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Wrangell–St Elias National Park/USA

Introducing Wrangell–St Elias National Park

Part of a 31, 250-sq-mile wilderness area, this park is a crossroad of mountain ranges: Wrangell, Chugach and St Elias. Extensive ice fields and 100 major glaciers spill from the peaks, including one bigger than the state of Rhode Island. This park is more difficult to visit than Denali National Park but, to those who make the effort, no less impressive due to its mountainous scenery and numerous opportunities for wilderness adventure whether on foot or in a raft.

From Valdez, the Richardson Hwy is a jaw-dropping scenic route to Glennallen, past canyons, mountain passes and glaciers. The Wrangell–St Elias National Park Visitor Center (907-822-5234; www.nps.gov/wrst; Mile 106.8 Richardson Hwy; 8am-6pm) is in Copper Center.

A side road at Tonsina goes southeast to Chitina, which has the last place to fill up your tank. From there, the rugged Mt McCarthy Rd follows former railroad tracks 60 miles east through the stunning Chugach Mountains and across the mighty Copper River to the Kennicott River. Here a footbridge is used to cross the river and access historic McCarthy and the abandoned copper-mining town of Kennicott.