McCarthy Road

Once across the Copper River, drive the McCarthy Road, which winds another 63 miles along the old roadbed of the Copper River and Northwestern Railway to the Kennicott River. Under normal conditions the road takes about 3 hours to drive, though bad weather can make the road more difficult. It’s wise to be prepared with food, water, a full-sized spare tire and jack, and a full tank of fuel. Although many guide books say otherwise, lots of people find the McCarthy Road a relatively easy drive. The road has been improved over the years, though it’s still important to watch for large potholes, bumps, washboard, ruts from overflow, soft shoulders, and oncoming traffic. Visibility may be limited due to brushy conditions. The speed limit is 35 Miles Per Hour but conditions and residential areas warrant reduced velocity in numerous locations.

Some car rental companies say they prohibit taking their cars on the McCarthy Road.  Other companies allow “gravel ready” vehicles to drive the road.  You can check with the following:  Alaska 4×4 Rentals , Go North Alaska , or Budget Car Rental.

The steel span that extends over the 238 foot deep Kuskulana Canyon, about 16 miles out of Chitina, is the only railroad bridge still in use. The bridge was built in two months during the winter of 1910 in temperatures as low as 60 below zero! About halfway down the McCarthy Road are the remains of the Gilahina trestle, containing half a million board feet of lumber, built in late January, 1911 in eight days.

Confluence of Copper and Chitina Rivers

Approaching the Kuskulana Bridge 1974

Kuskulana Bridge 1974 (It's been upgraded considerably since then!

Gilahina Trestle 1974

Top of Gilahina Trestle

Mt. Blackburn from McCarthy Road

Mt. Regal & Stairway Icefall From the End of the McCarthy Road

*To avoid surprises along the highway, KNOW B4 U GO. Visit:                                      

The End of the Road: Parking and Crossing the Footbridge from West to East Side of the Kennicott River

The McCarthy Road ends at a footbridge across the Kennicott River. Once there, you’ll need to park and then haul your gear across the Footbridge to the East Side of the River. You will need at least 45 minutes to park and pay for parking, haul your gear across the Footbridge, and load into a vehicle on the east side of the Footbridge. This includes at least 15 minutes to arrange parking at the east end of the McCarthy Road near the Kennicott River, and 30 minutes to drop off/carry your gear and use wheeled hand-carts (to be found at one end or the other of the Footbridge) to get your party and gear across the Footbridge.

There are three privately owned parking lots within the last mile of the McCarthy Road. They vary in price depending on proximity to the Footbridge. You may want to determine a preferred parking option ahead of time in order to streamline your arrival:


Distance from Footbridge


Mile 58.4 McCarthy Rd.

1 mile (1.6 kilometers)


Parking near “Visitor Information” sign (attended 10 AM to 7 PM)

0.5 miles (.8 kilometers)


Base Camp Kennicott

Mile 59.4 McCarthy Rd.

May 15 – Sep. 15, ’24

Next to Footbridge

Emergency-only #: 907-554-1062

Getting to 17 Silk Stocking Row – From the East Side of the Kennicott River Footbridge

There are essentially two parts to getting to 17 Silk Stocking Row:  1) getting the 5 miles (8 kilometers) from the Footbridge to Main Street Kennecott; and 2) getting the last .25 miles (.4 kilometers) up the hill to 17 Silk Stocking Row.

Take a shuttle from the East Side of the Footbridge to Main Street Kennecott and then walk up the hill to 17 Silk Stocking Row, leaving your gear in a vehicle on Main Street Kennecott for us to collect and deliver.

Cost $5 per seat (plus a cost per seat for gear)

First take a shuttle to Main Street Kennecott– One-way fare to Main Street Kennecott is $5.00 per passenger with luggage or cooler held in a passenger’s lap. Additional items that cannot fit onto a passenger’s lap will cost additional fare, and the seat(s) will be available only if the van has room for more gear. This means that anything you can’t hold in your lap must be placed on additional seat(s), and you will be charged $5 for each seat you use, assuming there is room in the van.  Schedules can vary with the season; during the peak shuttle season there are 20 departures a day from the River and 20 departures a day from Mainstreet Kennecott, with the first shuttle leaving the River (east side of the footbridge) at 9:00 AM with the last shuttle at 6:30 PM.  Plan to arrive an hour ahead of the day’s last shuttle! The shuttle ride between the Footbridge and Main Street Kennecott takes approximately 30 minutes. Call Copper Town Shuttle at 907-554-4402 or shuttle operator Dan Talcott (425-351-5021) for more detail.

