Frequently Asked Questions

Trip Planning:

How do I get to Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve?

How do I learn about the Nabesna area or the northern part of the park?

How do I learn about the Kennecott area or the southern part of the park?

How do I learn about the Yakutat area?

What is the McCarthy Road and the Nabesna Road like? Can I drive my
rental car on park roads?

Is the park open year round? When is the best time to visit?

Where can I get Bear Resistant Food Containers?

Things To Do:

Where can I go hiking in the park?

How do I plan a backpacking trip into the park?

Where can I see animals in the park?

Can I go fishing in the park?

Can I go sport hunting in the park?

What is subsistence hunting/fishing?

Can I use my personal ATV, snowmobile/snowmachine, airplane, helicopter, or motorboat in the park?

Are there airstrips in the park where I can land my own plane?

Where can I find out about hiring a guide or air taxi?

Where do I find out about lodging and camping in the park?

Do you have any public use cabins that I can use in the park?

Background Info About the Park:

How and why was Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve made? What is ANILCA?

What is the purpose/mission of Wrangell-St. Elias?

What is the difference between National Park and Preserve?

Where did the park get its name?

What's so Special about Wrangell-St. Elias?

How difficult is it to access a glacier in the park?
Of the 5,000 square miles of glacial ice in Wrangell-St. Elias, the Root Glacier is the most accessible. A moderate 1 ½ mile walk from the historic mining town of Kennecott along the Root Glacier Trail leads you onto the glacier. Be aware that glaciers can be dangerous. It is recommended to wear crampons or ice spikes on your shoes and go with an experienced guide.

Tours and Ranger Programs:

Does Wrangell-St. Elias have a junior ranger program?

Are park ranger programs available at the park?

Are there any tours that go inside the Kennecott Mill?

Working and Volunteering:

How do I get a job at the park?

How do I volunteer or get an internship at the park?

Natural and Cultural History:

Does Wrangell-St. Elias contain any coastline?

When did Mt. Wrangell last erupt?

Where does the Copper River begin and end?

Will we see the Northern Lights?
Check the Aurora Borealis forecast (University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute website). An auroral display might be observed from dusk until dawn as long as it is dark, which excludes Alaskan summer nights. The best time to view them is between midnight and 3 am, from September through April.

Rules & Regulations:

Are firearms allowed in Wrangell-St. Elias?

Can I pan for gold or collect rocks? Can I collect fossils, antlers, or
horns? What about berries or mushrooms?

Are dogs allowed on trails in the park or in the backcountry?
Dogs are allowed on trails within the park and in the backcountry and it is the owner's responsibility to maintain control over their dogs and keep them on a leash at all times. Keep in mind that a dog running loose might bring an unwanted surprise, in the form of a bear or a moose, back to the master. Also be aware that land owners are not required to keep their dogs on a leash if they are on their private property. When you visit towns in Alaska, be prepared to meet several dogs off-leash. Please note that dogs must be on a leash while in the Kennecott Mines National Historic Landmark. Pets are not permitted in public park buildings, such as visitor centers or ranger stations, except for guide dogs accompanying visually impaired persons or hearing-impaired persons. For pet safety regarding traps or snares, visit Alaska Dept of Fish and Game: Sharing the Trails or download the brochure on how to remove pets from traps or snares. Visit the Pets page for more information and the park regulations.

Other Topics:

How do I apply to conduct research in the park?

Fishing FAQs

Backcountry FAQs

Last updated: February 22, 2024

Park footer

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve
PO Box 439
Mile 106.8 Richardson Highway

Copper Center, AK 99573


907 822-5234

Contact Us