On our way from Liberty Falls to Valdez, we took some extra time to explore McCarthy Road. It’s one of 2 drive-able roads in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. It goes from Chitina, a tiny town on the western border of the park, to McCarthy, a notoriously historical mining town within the national park. We didn’t have enough time to make it to McCarthy this day, but we’ll be back.
From the National Parks website about McCarthy Road:
“The Kennecott mines did not go into full production until 1911, when the completion of a 196-mile-long railroad from Cordova, near the mouth of the Copper River, to the Kennecott mining town allowed transport of the rich copper concentrate. In 27 years of operation, over a billion pounds of ore valued at $100 to 300 million was hauled on the railroad.
The mine and the railroad were abandoned in 1938, when the rich ore was exhausted. The railroad bed now provides the base for most of the Chitina-McCarthy Road along the south flank of the Wrangell Mountains in the heart of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve.”