St. Elias National Park In Alaska
What is the history behind Wrangell-St. Elias National Park in Alaska? What do you need to know about it when touring it?
The Wrangell-St. Elias National Park is the largest unit of the National Park system. It is where the Wrangell, St. Elias, and Chugach mountains all converge. These mountain ranges are called, the "mountain kingdom of North America," because they are largest assembly of glaciers and peaks above 16,000 feet. Mount St. Elias, the second highest U-S peak, stands at 18,008 feet.
The remote park is located East of Anchorage. It takes about a days drive to reach the park, and the only roads that lead to it are the Nabesna and McCarthy. The park can also be reached by plane. Whichever way you choose, the trip is worth it. The park is known for its backpacking, hiking, camping, hunting, fishing, cross country skiing, and sea kayaking. And the best news, is you can do all that for free. That's right; there are no admission or user fees.
The park is open year round. In the winter from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday; and in the summer from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily. You can camp in the park overnight, but this is recommended for experienced campers only. Much of the area is privately owned, and campers will need to know where they are going. If you choose to stay outside the park, there are several lodges and bed and breakfast establishments, not far from the park.
The weather is usually cloudy and cool in the summer. But, there can be some hot days in July. Winters are cold with temperatures dropping below zero. The spring and fall are delightful times to visit, but they are the times it can be rainy. As always, weather can change, so pack appropriate travel gear.
The Wrangell-St. Elias Park receives 25,000 visitors a year. If you want to be part of the group, call their headquarters at 907-822-5234.