106.8 Richardson Hwy.
PO Box 439
Copper Center, AK 99573-0439
Wrangell-St. Elias National Park in Alaska
takes its status as the largest park in the National Park System seriously. Wrangell-St. Elias is six times the size of Yellowstone, and the park's largest glacier, Malaspina, is so big that the state of Rhode Island could fit on it.
Located about a day's drive east of Anchorage, Wrangell-St. Elias features a staggering display of mountain peaks -- including Mount St. Elias, which at 18,008 feet is the second-highest mountain in the United States. Visitors will also see the continent's largest collection of glaciers. And with three mountain ranges converging in the park, it's easy to see why Wrangell-St. Elias has been labeled the "mountain kingdom of North America."
Entrance fees: Admission is free.
Visitor centers: Wrangell-St. Elias Visitor Center is open year-round. Kennecott Visitor Center is open daily during the summer.
Other services: Three ranger stations, two camping areas with several private campgrounds, and one bed-and-breakfast
- Although the National Park Service has established no formal campgrounds in the park, camping is available at a number of private campgrounds.
- A number of private lodges are also readily available.
Visiting Wrangell-St. Elias National ParkWrangell-St. Elias National Park stands out for the sheer audacity of its topography -- no small claim in a land where mountains and glaciers go on for hundreds of miles at a stretch.
Three great mountain ranges converge in the park, creating a reckless jumble of ragged peaks, lovely river valleys, and enormous glaciers. The St. Elias Mountains, the world's tallest coastal range, shove their way up from the Yukon Territory in the southeast, where in a torrent of glaciers and ice fields they join the Chugach Range. The mighty Wrangell Range, coming down from the north, is the backbone of the park.
Near the point where the three ranges come together, in the southeast corner of the park, spectacular Mount St. Elias rises 18,008 feet. It is the second tallest mountain in the United States (Denali, otherwise known as Mount McKinley, is the tallest). Only 35 miles from the rugged, glacier-scoured coast of the Gulf of Alaska, Mount St. Elias rises so dramatically and precipitously that it dominates its surroundings like few other mountains.
Elsewhere in the park are eight more of the 16 tallest peaks in the United States; four of them are above 16,000 feet. As you fly over the park, the mountains come at you in waves of ranges that change color with the weather.
In the next section, learn about the incredible things to do at Wrangell-St. Elias.