The 3,500 foot gravel McCarthy Air Strip is located 4 miles from Kennicott.
Copper Valley Air Service provides bi-weekly direct flights from Anchorage and Gulkana (Glennallen) to McCarthy-Kennicott on the mail plane.
Wrangell Mountain Air provides several flights daily between Chitina and McCarthy-Kennicott during the summer season.
The drive from Anchorage or Fairbanks 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.
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 2.5 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 plenty of fuel. You should start down the McCarthy road with a full tank of gas. Although many guide books say otherwise, many people find the McCarthy Road a relatively easy drive. The road has been improved over the years, and in 2014 was chip-sealed for the first quarter of the way. Information about the road conditions can be obtained by calling the DOT maintenance station in Chitina at 907-823-2218.
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 road to Kennicott are the remains of the Gilahina trestle, containing half a million board feet of lumber, built in late January, 1911 in eight days.
It takes longer to drive places in Alaska than you might anticipate. The following are approximate driving times and distances to McCarthy:
The McCarthy Road ends at a footbridge across the Kennicott River. You will need to drop off luggage and coolers at the footbridge, park and pay for parking, haul your luggage and coolers across the Kennicott River Footbridge on carts, and load it all into a Wrangell Mountain Air McCarthy-Kennicott Shuttle at the east end of the Footbridge for the 1/2 hour ride to Main Street Kennicott.
There are three privately owned parking lots within the final mile of the McCarthy Road. They vary in price depending on proximity to the Kennicott River Footbridge. You can streamline your arrival process by thinking ahead of time about where to park. The Glacier View Campground, 907-441-5737 is 1 mile from the Footbridge. Parking by the Visitor Information sign, 907-554-4453, is 1/2 mile from the Footbridge, and is attended from 10am to 7pm. The Base Camp Root Glacier, 907-590-2854, offers convenient parking adjacent to the Kennicott River Footbridge.
Be sure to contact Wrangell Mountain Air directly at 907-554-4411 to obtain the current shuttle pick-up schedule and rates, which adjust throughout the season to accommodate peak visitor periods. Plan to arrive an hour ahead of the day's last shuttle, as it takes at least 45 minutes to park and get everything across the footbridge! The shuttle ride between the Footbridge and Main Street Kennicott takes approximately 1/2 hour.
Once you have arrived in Kennicott, we will be happy to transport your luggage to 17 Silk Stocking Row Monday-Thursday 5:30pm -8:30pm and Friday-Sunday 10:00am - 8:30pm. In the event of an earlier arrival to Main Street Kennicott Monday-Thursday, we can work with you to leave luggage for later transport to 17 Silk Stocking Row.
Whether you choose to fly or drive, the journey to Seventeen Silk Stocking Row is an adventure!
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