Then leave your gear on Main Street in Kennecott and walk up the hill to 17 Silk Stocking Row. We are happy to transport your gear in our pickup. If you will arrive earlier at Main Street Kennecott, you can prearrange with us to leave non-scented luggage in the back of our white Ford 150 pick-up truck at the Day-Use Parking Area, located on the McCarthy side of the shuttle stop, just south of the National Park Service Visitor Center on Main Street in Kennecott. If it’s raining, you can cover your gear with a tarp we’ll have available. We ask that you leave coolers and other scented items that could attract bears inside the cab of the truck, which will be left unlocked. We will then drive your items to 17 Silk Stocking Row after 5:00 PM. Please be in touch with our hosts on the day of your arrival so they are aware that your luggage is in the truck!

Communicating With Us on Day of Arrival

Yes, there’s a lot involved in getting to 17 Silk Stocking Row, though it’s not really as complicated as it may sound. The real key is communicating with us so we can help make sure everything goes smoothly for you. Once you make a reservation at 17 Silk Stocking Row, we’ll be in touch to confirm your reservation. Then a few days before your arrival our hosts will be in touch to clarify logistics. Then on the day of your arrival we ask that you be in touch with our hosts by phone or SMS as you depart from your point of origin, depart Glennallen, in Chitina, where there’s cellular reception near Mile 55.2 on the McCarthy Road at the State Firewise Wayside (gravel pull-out with vault toilets and exhibit panels), and at the west side of the Kennicott River.

Along the McCarthy Road and in Kennicott, Verizon phones work in intermittent locations when cellular towers are operating properly, but other carriers stop functioning reliably near Glennallen. There are public phones along the route (at the Chitina Wayside pavilion and at the end of the road just west of the Kennicott River). These phones are free to a number beginning with “907-554” but require a long distance calling card for all other numbers.

Check In

Cottage check-in time is between 4:00 PM and 8:00 PM. Check-out time is before 11:00 AM.


Another option is to fly from Chitina or Gulkana to the 3,500 foot gravel McCarthy Air Strip located located 4 miles (6.4 kilometers) from Kennecott and then take the airline shuttle to Main Street Kennecott. The flight route includes the flanks of 16,390 foot (4,996 meters) Mt. Blackburn and along the 7,000 foot (2,134 meters) Stairway Icefall and provides a great overview of the area. Wrangell Mountain Air (1-800-478-1160) and Copper Valley Air Service (Alaska Air Taxi:, 907-822-4200) provide several flights daily between Chitina and McCarthy-Kennicott during the summer season. If you fly with Wrangell Mountain Air, they will transport you from the airstrip to Main Street Kennecott as part of your fare. You would then need to make arrangements with our hosts to get you and your gear the last .25 mile (.4 kilometer) up the hill to 17 Silk Stocking Row.


Anchorage and Fairbanks to Glennallen area; Glennallen to Kennicott River; Anchorage to Kennicott River:

Interior Alaska Bus Line
(1-800-770-6652) This company offers routes connecting both Anchorage and Fairbanks with Tok, with multiple stops along the way, including Glennallen.

Soaring Eagle Transit
(907-822-4545) This shuttle service transports people from Anchorage to Glennallen and Valdez. (907-822-5292) Offers shuttle service from Glennallen to the Chitina and the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. (907-707-9921) Anchorage-McCarthy shuttle offers two trips per week to and from McCarthy.

Local knowledge for travel in Alaska’s Greater Copper Country: (Be sure to expand the flip book to full screen.)

National Park Service Visitor Information

Download and enjoy the official newspaper and visitor’s guide to Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, The K’elt’aeni, meaning “the one that controls the weather.” Named for the local Ahtna Athabaskan word for Mount Wrangell, this full-color newsletter will help you plan and enjoy your journey in this immense wilderness park.

Trip Planning
Park Facilities
Guide to Park Roads
Hiking Information
…and more

Download the Current Issue
(12 pages, PDF format, 2.2 MB)

Important Dates:

  • Headquarters Visitor Center:  Open May 13 – September 15, 7 days/week, 9:00am-5:00pm
  • Slana Ranger Station:  Open May 24 – September 21, 7 days/week, 9:00-5:00pm
  • Chitina Ranger Station:  Open May 24 – August 31, Friday and Saturday only, 9:00am-5:00pm
  • Kennecott Visitor Center:  Open May 24 – September 6, 7 days/week, times vary.