Simply put, we feel McCarthy is one of Alaska’s best kept small town secrets! There are hundreds of things to do while in McCarthy, we have compiled a list of some of our favorite activities that often go overlooked.
5. Rent a Bike
A bike can open up a lot of country for you in the McCarthy area. Bring a lunch and take a ride across McCarthy creek and down the 9 mile Nizina road to the Nizina River and long abandoned ruins of the Nizina River Bridge. This seldom visited site is a great break from the bustle of town and a spot where you could spend the day and likely not see another person. Riding from Kennecott to McCarthy on the old wagon trail is another great ride that takes you off the main road. A gentle downhill slope with a few lightly technical parts makes this is a great ride for families with kids 10+ with some off-road experience. Since the McCarthy Road ends about ½ mile prior to McCarthy, renting a bike also serves as a convenient commuting vessel for your time here.
4. Take an airplane ride into the Alaskan backcountry (Day Trip or Overnight)
With over 13 million acres of federally protected land surrounding McCarthy and only 110 miles of accessible road, the best way to see it is to take a flight with one of our local flight services. A flight-see is a great way to see the landscape from the air, but experiencing the thrill of landing on a remote gravel airstrip and standing on some of the wildest land in America is another experience all together! Schedule your flight with Wrangell Mountain Air or McCarthy Air to get out into the Alaskan backcountry. Custom Alaska River Adventures is happy to help you with arranging guided trips including kayaking among icebergs on a glacier lake miles from any roads, gear rentals or route planning for a personal trip.
3. Enjoy the local eateries.
The Kennecott Valley is teaming with great local eateries. The Roadside Potatohead has been serving food out of their classic food truck for over 20 years now, while somethings have changed over that time, they still consistently make the best breakfast fare in town along with great lunch options and espresso. New to the west side of the Kennicott River is Tailor Made Pizza, serving out of a classic Anchorage Municipality bus, they serve gourmet slices and whole pizzas along with an array of other breakfast, lunch and dinner options. The Porch at Glacier View Campground offers the best BBQ in town, ½ pound gourmet bugers, hotdogs and other grill specialties along with cold beverages is one of our favorite ways to spend a sunny McCarthy evening. Looking for a more traditional sit down eatery? The McCarthy Lodge offers great pub fare at their New Golden Saloon along with fine dining in their formal dining room (reservations recommended!). In Kennecott, the Kennicott Glacier Lodge serves up both Lunch and an excellent style family dinner every night of the week, check with their front desk to get tonight’s menu.
2. Take a self-guided hike on the West Side Glacier Trail
About half mile prior to the end of the McCarthy road there is an unmanned park service kiosk that serves as the launching point to the “West Side Glacier Trail.” The trail initially winds in to the woods around private property before opening up on the lateral moraine of the Kennicott Glacier. Quiet and devoid of any crowds, the west side offers great photo opportunities of the town of Kennecott, Stairway Icefall and the rest of the Kennicott Valley.
1. Friday Night Community Softball Games
Friday night at 7pm is home to the best community event of the week. The town gathers at the local softball field, just up the road from the town center, to play in the weekly pick-up game. After some batting and fielding practice, players circle up to count off teams (1 & 2) before taking the field. Forgot your gear? No problem, there is a wheel barrow full of community gloves for you to use and a grab bag of bats as well. Beginners and experienced players are all welcome, playing baseball in the midnight sun is a uniquely Alaskan experience.