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Getting To McCarthy Alaska

See how to get to McCarthy Alaska & the famous McCarthy Road

How to Get to McCarthy Alaska

This historic town of McCarthy, Alaska is located on the eastern edge of Alaska, and is inside Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve.  To say McCarthy is a rugged, authentic, frontier town in inland Alaska is not an exaggeration at all.  Rugged mountains, hanging glaciers, and abundant wildlife are all on display in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park – the largest national park (and possibly the best-kept secret) in the entire United States.

At 13.2 million acres, this national park is the same size as Yellowstone National Park, Yosemite National Park, and Switzerland combined. It is home to Mt. St. Elias, the second-highest peak in the United States at 18,008 feet, and boasts a rich and diverse wilderness.

Start Planning Your Trip here. 

Shuttles to McCarthy

From Anchorage, Alaska:

Great Land Adventures
Private shuttles to Glennallen with possible hikes on the Matanuska Glacier.

Copper Valley Air Service
Offer a twice-weekly flight (Mondays & Thursdays) from Anchorage to McCarthy on the mail plane. Daily flights from Glennallen to McCarthy.

Soaring Eagle Transportation
Tuesday, Thursday, & Saturday shuttle between Anchorage, Valdez, & Glennallen.

Interior Alaska Bus Line
Monday, Wednesday, & Friday shuttle service between Anchorage, Glennallen, & Tok

From the Copper Basin, Alaska:

The Kennecott Shuttle
Daily shuttle from Glennallen to McCarthy with stops in Copper Center, Kenny Lake, & Chitina along the way.

Wrangell Mountain Air
Daily flight schedule between Chitina & McCarthy.

Copper Valley Air Service
Offer a twice-weekly flight (Mondays & Thursdays) from Anchorage to McCarthy on the mail plane. Daily flights from Glennallen to McCarthy.

Rental Cars & Traveling the McCarthy Road:

Check out Alaska 4×4 Rentals or Alaska Overlander for rentals. Always be sure to ask about restrictions that might affect your ability to travel to McCarthy.

Car Storage

We offer free car storage to all Multi-Day Guided Trips. If you are interested in storing your car while on your trip with us, let us know.

Driving Distances

  • Anchorage to McCarthy: 314 miles / 7.5 hours
  • Fairbanks to McCarthy: 374 miles / 9.5 hours
  • Valdez to McCarthy: 176 miles / 5.5 hours
  • Glennallen to McCarthy: 125 miles / 4 hours
  • Chitina to McCarthy: 60 miles / 2.5 hours
  • Denali N.P. to McCarthy: 395 miles / 11 hours

Top Questions about Getting to McCarthy, Alaska

What is the McCarthy Road and the Nabesna Road like?

The Nabesna Road is roughly a 50-mile stretch of dirt road with multiple creek crossings and a very quiet end-of-road. Meanwhile, the McCarthy Road has been vastly improved since 2006, with many of its stretches now straightened and widened, and creek crossings have been routed into culverts. That being said, it is still a 60-mile dirt road and you should expect to travel between 25 and 30 miles an hour with some occasional rough stretches.

Can I drive my rental car on the McCarthy and Nabesna park roads?

The McCarthy and Nabesna Roads are maintained by the State of Alaska as state right-of-ways. However, since they are dirt roads, many rental companies restrict travel on them; you will also encounter this if you are attempting to drive the Dalton or Denali highways as these are dirt roads too. It is worth it to check with local car rental companies like Midnight Sun Car Rental in Anchorage about options for driving on dirt roads in Alaska. And the best part? It’s a gorgeous 8 hour drive from Anchorage, and that makes immersing yourself in this wild, untouched land easier than ever. See our many ways to access McCarthy, Alaska