The Copper River Princess Wilderness Lodge sits at the gateway to Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. With 13.2 million acres of virtually untouched wilderness, there’s a lot to explore here after your shift ends. Here are 6 of our favorites!
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Hiking and backpacking
The largest national park in the United States, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park is the size of six Yellowstones. It’s a natural wonder packed with beauty. With four mountain ranges, nine out of the 16 highest peaks in the U.S., an active volcano (Mt. Wrangell), a temperate rainforest and endless glaciers, the wondrous terrain of this park is worth exploring on your day off. The National Park Service outlines several day hiking routes to choose from, including some starting from the Copper Center area. You can backpack for several days within the park, but you should be prepared and aware of the hazards. Make sure to fill out a backcountry itinerary and leave it at one of the visitor’s centers, and tell a friend where you’re going.
Visit a glacier
Excited to see a glacier in Alaska? Well, you chose the right place. Every stream and river in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park leads to a glacier, covering about 5,000 square miles of the park – or 25 percent of it. The park’s largest glacier, Malaspina, can be seen from space. Hiking a glacier can be one of the most memorable and iconic ways to spend your day off in Copper River. We offer Worthington Glacier Hike excursion with views of the nearby Chugach Mountains, or the Prince William Sound Glacier Cruise.
Explore an abandoned mine
The Kennecott Mine, near the historic towns of McCarthy and Kennicott, churned out nearly $200 million worth of copper before it shut down in 1938. Now preserved by the National Park Service, the imposing mill is a testament to the fortitude and entrepreneurship of a bygone era. Rangers will lead you on tours of the mill structure and its neighboring buildings, including a general store, school and hospital. If you’re interested in ghost hunting, the spooky tales about the Kennecott mine might be reason enough to go.
Get to know some yaks
The nearby Alaska Yaks is open to visitors and also schedules tours. This working farm touts the benefits of yaks as multi-purpose livestock – claiming yak meat is the healthiest of red meats, but that yaks are also useful as pack animals or even for riding. You can even take home some yak-yarn souvenirs for your friends.
Learn some history
The George Ashby Museum in the historic town of Copper Center can give you a flavor for what your summer home used to be like. Learn more about the gold mining camps of 1898 that brought so many intrepid travelers to the region in the first place. Take a look at relics from the pioneer days, like clothes, photos and letters in the museum’s two log cabin structures. Admission is free.
You’d be remiss not to try backcountry rafting along the Klutina River Canyon while you’re in Alaska. Our excursion is ideal for both first-time rafters and those with experience – the route hits some Class III rapids for extra fun. You can learn a little about the gold rush history of the area you’re working in, and you’ll enjoy some of the spectacular scenery you’ve been enjoying from afar.
Now that you have some ideas about after-hours adventures from the Copper River Princess Wilderness Lodge, are you ready to work for us? Search our current summer job openings now and join us!