Day Nine: Keystone Canyon & Valdez
McCarthy / Valdez: This morning is a day at leisure to enjoy one of many activities. You can walk on a gravel roadway out to root glacier at your leisure, and the road parallels a glacier, so you can stop along the way for photo opportunities. This is a distance, so take your time and enjoy a slow pace. Or enjoy a leisure walk around the copper mine area. Housed in Kennecott’s historic train depot, the Kennecott Visitor Center is your information hub for the Kennecott Mines National Historic Landmark in the heart of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve.
Pick up maps and brochures, join a ranger for a history talk or nature walk or plan your wilderness excursion. The visitor center also hosts a small branch of the Alaska Geographic’s bookstore. Guided history tours of the interior of the impressive 14-story Kennecott Mill Building are conducted daily at an optional cost of $30 pp If you would like to add another guided glacier walk, this is available for $80.00 pp to visit Root Glacier.
At noon, enjoy a drive down to the VERY small town of McCarthy. McCarthy bloomed as the service town for Kennicott. Hotels, stores, pool halls and other “entertainment” made up the bustling Alaskan town. At its peak, McCarthy had around 500 buildings of which a handful still remain. When Kennicott ceased operation and the last train left in 1938, McCarthy slowly died. The area is now home to approximately 25 – 30 year round residents and has become a popular destination for many travelers from around the world. Locals share the flare of living remote and small town shops show off wares from local artists.
Here you can grab a lunch to go from the Kennicott Lodge or stop by “The Potato”, an greasy-spoon eatery/espresso stand, with local famous french-fries. Later this afternoon, enjoy another opportunity to flight see on your return to Chitina. Keep your eyes out for bears, moose and Dall sheep.
Our excursion continues through the Copper Basin with a stop to view a segment of the Alyeska Oil Pipeline. Here you learn about the VSM’s (Vertical Support Members) and details regarding the building and maintenance of the pipeline. Next, Worthington Glacier is known as one of the most photographed glaciers due to its stunning surroundings, this glacier stop offers time to hike or sit and take in the surroundings. As we travel over Thompson Pass and then into Keystone Canyon, some of the most beautiful waterfalls in Alaska reveal themselves. Photo stops will offer time for even the novice to capture stunning vistas.
This evening arriving in Valdez, after time to freshen up, “mosey ” into the local on-site restaurant for dinner and a night of fun and laughter with a touch of local flare. Overnight in Valdez and sleep a restful Alaskan sleep, as tomorrow brings a day full of wonder and grandeur on the Prince William Sound.
View our preferred accommodations for this area:
Copper River Valley Area Lodging