Hiking Alaska's Wrangell-St. Elias

National Park and Preserve

by Greg Fensterman

A companion site to the book published by Falcon Guides®

Alaska's Wrangell St. Elias National Park and Preserve

About Wrangell St. Elias National Park (excerpted from the book)

Wrangell St. Elias National Park is the largest in the United States - by far. One frequently quoted statistic is that it's 6 times the size of Yellowstone National Park. Here are few more comparisons to give you a frame of reference.

  • Glacier Nat. Park - 1 million acres
  • Yellowstone - 2.2 million acres
  • State of Maryland - 6.3 million acres
  • Switzerland (yes the country) 10.2 million acres
  • Wrangell St. Elias National Park- 13.2 million acres

You get the idea - this is a really big place. Just across the Canadian border are Kluane National Park Reserve and Tatshenshini-Alsek National Park. The entire region composed of all three parks has been designated a World Heritage site and at 24.3 million acres comprises the largest internationally protected chunk of real estate on the planet. You could spend a lifetime exploring this park so you had better get started.

Getting to Wrangell St. Elias National Park takes a bit of doing. It's about an 8 hour drive from Anchorage and the last 60 miles is a gravel road from Chitina to McCarthy. But that remoteness is what Wrangell-St. Elias is all about. Denali has become so heavily visited that it became necessary to institute a permit system to protect the backcountry from overuse. As a result, trekkers can't make plans in advance but are at the mercy of whatever sectors of the backcountry are available when they show up at park headquarters.

Wrangell St. Elias National Park doesn't suffer from that problem. The lighter usage combined with stunning terrain make this the Wrangell St. Elias National Park the ultimate destination for those seeking an epic experience with truly remote wilderness.