Hiking Alaska's Wrangell St. Elias

National Park and Preserve

by Greg Fensterman

A companion site to the book published by Falcon Guides®

Wrangell St. Elias National Park
Hiking Trip:
Erie Lake / Stairway Icefall

Distance: 17 miles out and back

Difficulty: Strenuous

Approx. hiking time: 3-4 days

Total elevation gain: +1747, -418

Best season: June - early September

Access: Trail starts on road north out of Kennicott

Maps: USGS McCarthy B-6, C-5, C-6

Challenges: Glacier crossings, very difficult moraine


The Stairway Icefall is the highlight of this trip. Though the icefall is visible all the way from McCarthy, this route gets up close and personal with this impressive glacial feature. The route includes some challenging work on the moraine of the Root.

Click on a thumbnail to enlarge.
Alaska Wrangell-St. Elias  National Park, Erie Lake, Stairway Icefall, Root Glacier Kennicott Alaska Wrangell-St. Elias  National Park, Erie Lake, Stairway Icefall, Root Glacier Kennicott Alaska Wrangell-St. Elias  National Park, Erie Lake, Stairway Icefall, Root Glacier Kennicott Alaska Wrangell-St. Elias  National Park, Erie Lake, Stairway Icefall, Root Glacier Kennicott Alaska Wrangell-St. Elias  National Park, Erie Lake, Stairway Icefall, Root Glacier Kennicott Alaska Wrangell-St. Elias  National Park, Erie Lake, Stairway Icefall, Root Glacier Kennicott
Alaska Wrangell-St. Elias  National Park, Erie Lake, Stairway Icefall, Root Glacier Kennicott Alaska Wrangell-St. Elias  National Park, Erie Lake, Stairway Icefall, Root Glacier Kennicott Alaska Wrangell-St. Elias  National Park, Erie Lake, Stairway Icefall, Root Glacier Kennicott Alaska Wrangell-St. Elias  National Park, Erie Lake, Stairway Icefall, Root Glacier Kennicott Alaska Wrangell-St. Elias  National Park, Erie Lake, Stairway Icefall, Root Glacier Kennicott Alaska Wrangell-St. Elias  National Park, Erie Lake, Stairway Icefall, Root Glacier Kennicott
Alaska Wrangell-St. Elias  National Park, Erie Lake, Stairway Icefall, Root Glacier Kennicott Alaska Wrangell-St. Elias  National Park, Erie Lake, Stairway Icefall, Root Glacier Kennicott Alaska Wrangell-St. Elias  National Park, Erie Lake, Stairway Icefall, Root Glacier Kennicott Alaska Wrangell-St. Elias  National Park, Erie Lake, Stairway Icefall, Root Glacier Kennicott Alaska Wrangell-St. Elias  National Park, Erie Lake, Stairway Icefall, Root Glacier Kennicott Alaska Wrangell-St. Elias  National Park, Erie Lake, Stairway Icefall, Root Glacier Kennicott
Alaska Wrangell-St. Elias  National Park, Erie Lake, Stairway Icefall, Root Glacier Kennicott Alaska Wrangell-St. Elias  National Park, Erie Lake, Stairway Icefall, Root Glacier Kennicott Alaska Wrangell-St. Elias  National Park, Erie Lake, Stairway Icefall, Root Glacier Kennicott Alaska Wrangell-St. Elias  National Park, Erie Lake, Stairway Icefall, Root Glacier Kennicott Alaska Wrangell-St. Elias  National Park, Erie Lake, Stairway Icefall, Root Glacier Kennicott Alaska Wrangell-St. Elias  National Park, Erie Lake, Stairway Icefall, Root Glacier Kennicott
FusionCharts

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 as part of a guided trek, click here for more information on guided backpacking treks in Wrangell St. Elias National Park.