Trek price does not include cost of transportation to McCarthy or lodging in McCarthy before and after the trek as there are several options we can discuss.
A new trip added to our line-and it's a real winner offering both glacier hiking and ridge walks. This is an ideal trip if you are looking for a shorter trip but lots of drama and incredible views.
We do this four day trek as a base camp style trip. Our pilot drops us off on a sand bar airstrip that is less than a mile from where we will set up our camp at one of the pot-hole lakes that dot the area.
The first day we spend exploring the local neighborhood near the camp including a hike down to the river. The next few days include some terrific day hiking as we leave our camp set up and take off with light day loads.
One of our destinations is, not surprisingly, the Fan Glacier. We'll be on the ice in no time and hiking up towards increasingly more amazing views of the glacier and surrounding peaks and valley. We wear crampons for the hike but not to worry, this is a very hiker friendly glacier.
Another hike that we will want to make is up the side of the ridge that rises just behind our camp. Lunch will find us at the highpoint of the hike at one of the most beautiful lunch spots in the park. Afterwards we continue along the side of the ridge which includes some very pleasant hiking and more great scenery. Then we complete the loop by dropping down the other end of the ridge and back to camp.
If you want a base camp style trek that doesn't skimp on dramatic terrain then this is the ideal choice. It's also a great hiking trip for early summer as the snow melts out fast in this area.
The Adventure at a Glance
2 nights in McCarthy, Alaska
4 days/3 nights trekking in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park
Difficulty: Easier to Moderate
Duration: 4 days trekking, 6 days total including travel time
Season: June - Early September
Elevation Gain: +-900 ft.
|Day 1||Our van picks you up at your hotel around 8:00 am for the drive to McCarthy. You may also elect to drive in a rental car. It's an amazing drive and one of the most scenic in Alaska. Arrive in McCarthy around 6:00 pm in time for the meeting with your guide. The guide will review your gear and distribute food and group gear as well as go over logistics for the following departure day.|
|Day 2||We get an early start and begin our trek with a bush flight from McCarthy to the Fan Glacier - our landing strip for the start of this adventure. This is a basecamp trip so we don't have far to go till we set up our basecamp on the other side of some low hills. Once we get all squared away in camp we take off to explore the area surrounding our camp including the nearby river.|
|Day 3||Today we leave our camp set up and enjoy a day of hiking and exploring with light day loads. There is a wonderful ridge just to the south behind the area of our base camp. We take off up one end of the ridge and stretch out our legs on the way up.|
|Day 4||On the third day we usually head out onto the Fan glacier for a day of exploring on the ice. The options are wide open on this day. We can make it as long or short a day as we like. It's all up to the group.|
|Day 5||Hard to believe that it’s already our last day and time to head back. We carry our gear back to the landing strip but we're not done yet. We still have time for a little exploring around the area before the pilot arrives and wisks us back to McCarthy.|
|Day 6||The van departs at 10:00 am for the return trip to Anchorage arriving around 6:00 pm. Overnight in Anchorage|
How Do We Get to McCarthy Alaska?
There are several options.
If you have more than 2 in your group then renting a car out of Anchorage can be a good option.
A shuttle service provides van transportation between Anchorage to McCarthy, Alaska. The shuttle departs Anchorage at 8:00 am arriving around 5:00 pm in McCarthy. This is the besst, most economical way for one or two people to get to McCarthy and back.
If you are driving or taking the shuttle it takes about 8 hours to drive Anchorage to McCarthy.
Round Trip: US $390.00
The van service is operated by Wrangell-St. Elias Tours. Once you have a hotel reservation in Anchorage you will need to let them, as well as me, know where you will be staying. Also give them your cell phone number if you will have one with you.
Wrangell St. Elias Tours
Contact: Jennifer Titus
Ride n Fly
The last 60 miles from Chitian to McCarthy is on the McCarthy road. 40 miles of the road are unpaved. It's usualy in good shape and any vehicle can easily drive it. But some folks prefer not to.
An alternative is to drive to Chitina and from there take the Wrangell Mountain Air shuttle that flies three times daily to McCarthy.
Wrangell Mt. Air - http://www.wrangellmountainair.com/getting_to_alaska.htm
Wrangell Mt. Air can also arrange a charter flight just for your group. Contact them about current rates.
There is a mail plane that flies between Anchorage and McCarthy twice a week - on Mondays and Thursdays. This is a good way for one or two people to get to and from McCarthy. Beautiful flight and no long drive in the car. With only two flights weekly you would likely need to arrive a few days early in McCarthy.
Where Do We Meet?
You will be picked up at your hotel around 8:00 am of Day 1 as shown on the itinerary. The van usually arrives in McCarthy by 6:00 pm At this time you will meet your guide and the rest of the group in McCarthy for an orientation meeting the evening before the trip begins. You will be in contacted approximately 2-3 weeks before your trip and we will specify the exact location of the orientation meeting at that point. The morning of departure it's a short walk across the street to Wrangell Mt. Air where we catch a shuttle van to the airstrip for our departure into the backcountry.
We like to get an early start on the first day as it might take two flights to get everyone into the backcountry. Departure times of 8:30 a.m. are common. Our pickups on the last day are usualy around mid-day to allow us time to get back to McCarthy and get cleaned up and relax before dinner.
Your safety is our top priority. Our treks are led by professional hiking guides, all of whom are certified wilderness first responders or EMT's, each with years of wilderness experience. On most treks the guide carries a satellite phone. If you have any further questions about safety, please contact us at 9074.554.1088 for more information.
Your tour will be led by a trained, experienced professional with a solid guiding background, years of personal wilderness and hiking experience, medical certifications, and a passion for leading people into breathtaking landscapes. Check out our Meet Our Team page for staff bios.
Here is a link to forms that you will need to complete and return to us before the trip. These include medical history, dietary restrictions, conditioning information as well as policies such as cancellations and refunds.
We prefer to run small groups and our clients like it that way too. The standard group size on backpacking trips is 5 guests and 1 guide. Larger groups are possible for private trips. If you have more questions about group size, please give us a call at 907.554.1088 and we'll answer all your questions.
Weather in the Wrangells
Alaska is pretty far north and like any mountain evirronment we are prone to sudden temperature and weather shifts. To be fully prepared, please follow the recommended clothing list closely (this list comes as part of your trip packet when you register). See below for average summer temperatures in Wrangell-St. Elias. July is especialy variable and we have had temps hit the low 80s some summers. Mid August is when things start to cool down a bit but still great hikng weather.
|Average Temperatures (Fahrenheit)|
What's Not Included
: See the Gear List for detailed information on what clothes and gear to bring on your trek.
Meals: What To Expect
All of our hiking and backpacking tours include a diversity of tasty meals packed full of critical carbohydrates, proteins and fats. We carry foods that travel well in the backcountry – rice, pastas, lentils, beans, packaged meats, nuts, breads, oatmeal, granola, and more.
For optimal taste and energy, we supplement all our meals with spices, herbs, oils, cheeses, butter, sugar, and fruits and vegetables. In addition, we provide you with with an assortment of trail mix, snacks, and dried fruits to eat at your own discretion.
We regularly accommodate vegan, vegetarian and non-gluten diets and will make adjustments for food allergies. These and other special dietary requests may require an additional fee.