McCarthy Air

Flying Alaska's Wrangell-St. Elias National Park Since 1975

(907) 554-4440

Flightseeing; back-country, rafting and mountaineering drop-offs; charter flights--McCarthy Air will meet your air transportation needs throughout the rugged 14- million acre Wrangell-St. Elias National Park.


Chitiu mining camp, summer.

WRANGELL-ST. ELIAS NATIONAL PARK has more than 13 million rugged acres to explore and the possibilities for adventure are endless.  The level of adventure is up to you...from a relaxing fly-in day-hiking trip to climbing one of the Park's many peaks over 16000 feet McCarthyair can accommodate you.

Grizzly bear family traverse rock slopes near Doubtful Creek.

Our backcountry locations offer ready access to fishing, glacial trekking, ice and rock climbing, mountaineering, rafting trips, horse riding, exploring historical mining ruins, and so much more!  As you explore this spectacular land, don't forget to take a deep breath and savor the crisp, clean air; solitude and immersion in this wild land.

Alaska's backcountry is virtually devoid of trails, making good maps and skilled navigation a key asset for any backcountry trip.  As you explore keep an eye out for both large and small game and watch for remnants of the mining days in the form of artifacts, mining shafts and camps and cabins.

As you browse the options listed below, keep in mind that these are merely suggestions.  It's best you look at a map yourself and think about what type of trip and terrain will best fit your needs. Keep in mind the length of trip desired, your skill level, weather, and seasons, terrain preferred, and wildlife and vistas sought after.  If you don't find what you are looking for here, we will be happy to work with you to tailor a trip to fit your needs.  Above all...Enjoy your trip and be SAFE !    


Campers gather gear, for take-off.  Rainbow over Skolai Pass.

Campers gather gear, for take-off.  Rainbow over Skolai Pass.

SKOLAI PASS is the drop-off spot for the popular Goat Trail that end at Glacier Creek, by way of unmatched terrain and spectacular views.  As you hike along the trail you will see Russell Glacier, 10,926 ft. Mt. Sulzer and the 16,000 foot Twaharpies of the University Range.  Also you will have a chance to explore the "Hole-in-the-Wall" glacier area, catch a glimpse of the thunderous Chitistone Falls and cross through country that almost guarantees big game sightings. 

Skolai Lake.

THE GOAT TRAIL is a challenging 25 miles including steep scree slopes and creek and river crossings.  Recommended travel time is 4-7 days depending on how many day trips are desired.  You can study a map and find other destination possibilities from Skolai Pass such as Doubtful Creek or Wolverine.  Skolai Pass is also a good spot for base-camping and day-hiking.


Skolai Pass RT:  Call for prices-907-554-4440

Skolai Pass DO (Glacier Creek PU):  


Doubtful Creek.

DOUBTFUL CREEK:  After an exciting landing alongside Nizina Glacier, step out of the plane to explore the surrounding rocky terrain or walk to the glacier.  Either way, you are surrounded by the cold fresh waters of the area--from clear water creeks to the iceberg filled Nizina Lake.  Self-tailor a trip to be picked up at a nearby landing area,  You may want to hike to the Rohn Glacier or find a route between Doubtful Creek and Wolverine.  The Doubtful Creek area offers many opportunities for day hikes or longer backpacking trips.


Doubtful Creek RT:  Call for prices-907-554-4440

Skolai Pass DO / Doubtful Creek PU:  





Glacier Creek airstrip, limestone cliff in background.

Glacier Creek airstrip, limestone cliff in background.

Glacier Creek, Martin Radovan camp.

GLACIER CREEK: At the end of the Goat Trail, Glacier Creek offers more than a terminus for the hike, a small public-use cabin makes a comfortable spot for base-camping/day-hiking or self-tailored destination trips.  This area offers a spectacular day-hike up the Glacier Creek valley toward the Twaharpies Glacier.  The valley is flanked by amazing rock formations and glaciated cirques with astounding views of the impressive University Range.  In addition, there are plenty of other side trips and areas to explore to keep you busy for several days.  The Goat Trail may also be hiked from Glacier Creek to Skolai Pass.  For the same price you can visit Peavine Bar across the creek.  Peavine Bar is similar to the Glacier Creek area but is equipped with two cabins (one has six bunks), a handicap accessible outhouse.


