Lake on Kennicott glacier, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, Alaska

©Galyna Andrushko/Shutterstock

Kennicott Glacier

The Interior

‘Oh no, they destroyed this valley!’ If you’re like 99% of visitors, that’s exactly what you’ll think as you reach Kennecott and look across the valley at a rolling landscape of dirt and rubble. But no, that isn’t a dump of mine tailings from the copper-boom days, but the Kennicott Glacier moraine. The ice is buried underneath.

The glacier is thinning terribly and has dropped 175ft in height over the past eight decades. To put that statistic in perspective, back in the 1930s some locals didn’t even realize they lived in a valley, as the ice field was so high.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby The Interior attractions

1. Kennecott General Store

0.25 MILES

In the town's former general store, the tins of baked beans and salted beef are just for show, but there is an informational movie if you want to learn…

3. Kennecott Visitor Center

0.26 MILES

The center, which sits in the town's former school, is the launching point for ranger-led activities, lectures and walks around town.

4. Concentration Mill & Leaching Plant

0.31 MILES

Like a rickety fantasy hatched out of a lunatic's dream, this 14-story building once processed the copper mined out of the surrounding mountains. You can…

5. McCarthy-Kennecott Historical Museum

3.37 MILES

This old railroad depot is worth a quick visit to view the historical photographs, mining artifacts and model of McCarthy in its heyday. The road splits…

6. Wrangell Mountain Center

3.56 MILES

At the end of downtown McCarthy, check out this environmental NGO/community center with summer field courses for university students, arts and science…