To celebrate our 20th Anniversary, we invite you to explore the wonders of the Copper River Basin with two challenges!
20 Trails Challenge Explore old favorites and discover new hiking trails with our list of favorite hikes in the Copper River Basin. Can you check off 20 in the summer of 2022? At the end of September, send in your checklist for a prize. We'll have WISE shirts, hats, and mugs, plus you'll be entered in a drawing for a gift certificate for outdoor gear. Scroll down for detailed trail information and links for the 20 Trails Challenge.
Hike Information Richardson and Glenn Highway Hikes Aspen Interpretive Trail Co-op Road, Glennallen. Co-op Road is one block west of the IGA store. Parking and Trailhead are on the left about 1/4 mile up Co-op Road. This trail is an easy 1 mile loop right in "downtown" Glennallen, with nice interpretive signs. WISE was one of the partners who helped build this trail in our early years! https://www.nps.gov/wrst/planyourvisit/upload/Trails-Near-Wrangell-St-Elias-VC.pdf
Copper Center School Trail, Silver Springs Road, Copper Center. Park at the old school, 1/4 mile down Silver Springs Road on the Old Richardson Highway. The trail starts from the field behind the playground. There are several loops to choose from, all easy walking through nice stands of aspen and spruce. A bonus is fun student artwork along the trails. www.nps.gov/wrst/planyourvisit/upload/Trails-Near-Wrangell-St-Elias-VC.pdf
Willow Mountain Mile 88 Richardson Highway It is about 2 miles to the top, with 1800 feet of elevation gain. Spectacular views from the top, steep but solid trail. Park at Willow Lake Pullout, cross the road to the pipeline, and hike south on the pipeline for about a mile before turning up the trail. Full details on finding the trail and land status at: http://www.wise-edu.org/wise-blog/willow-mountain-is-the-ultimate-copper-basin-hike Boreal Forest Trail, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve Visitor Center Mile 106.8 Richardson Highway. There are several easy loop trails at the Visitor Center, plus an educational exhibits and lots of information about the area. https://www.nps.gov/wrst/planyourvisit/upload/Boreal-Forest-Trail-Copper-River-Bluff-Trail-Wrangell-St-Elias-VC-Trails.pdf Slide Mountain Trail, Mendeltna. Mile 144.9 Glenn Highway. There is a small pullout and sandy parking area on the north side of the road about 100 yards west of the Mendeltna **********. From there the 4-wheeler trail goes through a sandy area and heads up the hill through the forest. The trail is rugged and can be muddy in places. It's about a mile and a half to the end of the trail. From there, head left into the forest and look for old landslides. A small hammer is handy to break open small rocks to look for fossils. https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/alaska/slide-mountain Tolsona Mud Volcanoes Tolsona Wilderness Campground, mile 173 Glenn Highway. The campground asks for a small parking fee, and can direct you to the trailhead. The mile-long trail is wet with uneven footing. Those looking for a cone and spouting lava may be disappointed, but the dome of the volcano has several open vents where methane gases bubble up through thick mud. It's also a great place to look for animal tracks. http://www.wise-edu.org/wise-blog/hikes-of-the-copper-basin-tolsona-mud-volcanoes
https://www.nps.gov/wrst/planyourvisit/upload/Trails-Near-Wrangell-St-Elias-VC.pdf Thompson Pass Trail. Park at the pullout at mile 26, just north of the top of the pass. Cross the highway and head up the narrow road next to the sign that says "Thompson Pass elevation 2678" There is a gate to keep out vehicles, but hikers are welcome. The trail goes up the hill then along the ridge line, with great views on either side. At about 1/2 mile it crosses the pipeline, and there are several small lakes at the base of the mountains about a mile from the highway.
O'Brien Creek to Haley Creek O'Brien Creek Road, Chitina From Chitina, drive downriver on the O'Brien Creek Road. Park at O'Brien Creek and proceed from there on foot (or bicycle!) Hike along the old railroad grade, about 10 miles one way. The tunnel at about mile 6 is a nice turnaround for a day hike. This route has a lot of 4-wheeler traffic during dipnetting season but is a good spring or fall hike. https://www.nps.gov/wrst/planyourvisit/upload/Chitina-Area-Trails.pdf