Glacier Creek RT:  Call for prices-907-554-4440

Goat Trail (Glacier Creek DO/Skolai PU):  



Wildflower at The Fosse

THE FOSSE:  With easy access and awesome views, the Fosse has an abundant offering.  Day-trip options allow exploration and truly amazing views of the Kennicott Glacier and 16,390 ft. Mt. Blackburn.  Terrain varies from rocky alpine slopes to glacial ice.  Its proximity to McCarthy, the stunning views and abundant short hikes fro the airstrip make the Fosse a perfect spot to spend the day if you don't have enough time for an overnight trip into the backcountry.


Call for prices-907-554-4440


At The Fosse, 16,390 foot Mount Blackburn in the background.


View into Chitisone Gorge

WOLVERINE MOUNTAIN:  Also known as the Chitistone Plateau, is a geologically rich area which offers a twist to the Goat Trail with an opportunity to hike from Skolai Pass to this high alpine plateau.  Traverse high mountain terrain with views of Chitistone Gorge, "Hole-in-the-Wall" glacier, 16,420 ft. Mt. Bona and 15,600 ft. Mt. Churchill.  Wildlife viewing possibilities are abundant, as well as fossil and geode hunting.  Wolverine Mt. is also a great area for day-hikes.  The trip from Skolai to Wolverine is a 3-8 day hike, depending on day trips desired.  Trips from Wolverine Mt. to Glacier Creek or Doubtful Creek are also an option.

Chitistone Plateau airstrip.

Wolverine RT:  Call for prices-907-554-4440

Wolverine DO/Doubtful PU:  


Rugged, rocky terrain and gently rolling green hills.

CHISANA:  Enjoy this historic mining town from the comfort of a public use cabin, or venture out into the surrounding area for day-hiking or overnight trips.  Check out an overnight loop trip through the Gold Hill or consider hiking to Solo Creek, Horsefeld or Chicken City.


Chisana RT:  Call for prices-907-554-4440

Chisana DO/Horsefeld PU:  

Historical mining ruins at Chisana.


Horsefeld's low-lying terrain makes long distance trips to other destinations rewarding.

HORSEFELD;  Expansive country with relatively easy travel, even through low-lying regions, makes a trip to Horsefeld an opportunity that remains unmatched.  You might choose to set up a base-camp and revel in the vastness of the land before hiking to either Braye Lakes or Rock Lake to take advantage of some great fishing.  Trips from Horsefeld to the historic mining town of Chisana (where public use cabins are available), or the unpopulated Chicken City, offer an experience similar to those of the old mining days.  Hike along historic Beaver Creek Trail through impressive terrain with load of history and expansive views.  The trail to Chisana is about 18-20 miles and can be expected to take about 4-7 days.


Horsefeld RT;  Call for prices-907-554-4440

Horsefeld DO/Chicken City PU;  


Nizina Glacier, rafting party.

NIZINA GLACIER:  Getting dropped off across the glacier from Doubtful Creek offers adventurers several different options.  Nizina Glacier landing strip allows access to the Regal Glacier and the West Fork Glacier and opportunities to challenge yourself on higher, rougher terrain.  The Nizina Glacier strip is also the put-in for rafting trips down the Nizina River.  There is a public-use cabin a short distance from the landing strip.  The Nizina Glacier is a perfect spot to settle in and set up a base camp for many day-hiking options.


Nizinz Glacier RT;  Call for prices-907-554-4440


Tana River rafters.

TANA RIVER;  The Tana is a unique area, accented by sand dunes, numerous unnamed peaks and the braids of Tana River.  The Tana offers challenging day-hiking and backpacking through the surrounding area or the opportunity to set off down the Tana River in a raft.  The trip down-river will go through the difficult Tana Canyon rapids to the confluence with the Chitina River near Jake's Bar (complete with public-use-cabins).  A hiker's trip starting at the Tana airstrip may continue in any direction.  Check your map or ask us for more details on longer hikes in the area.  Or, you may choose to spend a day or overnight trip taking it easy at the accessible and unique Tana Sand Dunes.


Tana River RT;  Call for prices-907-554-4440

Tana River DO/Bremner PU;  


Tebay Lakes, happy fishermen.

