Chitina to McCarthy Day Trip With Root Glacier Hike (One Day, Same-Day Round-Trip) 

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Hike on a Glacier!

See and photograph the glaciers and historic copper mining town of Kennicott, in Alaska's Wrangell-St. Elias National Park.

Travel the McCarthy Road with a knowledgeable local. Learn about the human and natural history of the area.

Have your own personal guide in Kennicott and on the Root Glacier.

Experience a great one-day tour to the mountains and glaciers in the center of Alaska's Wrangell St Elias National Park.

Hike on a glacier! See and photograph the glaciers and historic copper mining town of Kennicott, in Alaska's Wrangell-St. Elias National Park.

If you have only one day to visit Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, you can get two exciting tours in one on this full-day trip.

With eight hours at Kennicott and McCarthy, you will have enough time to walk the main street in Kennicott, enjoy a guided hike on the white ice of the Root Glacier, and then, have a look around McCarthy on your own. This trip includes round-trip transportation to the McCarthy footbridge, guided transportation to Kennicott, and a half-day guided hike on the white ice of the Root Glacier, with all the gear and instruction necessary to traverse the ice safely.

When you return to Kennicott after the hike, your guide will take you back down the hill to McCarthy, where you can visit the McCarthy-Kennicott Historical Museum, check out local eateries, photograph historic buildings, or just relax and enjoy the view.

Bring a lunch (or buy one in Kennicott) - there will be a picnic when you're on the ice. (Your guide will bring a pad for you to sit on!) 

The trip begins in Chitina, Kenny Lake, or Copper Center. Travel by van with a knowledgeable local driver and discover the McCarthy Road, a narrow, gravel, wilderness road, built on the old railway of the Copper River and Northwestern Railroad. Watch for wildlife and observe relics from the historic railroad.

You will arrive at the McCarthy footbridge at 10:00 am. Walk across the bridge and meet your glacier hiking guide!

From here, it takes about 25 minutes to complete the drive from the footbridge to Kennicott, where you can pick up your lunches and get outfitted for your glaicer hike.

The Root Glacier is accessed via a two-mile hiking trail from Kennicott. On the way to the glacier, you will see many historic buildings, including the big, 14-story mill building, where copper ore was processed.

This glacier is not difficult to get up on to, and once you are on the ice, you will see the glacier's exciting features -- blue pools, moulins (holes drilled into the ice by draining water,) crevasses, canyons, waterfalls, and more. What an experience!

After you return to Kennicott, your guide will drive you to McCarthy, for a final look around on your own. 

At 6:00 pm, you'll depart by van on the return trip to Chitina via the McCarthy Road. A full day's adventure and an experience to remember!


The trip begins in Kenny Lake at 6:45 am. 

There is a pick up at the Chitina Airstrip at 7:15 am.

There is a pick up at Gilpatrick's Chitina Hotel in Chitina at 7:30 am. 

(Other pick-up times/places may be arranged by request.)


From the historic railroad town "Chitina," you will travel by van along the bluffs of the Copper and Chitina Rivers, into the Wrangell Mountains, and the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. You will learn about the native people of the area, the rivers and glaciers, and the Copper River fishery. See dip-netters, fishing for Copper River salmon. If it's clear, you will see some of the volcanic peaks of the Wrangells, which are some of the tallest peaks in Alaska.

On the McCarthy Road, you may learn some of the history of the Copper River Northwestern Railroad and the Kennicott Copper Mine, which amazingly operated in this remote region for 30 years, back in the early 1900s. 

At 10:00 am, the van will arrive at the McCarthy Footbridge. Now it gets really interesting!

Walk across the bridge, over the Kennicott River, and meet your glacier hiking guide, who will take you the rest of the way to Kennicott. In Kennicott, you will get outfitted with crampons (ice-spikes for your shoes) which you will carry on your backpack to use on the white ice of the Root Glacier. 

Walk with your guide through the town of Kennicott to the Root Glacier Trail. Once on the ice, you will see and enjoy many interesting glacial features you would not otherwise be able to see.

After the hike, your guide will take you back to the footbridge, or to McCarthy for a look around on your own. You may want to visit the McCarthy-Kennicott Museum, or get food or drinks at one of the restaurants in the area.

From McCarthy, it is a half-mile walk to the footbridge, where the van will depart for Chitina at 6:00 pm. 


6:15 am in Copper Center.

6:45 am in Kenny Lake.

7:15 am at the Chitina airstrip located 5 miles before the town of Chitina.

7:30 am at Gilpatrick's Chitina Hotel in Chitina. 

(Other pick up times/places may be arranged.)

8:30 pm at Gilpatrick's Chitina Hotel in Chitina.

8:45 pm at the Chitina airstrip.

9:15 pm in Kenny Lake.


Drop-off times are approximate and may vary depending on group size and road conditions. 

Be sure to wear good walking or hiking shoes. Bring your water bottle, rain gear, sun screen, and your camera! Bring layered clothing as weather can go anywhere from hot and sunny to cold blowing rain or snow. Gloves and a hat can be useful if it's windy, raining, and for up close glacier viewing.

Bring a lunch. You can order lunches at least one day ahead of time from the Kennicott Glacier Lodge, and pick them up when you get to Kennicott. 

You will need a backpack that is large enough to hold all of your extra clothes, and your lunch, and the pair of crampons that you will be loaned for walking on the ice. 

This trip includes van transportation in the morning on the McCarthy Road, a guided half-day glacier hike on the Root Glacier, transportation to and from Kennicott, an hour or so of free time in McCarthy, and van service on the McCarthy Road from McCarthy back to Chitina or Kenny Lake. 

Lunch is not included. You will need to bring a lunch or order one at least one day ahead of time from the Kennicott Glacier Lodge.

No additional tours or meals are included. 




Please call us at 907-390-0369 or email if you have questions or need help planning your trip!

Glacier hikes have a 48 hour cancellation policy. Please let us know if you need to cancel your reservation at least 48 hours prior to your scheduled tour, and we will refund your payment, less 10% cancellation fee. Cancellations made within 48 hours of scheduled departure are non-refundable.

Change-of date is allowed at no charge when available.