Travel from Anchorage to McCarthy
Replies: 11 - Last Post: Dec 3, 2012 1:41 PM Last Post By: JosuBilbao
Jun 5, 2012 11:57 AM
Travel from Anchorage to McCarthyHi all,
This is my first time using Lonely Planet so I'm not sure if this post will make it to the right area of Thorn Tree. I am looking for a ride out to McCarthy, Alaska on June 8th or 9th 2012. Anybody heading that direction with a car? Willing to help out with gas. If not all the way to McCarthy a ride to Chitina or Glennallen would be good as well. Any suggestions on the subject would be appreciated.
Jun 5, 2012 12:48 PM
Jun 5, 2012 3:09 PM
Jun 5, 2012 4:04 PM
3There are air flights to McCarthy but they are out of my price range. I found one shuttle (Wrangell-St. Elias Tours) but was hoping to find something a little less pricy if possible. The only bus lines that I can find from Anchorage heading north are to Fairbanks and do not make a stop in Glennallen. I've decided last minute to head out that way so coordinating a ride is challenging. As I am currently in California, posting on local boards is not an option at this point.
Jun 5, 2012 6:55 PM
Jun 5, 2012 9:28 PM
Dec 1, 2012 1:03 PM
I have tried to get info on the direct shuttle bus from Anchorage to McCarthy but it seems that the Wrangell-St. Elias Tours webpage is down and I wonder if they are still in bussines. Do you know if doing this is still a possibility or will I have to take first the shuttle to Glennallen and then transfer to McCarthy?
Dec 1, 2012 1:44 PM
7It might be too late in the season. There is also Wrangell Mountain Air and McCarthy Air that fly from Glennallen and maybe Anchorage. Check with the web page for Wrangell-St. Elias National Park for updated information. Are you making plans for next summer?
Dec 2, 2012 3:05 AM
8Actually yes, I am planning a three-week long trip to Alaska next June-July.
Wrangell Mountain Air can fly from Anchorage to McCarthy but it is pricey. We will be using their services in the park though.
We will be doing multi-day hikes for two weeks in Wrangell-St. Elias and Denali and then spend the rest of the trip relaxing in the Kenai peninsula or something like that. I was thinking in renting a car but, since I feel I would be wasting my money having the car parked for days on, I have started looking into other options. I am still making up my mind. What do you recommend?
Dec 2, 2012 6:16 AM
9I suppose that you know that there are few trails beyond the immediate areas of McCarthy and Kennecott -- dense forest with many grizzly bears. There is a mountaineering guide service in McCarthy and naturalist guides; however, they probably stick to the backroads around the villages. The mountaineering guide service will fly climbers to the base of peaks and guide them up the peaks. There is also ice climbing on the Kennecott Glacier and whitewater river rafting on the Kennecott River.
Dec 3, 2012 12:59 PM
10From McCarthy you can do day hikes out along the glacier (name escapes me right now), up to the old mines (not the places renovated/preserved by the NPS) or up on to Bonanaza Ridge. If you have experience on glaciers, it is also possible to go play on the glacier, though crossing to anything worthwhile requires more than a day trip.
Personally, I would rent the car. On my first trip to Alaska I did what you are proposing - Wrangell-St.Elias, Denali and Kenai. Having a car was great because it allowed us to travel on our own schedule. Having a car allowed us to stop at interesting places we spotted along the way (the Bird House, the Portage Glacier, Willow Trading Post, etc.), or stop for wildlife. It also allows you to have a place to store cean, dry clothing for use after you trips. And get to a laundromat! So don't just thik of the cost of having a car sitting there for days - it can also add to your trip in many ways.
We drove from Anchorage to the north side of Wrangell-St.Elias, with a couple of stops along the way (Eklutna Lake, Matanaska Glacier, etc). Once we were done with that we drove to Valdez and took the ferry to Whittier, getting a nice view of the Columbia Glacier and Prince William Sound. We checked out the Kenai for several days, then headed to Denali for a week.
On two other occasions we drove to McCarthy to get access to Bush pilots based there. One cautionary note - not all car rental places let you drive on the McCarthy Road. Way back then we rented from Rent A Wreck in Anchorage - they were okay with us taking the McCarthy Road.
Dec 3, 2012 1:41 PM
11I agree with you, nilsy. I thing I will go for the rental car. The time saving and freedom worth the money. Your trip in Alaska is pretty much what I want to do!
I am aware of your note and it is actually a pain in the *** because it makes what it uses to be a simple decision a very tricky one. Rent a Wreck seems to be out of business in AK and the main companies allowing to drive on that road (or other unpaved roads) are Denali and High Country Rental Car. Actually, what they do is letting you drive on those roads at your own risk, so I actually don't know exactly what the difference with a regular (cheaper) rental car company is.
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