Denali Hwy. to McCarthy

On our way to visit Wrangell-St. Elias NP, we drove across the Denali Highway to Chitina, the bordering town of the park. Chitina is where the Copper River runs through and Andrew and George go to fish, but it was new territory for me.

We love the scenery along the Denali Highway. The Denali Hwy. is about 100 miles of gravel road with a little pavement on each end.

We found a very cool spot with camping and river access where two rivers meet. The Nenana River, a glacial silt filled river, flows into the Tanana River, a tributary to the Yukon River.

The fireweed fall foliage is just as spectacular as the summer bloom.

Beautiful views of the Alaska Range along the highway. The highest ones here are Mount Deborah, Hess Mountain, and Mount Hayes.

We saw maybe a half dozen caribou strung out along the highway. All were pretty far away or on the move.

On the Richardson Highway (connecting to the Chitina turn-off) we found a huge group of tundra swans. Another beautiful species that mates for life!

That night we camped just outside of Chitina.

The one-way entrance to the McCarty/Kennecott road.

Fish wheels on the Copper River. This was my first time seeing them in operation.

The Chitina River

The sixty mile road to McCarty/Kennecott.

Wooden bridge over an awesome gorge.
Walking to McCarthy! McCarthy is a small, colorful town in the Wrangell-St. Elias NP. The only access to the town is by walking a half-mile over two footbridges. You park on one side of the river and walk across the bridges, down a trail/dirt road to town. Some of the locals built a bridge to drive across into town, but it's only for locals and it's not even recognized by the Alaska DOT. The permanent (winter) population is around 50. There is quite a bit more summer/seasonal population.
Walking the footbridge to McCarthy.

This was one of those great Alaskan towns where you enter town and see more dogs roaming around than people.

I love this kind of town decor!

It seems to be a friendly town that is definitely off the grid. Power lines stopped back in Chitina. Everything here is run by generators and propane. But it seems like they have a lot to offer.