Wrangell – St Elias
National Park & Preserve
America is home to over 400 national park sites. These sites include 58 national parks, lakeshores, reserves and memorials all protecting an area of 84 million acres since the year 1916. National Park week is a great time to get to know more about some of America’s lesser known, yet no less amazing national parks. Today, in honor once again of this exciting week, we take you on a journey to Wrangell – St.Elias National Park and Preserve. Learn more about this lesser known national park and what you are missing with Coconut Club Vacations.
The great state of Alaska is home to 23 national parks. One trip to Alaska and it is easy to understand why. A massive state filled with a rich history and diverse ecosystems, not to mention, very few people, this state is still truly, a wilderness. While Denali and Glacier Bay may be two of the most well-known parks, the biggest of all the national parks is Wrangell St Elias. In fact, this national park is the largest national park in the entire country! Roughly 13.2 million acres in size, the park could fit Yellowstone, Yosemite and the country of Switzerland all within its borders (a comparison offered by the National Park Service at NPS.gov). Home to mountains and forests, rivers and streams as well as volcanoes and glacier, this national park has a long history of habitation as well as being home to millions of plants and animals including some of the largest and many endangered species as well.
Visitors to the park are advised to plan ahead. Obviously in a park this size, there is no way to see everything. In fact, you could spend years here, and still be missing amazing views and remote sites of interests. So where should you begin?
Begin by taking a look at their site on nps.gov/wrst. From here, plan your point of entry and choose the destinations which interest you most. Wrangell is home to 6 visitor centers including the most popular The Wrangell-St. Elias Visitor Center Complex. This is the main park complex and offers access to an exhibit hall, theater, restrooms, picnic areas, a cultural center, numerous short hiking trails and many scenic overlooks.
Divided into regions, most visitors start by choosing a district to explore. Choose from the North District, South District or the Yakutat District.
North – includes the Nabesna and Headquarters, access to backcountry and the Slana ranger Station as well as glaciers, hunting and the mining district of Chisana.
South – encompasses the Kennecott Mill town and mine (a national historic landmark) as well as hiking trails, other mines and the Donoho Basin.
Yakutat – a coastal paradise, this area features 122 miles of coastline and America’s second largest mountain.
A massive park with hundreds of opportunities, remember, planning ahead is a great way to ensure that you see the things that matter most to you. Don’t rush, enjoy the places you do get to and just plan to visit again.