Alaska's Copper River Valley - McCarthy & the old Kennecott Copper Mine

Other Communities in the Copper River Valley

Copper Center, Alaska

Copper Center has its origins with the Klondike gold rush of 1898, when prospectors were seeking an all American route to Dawson City. They climbed the Valdez Glacier, then descended the Klutina Glacier to Klutina Lake where several tent cities sprang up. A final push down the treacherous Klutina River brought the survivors to the new settlement  of Copper Center. Of the estimated 3,000 persons who attempted this trek, only about 300 actually arrived at the Copper River by this route.

A ferry crossing here enabled the gold seekers to follow the Millard Trail on to the Tanana-Yukon waters. The next year the Army under Captain Abercrombie pushed through the Valdez trail that would become the Richardson Trail. Copper Center became the only real population center in the interior on the way to Fairbanks. About this same time, survivors of the glacier crossing discovered the fabulous copper lodes that would presage the Kennecott Copper Mines. There was no indication of an Indian settlement at the present Copper Center site when the first settlers arrived, but natives in nearby camps up and down the Copper eventually moved into Copper Center to take advantage of a school there.

Copper Center has a population of about 450, including the nearby native village of Kluti Kaah. The historic Copper Center Lodge was built in 1932, replacing the old Blix Roadhouse. There is an assortment of other small businesses here as well as a museum and the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve Visitor's Center.


Kenny Lake, Alaska and Chitina, Alaska

The Edgerton Highway travels through Kenny Lake and ends at Chitina, where the McCarthy Road begins. At Mile 7, Kenny Lake Mercantile provides local information, a variety of services and accommodations. McCarthy Creek Outfitters at Mile 15 offer horseback pack trips and day rides. If you are on your way to McCarthy and Kennicott, Chitina Fuel & Grocery is your "last stop" for gas, propane and groceries before starting the 60 mile drive.  A public pay phone is located on the left as you leave Chitina. Stop by the Chitina Ranger Station for park information. The Copper River is well known for its seasonal run of fish. During the summer numerous fish wheels and dip nets are busy harvesting red, silver and king salmon.

An 8-site state campground is located east of the Copper River bridge.

Chitina's common searches

ahtna fishing "copper river" rafting "dip net" camping hiking timber "native alaskan" "fish wheel "
Maps:Google Earth for Chitina

Kenney Lake's common searches

"copper river valley" fishing rafting "music festival" "snow machine" farm homestead
Maps:Google Earth for Kenney Lake


Glennallen, Alaska

Two early leaders in the exploration of the Copper River region were Captain Edwin F. Glenn and Lt. Henry T. Allen. Their last names were combined to form the name Glennallen, a town of about 1,000 people. Allen was a descendant of Reuben Sanford, and named the highest of the three major volcanoes in the extreme western Wrangell Mountains, Mount Sanford, after his ancestor. Glennallen lies near the western boundary of the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserveóthe largest national park in the United States. Looking east, you see four prominent peaks of the Wrangells: Mount Sanford, Mount Drum, Mount Wrangell and Mount Blackburn.

Tune into radio station KCAM at 790 on your dial. They broadcast area weather and road conditions, emergency messages, and the always interesting "Caribou Clatters," which are personal messages for people with no other means of communication. The Greater Copper Valley Visitor's Information Center is located at the junction of the Richardson and Glenn highways.

Valdez, Alaska

The city of Valdez (pronounced val-DEEZ) is located in picturesque Prince William Sound and surrounded by the Chugach Mountains. Valdez was named after Antonio Valdez y Basan, a Spanish naval officer and is described by many as "the Switzerland of Alaska."

The history of Valdez dates back to 1897 with the Port of Valdez serving as an jumping off point for many gold seekers heading into the interior of Alaska. During the 1970's, Valdez became a vital link for the TransAlaska Pipeline, providing it a site for its marine terminal.

Valdez is well known for its excellent halibut and salmon fishing during the summer months and an abundance of snowfall in the winter. A population of 4, 469 provide a variety of services and activities. Be sure to stop by the Valdez Visitors Information Center for local information and the Valdez Museum and Historical Archives to view historical exhibits and artifacts. Both buildings are located in downtown Valdez.

Click here for the Traveler's Guide to Valdez

Valdez common searches

fishing "charter boat" "glacier cruise" "rv campground" "alaska state ferry" "heli ski" "snowmachine" "prince william sound community college" "alaska pipeline"
Maps:Google Earth for Valdez


Credit where credit is due

Articles above are from A Vistor's Guide to Kennicott & McCarthy, and are reprinted, in part, with permission of Kenyon Services.

A Visitor's Guide to Kennicott & McCarthy is published by Kenyon Services, McCarthy, PO Box MXY, Glennallen, Alaska 99588. Phone (907) 554-4454 or Email Copyright 1996. all rights reserved. The Guide is distributed free to area visitors. Single copy mail requests enclose $1.50 for postage. Publishers & Editors Rick & Bonnie Kenyon. Thanks to Ed LaChapelle for articles on Glaciers, Creeks & Rivers, How to be a Welcome Visitor, and How to use the trams.

Photographs: Agnes M. Hansen, Valdez, Alaska

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