TEBAY LAKES;  Fishing has never been quite like this!  The blue-green waters of Tebay Lakes are home to fish and host a variety of wildlife as well.  With access to day-hiking, take a leisurely trip into this wilderness for relaxing fishing and exploration.  Check out nearby Gillam Falls and other hidden jewels and explore the seemingly never-ending lake shore, or simply bask in the towering views while you munch on abundant blueberries.


Tebay Lakes RT:  Call for prices-907-554-4440


Lakana cabin.

LAKANA: An amazing valley of rock and ice giants, the Lakina offers exciting hiking and stunning views of one of the area’s most prominent buttresses, 10,000 ft. Castle Peak. Hiking up the Lakina River to the Lakina Glacier or into any one of the many the alpine passes accessible from the Lakina Valley will surely astound any backpacker or day-tripper. Be on the lookout for moose, Dall sheep and other wildlife. The Lakina Valley is the perfect starting point for a number of challenging overnight trips with views of some of the park’s most dramatic peaks. Destination possibilities include Kuskulana Pass, the Fosse, Mill Creek or Kennicott. These trips range from 10 to 30 or more miles.

A Kodak on a ridge accessible from Lakana airstrip.


Lakana RT:  Call for prices-907-554-4440

Lakana DO/Kuskulana Pass PU:  


McCarthy Air cessna 180 at Ross Green Lake landing strip

ROSS GREEN LAKE:  This landing area gets its name from the stunning milky green glacial lake which is a day hike from the landing strip alongside Granite Creek.  Surrounded by the towering Granite Range and the spires and hanging glaciers of Thompson Ridge, this area offers so many opportunities for base-campers as well as backpackers.  Try a hike north up Twelvemile Creek into unnamed peaks.  If your skills permit, venture on a longer trip into the expanses of the Jefferies Glacier; over the Tana Glacier to Iceberg Lake or beyond; or take on the challenging trek to the Bagley Icefield.  Backpacking trips with glacial travel vary in length from 15 to 60 miles or more and from moderate to strenuous in difficulty.

Tana Glacier calving terminus, pre 2000

Ross Green Lake RT;  Call for prices-907-554-4440

Ross Green Lake DO/ Iceberg Lake PU;  


Rugged mountains and ice just above airstrip

ICEBERG LAKE:  A sparkling jewel in the midst of an icy kingdom, Iceberg Lake lives up to its name.  Spend a wonderful day or two hiking around the area exploring and discovering the lake or set off for an adventurous trip into the wilds.  Travel over the Tana Glacier to Ross Green Lake; head out to the historic Bremner mine area public-use cabin; or continue on past Bremner to the Fan Glacier strip.  Landing at Iceberg Lake gives access to the Bagley Icefield and many surrounding peaks,  Trips from Iceberg Lake range from moderate 15 mile trips to strenuous 35+ miles with varying terrain and glacial travel.


Iceberg Lake RT: Call for prices-907-554-4440

Iceberg Lake in the background.

Iceberg Lake DO/Bremner PU :  


Bear tracks at Fan Glacier.

FAN GLACIER:  Landing in a wide open sandy valley surrounded by hanging glaciers and impressive peaks leaves many options for exploration.  This area provides glacier access, easy-going hiking in high-alpine areas and craggy mountains.  If you are interested in a longer, more challenging trip this might be the place to start.  Heading to the Bremner mine area or continuing on toward Iceberg Lake or Ross Green Lake offers a long hike over impressive terrain.


Fan Glacier:  RT:  Call for prices-907-554-4440

Fan Glacier DO/RossGreen PU:  


Bremner mine Model A Ford.

BREMNER:  The allure of this drop-off location extends well beyond the intrigue of exploring the old mining settlement and other surrounding artifacts.  With a public-use cabin, this is a perfect spot to plan a relaxing trip.  Day-hikes and short trips to Golconda Creek and the North Fork River and possibly all the way to the North Fork Glacier, or scrambling in exploration through one of the many pockets in the surrounding landscape.  Take a look at the terrain and plan your own overnight trip. 


Bremner RT:  Call for prices-907-554-4440

Bremner DO/Fan Glacier PU:  

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