Wrangell-St. Elias National Park | Fall 2018

Some National Park superlatives for you: Wrangell-St. Elias is the largest national park in the United States (at 13.2 million acres, it equals Yellowstone National Park, Yosemite National Park, and the country of Switzerland combined!). It holds 9 of the 16 highest peaks in the USA. It contains Mt. St. Elias, which, rising to 18,008 feet, is the second highest peak in the country. Mt. Wrangell, at 14,163 feet, is one of the largest active volcanoes in North America, four times the volume of Mount Rainier. The Park’s Nabesna and Malaspina Glaciers are the longest non-polar valley glacier and the largest non-polar piedmont glacier in North America respectively. And, not only is it the largest wilderness area in the National Wilderness Preservation System, it is also designated as a World Heritage Site.

I drove to the Park from Anchorage and WHAT A DRIVE! There was a valid reason to use the turnouts offered every other mile as each overlook bested the one before. Somehow. I struck gold with the weather as you can tell - two bluebird days which allowed the sun to light up the brilliant yellow and gold autumn colors as far as the eye could see. And the approach on Alaska Route 1 gives you an hour of driving a straight road right up to Mt. Sanford (a mountain if ever I’ve seen one). I also took the McCarthy road into the Park on the last day the summer season, and was treated to Northern Lights, Bald Eagle, Bear, and Moose sightings, and a solitary experience hiking up to Kennecott, AK and the abandoned Copper Mine & Pioneer Town. I won’t soon forget this solo trip into the Alaskan wilderness.

PS - scroll all the way down for a recap video of the trip!

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park became the 42nd National Park on December 2, 1980, and is located east of Glenallen, AK.

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All pictures by Karl Magnuson
Canon 6D Mark II
Canon EF 28-70mm f/2.8L, Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L, Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L