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Kennecott-McCarthy guides

Quesnel, Canada
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47 posts
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Kennecott-McCarthy guides

Will spend four nights (three full days) camping in our RV at McCarthy. Very interested in mining history and mechanism of mining. Also very interested in hiking to and on Root Glacier.

Looking at two outfitters-

St. Elias Guides and Kennecott Wilderness Guides

Have corresponded with Kennecott Wilderness Guides and they offer a private half-day guided tour that includes the mill and historical buildings at Kennecott as well as historical/cultural look at McCarthy and surrounding area's history and significance. They are offering a reasonable price, considering the length of the tour.

They also guide to (and on) Root Glacier. They specialize in small groups or private treks--we like that.

The other outfit, St. Elias Guides runs a 2-hour scripted tour of the Kennecott Mill. Apparently it can get busy with tourists. We don't like that.

Wondering if anyone has experience with the Kennecott Wilderness Guides and the experiences they offer with the guided cultural/historical tour and the guided Root Glacier hike.

If you've been out with St. Elias Guides, would like to hear about that too.

Also wondering about flightseeing in the area--I think Wrangell Mountain Air offers it out of McCarthy and have read some very positive comments about them--but not sure what to expect as far as flightseeing experience.

(We would be doing the McKinley Flyer excursion--wonder if it would be more of the same? Or perhaps it would enhance the Kennecott and surrounding area experience?)

Thanks!

Cheryl

9 replies to this topic
Rocky Mount, North...
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1. Re: Kennecott-McCarthy guides

I'm pretty sure the mill tour is cancelled for a couple of years. I was there in July 2012 and was told that we were there the next to the last day before it was shut down. The NPS is shoring up the structure so that it's safer. I think now the tour is of the power plant.

I used St. Elias tours for both the mill tour and the 1/2 day Root Glacier hike. The Mill tour was limited to around 15 people or so. I thought that was fine and it didn't seem crowded to me but everyone has different thoughts of "crowded"

The Root glacier hike consisted of just 4 people. The guide was excellent.

I used Wrangell Air to get from Chitna to McCarthy and on the way there is was a clear day and we did a fly by of both glaciers and it was really nice. When we left it was foggy and couldn't see much. There's no guarantee on what you will see.

Quesnel, Canada
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47 posts
18 reviews
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2. Re: Kennecott-McCarthy guides

Thanks for the info on the closure of the mill and possible substitution of the power plant for the tour. I'll enquire with the guide outfits about that-

As for the flightseeing- I'm wary of booking in advance because one never knows what the weather will be--but it seems during peak season advance booking is advised. I'd prefer the walk-in approach, but not sure how successful that is...

Rocky Mount, North...
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3. Re: Kennecott-McCarthy guides

I'm no expert since I've only been once this past July, but I would think you could book close to the time you want to do it. It's not that many people that make the effort to get to Kennecott.

fti
MN
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for Alaska
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4. Re: Kennecott-McCarthy guides

I am not sure about your "scripted tour" comment. I used St. Elias Guides for the mill tour a couple of years ago and it didnt seem scripted to me. I also used them for a half day Root Glacier hike which was really 3/4 day and was excellent.

Quesnel, Canada
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47 posts
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5. Re: Kennecott-McCarthy guides

Re: fti response- no offense meant with my comment- that's how their presentation was described to me and only in that they deal with more people on their tours than the other outfit--and had/have less time to answer questions and such. Could be they were just unusually busy for those folks.

Thanks for the input.

New England
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6. Re: Kennecott-McCarthy guides

We used St Elias Guides for a half day Root Glacier hike and a mine tour. Very impressed with our guide for both. Excellent communication with the company before as well. I had mentioned in my initial email that we would be on our Root Glacier hike on my husband's birthday and on our lunch break our guide produced home made cookies and candles!

We used Wrangell Air for our round trip to McCarthy. Very professional and we loved the flight. Not sure about the flight seeing from there but I would certainly think they would be great.

fti
MN
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for Alaska
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7. Re: Kennecott-McCarthy guides

>>a mine tour

bluewaterdiva - I think you meant a MILL tour. The mines require an all-day strenuous hike from Kennicott. Too bad the mill is apparently closed for renovation/stabilization.

Edited: 10:17 pm, December 03, 2012
8. Re: Kennecott-McCarthy guides

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McCarthy, Alaska
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9. Re: Kennecott-McCarthy guides

Hello Cheryl et al,

Let's try again because apparently I stepped across a TA line in the last post (sometimes I have a hard time telling what the difference is between providing useful information and "promoting" my own services...). Sorry about that!

I'll just address the Mill Tour since there has been a lot of confusion as to what it entails with the mill itself closed... Yes, the Mill will be closed through at least most of next summer. However, the tours last summer that included many other aspects of town, namely the powerhouse, east bunkhouse and leaching plant, continued to get great reviews and generally seemed well worth the while of those who went on them, so it's still well worth doing. Only the current park concessionaire has access to those buildings not open to the public, although other local companies sometimes sell the tours as well and pass the guests off to the concessionaire.

The previous poster was correct that there is a group size limit of 14, so the tours really don't ever get "crowded".

I hope that is helpful.

Happy New Year everyone!

Gaia

St. Elias Alpine Guides

McCarthy, Alaska

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