National Park and Preserve - Alaska
Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve
Wrangell–St. Elias National Park and Preserve is located in
southeastern Alaska. This park was established in 1980 by the
Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act. The park area
is included in an International Biosphere Reserve and is part of
a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is the largest national park in
the United States by area, covering an area of 20,587 square
miles, or over 13 million acres.
Mount St. Elias is situated on the border of Wrangell–St. Elias
National Park and Canada's Kluane National Park and Reserve. At
18,008 feet, Mt. St. Elias is the second highest mountain in
both Canada and the United States. In all, nine of the 16
highest peaks on U.S. soil are located in the park, along with
North America's largest subpolar icefield, glaciers, rivers, an
active volcano, and the historic Kennecott copper mines.The vast
majority of the park is designated as wilderness, and the
Wrangell–St. Elias Wilderness is the largest designated
wilderness in the United States.
The park is accessible by highway from Anchorage; two rough
gravel roads wind through the park, making much of the interior
accessible for backcountry camping and hiking. Chartered
aircraft also fly into the park. Wrangell–St. Elias received
61,085 visitors in 2007 and is quickly gaining popularity
through its combination of size, remoteness, and accessibility.
Wrangell-St. Elias National Park Hiking & Backpacking
A hiking trip in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve can
be an exciting and rewarding wilderness experience if you are
prepared for the difficulties and hazards of traveling through
rugged, undeveloped land. Here, you will experience solitude,
self-reliance, and unaltered nature to an extent seldom found
Because there are very few maintained trails within the park,
travel through dense brush, along steep scree slopes, and across
fast and cold glacial streams and rivers should be expected. For
most routes, map and compass reading skills are essential.
Weather in these mountain ranges can vary to extremes in
relatively short time periods. Summer snow storms may occur at
elevations of 4,500 feet and above. It is best to expect almost
any possibility with a variety of layerable clothing, raingear,
and extra food. Be sure to bring Bear Resistant Food Containers
for all food.