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  • Attractions

    Wrangell St. Elias National Park

    The nearby Wrangell St. Elias National Park is prime territory for exciting outdoor activities, including hiking, river rafting, and horseback riding.

    Kennecott Mines

    A little off the beaten path, the historic Kennecott Mines and ghost town offer a glimpse into the Copper River area's early mining days. The mill site and mines have been a designated historic landmark since 1978, and remain one of the best examples of early 20th century copper mining. In its heyday, Kennecott was a full-fledge town of 600 people, with its own hospital, schoolhouse, general store, tennis court, recreation hall, and dairy.

  • Activities

    Sightseeing

    By road, you can travel down the 61-mile Chitina-to-McCarthy Road, which follows the old railroad tracks from the old Copper River to Northwestern Railroad route, which stops by several campgrounds on the way. You can see much of the area's wildlife here, ranging from moose, bear, sheep, and bald eagles.

    Flightseeing

    Charter aircraft in many local communities are available to take you soaring over the mountain wilderness on short flight tours.

    Sport Fishing

    The areas around Kluane (which means "place of many fish") are famous for their salmon runs. Copper River itself is named as one of the top 100 best trout streams in the world. Common catch include Sockeye salmon, Chinook salmon, Pink salmon, Kokanee salmon, Rainbow trout, and smelt.

    Rafting

    The Chitina and Copper Rivers are abundant with guided rafting journeys for those who want a wilder experience.

  • Wildlife

    Along with grizzly and black bears, sheep and salmon, this area is also home to caribou, wolves, mountain goats, fox, lynx, hawk owls and falcons, providing lots of opportunities for nature and wildlife photographers.

    The Copper River Delta, is considered the largest contiguous wetlands along the Pacific Coast. It is used annually by 16 million shorebirds, including the world's entire population of Western Sandpipers. It is also home to the world's largest population of nesting Trumpeter Swans and is the only known nesting site for the Canada goose.

  • History

    Copper River got its name from the rich copper deposits found in the area during the beginning of the 1900's. Other mineral deposits were also abundant in the area and during the over two decades of production, over a billion pounds of ore were hauled on the railroad. Over 8,000 years ago, the Athabascan native peoples crossed the Bering strait and made their way into this area.

    European exploration of the Copper Basin began in the 1780's, with the Russians first establishing trading posts in the region in 1819. US Army men and geologists started exploring the Wrangell Mountains area after this, which led to an influx of prospectors and miners in the late 1890's. The Kennecott Mines and the railroad eventually shut down in 1938 due to falling copper prices and Kennicott became a ghost town. After Alaska received statehood in 1959 and in 1978, the area was declared a National Monument.

  • More Information

    Wrangell – St. Elias Park and Preserve

    The US National Park Service page with information about the national park.

  • Image Gallery