Wrangell St. Elias National Park
Backpacking Trip: Mt. Wrangell Plateau
Distance: 16-18 miles
Approx. hiking time: 3-5 days
Total elevation gain: +2730, -1990
Best season: June - early September
Access: Bush flight - McCarthy to Mt. Wrangell Plateau
Maps: USGS Valdez D-1, D-2
Challenges: Glacier crossing
A moderate 3-5 day trip that starts on a plateau crosses a glacier and ends on another plateau. Stunning views and easier terrain combine to make this a good route for those seeking a backpacking trip that is not too strenuous but doesn't skimp on views. Route finding is generally easy, with some rocky sections but mostly a lot of wide-open tundra. There is a nice variety of terrain on this route, especially for such a short trip. There is however a glacier crossing that should not be underestimated. Prior experience on glaciers is recommended. Caribou and bear may be seen along the route.
Even detailed route descriptions such as those found in the book are not a substitute for skills and experience. If you would like to do this route but don't feel that you are ready to tackle the Alaskan wilderness on your own, consider a guided trek.
If you are interested in doing this route or one like it as a guided trek, click here for more information on the guided hiking treks in Alaska's Wrangell St. Elias National Park.