The Best Horse Trails at Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve
Located in the heart of Alaska, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Covering an impressive area of over 13 million acres, it is the largest national park in the United States. With its breathtaking landscapes, diverse wildlife, and rich human history, this park offers some of the best horse trails in the country. If you're an equestrian looking for an unforgettable adventure, read on to discover the best horse trails at Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve.
1. Nabesna Road Trail:
Stretching for about 40 miles, the Nabesna Road Trail is a scenic route that takes riders through picturesque valleys, lush meadows, and alongside crystal-clear rivers. This trail offers awe-inspiring views of the Wrangell and Mentasta mountain ranges. Keep an eye out for wildlife like Dall sheep, moose, and even bears as you ride along this trail.
2. Chisana River Trail:
For those seeking a more challenging and longer ride, the Chisana River Trail is an excellent choice. This 70-mile-long trail follows the Chisana River, opening a gateway to the less-explored areas of the national park. As you traverse through the unspoiled wilderness, you'll be treated to views of glaciers, dense forests, and remote mountain peaks. This trail allows riders to experience true solitude and the untouched beauty of Wrangell-St. Elias.
3. Skolai Pass Trail:
The Skolai Pass Trail is a moderate 15-mile route that offers remarkable views of the Wrangell Mountains. This trail takes riders through alpine meadows, glacial valleys, and provides a glimpse of the park's diverse wildlife. Keep an eye out for mountain goats perched on the cliffs or caribou roaming in the distance. As an added bonus, the Skolai Pass Trail has various camping spots, allowing riders to spend the night and fully immerse themselves in the beauty of the area.
4. McCarthy Road Trail:
Accessible from McCarthy or Kennicott, the McCarthy Road Trail is a popular horse trail that offers a mix of historic landmarks and stunning landscapes. This trail follows the old McCarthy Road, which played a significant role during the copper mining era in the early 20th century. Along the way, riders can explore the ghost town of Kennecott, visit abandoned mines, and witness the immense Root Glacier. The McCarthy Road Trail is perfect for history buffs and nature lovers alike.
5. Bremner Mines Trail:
Starting at the historic Nizina townsite, the Bremner Mines Trail winds through spectacular valleys, crosses rivers, and eventually leads to the remnants of the Bremner mines. This trail showcases the unique geological features of Wrangell-St. Elias and offers an opportunity to explore abandoned mining camps and witness the park's glacial influence up close. With stunning mountain views and abundant wildlife, the Bremner Mines Trail is a must-ride for adventurers seeking a truly immersive experience.
Before embarking on any horseback adventure, it is essential to obtain a backcountry use permit from the park's visitor center, as well as to ensure you have proper equipment, provisions, and experience for the chosen trail. Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve is a vast wilderness with unpredictable weather conditions, and safety should always be a top priority.
In conclusion, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve offers some of the most breathtaking horse trails in the United States. Whether you're a seasoned rider or a novice equestrian, these trails cater to all skill levels and provide an opportunity to explore the park's rugged beauty, diverse wildlife, and fascinating history. So saddle up, hit the trails, and embark on an unforgettable horseback adventure in Wrangell-St. Elias!