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Sunset over Skolai Pass, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

"My trip with Expeditions Alaska in Wrangell St. Elias National Park was an absolutely phenomenal experience. ... As I look back almost 6 months after my trip I can still say it far exceeded every expectation I had about the trip and look forward to hopefully returning next Summer .. the stunning beauty of the Wrangell mountains is something I won't forget." -- Rob Boal, San Francisco, CA. More testimonials --->

Alaska Photography Tours Skolai Pass Basecamp and Landscapes Photography trip


Trip outline


  • - A scenic drive through the Chugach Mountains, then down the Richardson Highway, with classic views of the Wrangell Mountains.
  • - 2 Bush flights into and out of the backcountry, deep in Wrangell - St. Elias National Park.
  • - 6 nights camped in Skolai Pass, with stunning views of towering snow-capped mountains, vast glaciers and open alpine tundra, in all directions.
  • - A range of wildlife opportunities, including grizzly bears, caribou, Dall sheep and more.
  • - An afternoon at the historic mining town of Kennicott, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park.


* * * * * * *


Visit and photograph Wrangell - St. Elias National Park, largest national park in the US, an internationally protected World Heritage Site, home to 9 of the 16 highest peaks in the US, the largest subpolar icefield in the world, the largest collection of glaciers on the continent, and the premier mountain wilderness in North America. On this trip, we spend 6 nights in the backcountry photographing one of the most beautiful places in Alaska; Skolai Pass. We'll fly in to the backcountry, do a short hike to our campsite, and then spend our time photographing the landscape. We'll probably move camp once during this week, to allow us more opportunities to shoot some of the scenery on the southern end of the Pass, towards Russell Glacier and the University Ranges, with 2 peaks over 15 000'.



Willow Ptarmigan (Lagopus lagopus) in fall plumage, Wrangell - St. Elias national Park, Alaska

Willow Ptarmigan (Lagopus lagopus)

The Alaska state bird, the willow ptarmigan (Lagopus lagopus) stands perched on a willow branch, fall plumage and fall colors in the foliage, Skolai Pass, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park, Alaska. For a larger version and to see more images, click on the image.

This trip starts in Anchorage, and we depart early for the scenic drive to Wrangell - St. Elias National Park. Travelling along the northern edge of the Chugach Mountain Range, and then south along the Copper River Valley, we should have great views of Mt Drum, Mt Wrangell, Mt Sanford and Mt Blackburn, all of which are ice and snow-capped peaks that tower over their surroundings. We spend the first night in McCarthy, before flying out in a small bush plane for the backcountry landing strip at Skolai Pass. A short hike takes us to our campsite on the tundra, and then we'll have lunch and head off for the afternoon for some photography.


From here, we spend the following 6 nights in and around Skolai Pass, photographing some of the grandest scenery in Alaska. We'll get up close and personal with Russell Glacier, visit Hole in the Wall, photograph Castle Mountain, hike over into the Chitistone Valley with it's sweeping views, as well as the Nizina Drainage and the eastern edge of the Alaska Range, including Mt Frederick.


Wildlife are usually present in the area, and photography of grizzly bears, red fox, Dall sheep and caribou, as well as an array of birds, including shorebirds like Wandering Tattlers and Semipalmated Plovers, as well as raptors like the golden eagle and peregrine falcon is often possible.


We'll spend time during the day hiking and exploring the area for potential images, as well as resting so we're wide awake to shoot during the hours of good light - in Alaska during the summer, that can mean photography in the the midnight hours. On our final morning, we'll take some photos, return to camp and get packed to await our pilot's return for the pickup, then fly back to McCarthy for breakfast at Ma Johnson's hotel and a shower at our cabins.


Next we can catch a shuttle up to the small historic town of Kennicott and explore and photograph the old buildings and machinery left behind from the days of the copper mining. For the adventurous, another options is to hike out onto the Root Glacier. We'll stay the night in our cabins in McCarthy, then have a quick breakfast and take the drive back to Anchorage on our final day. If the weather is in our favor, it is well worth taking a sight seeing flight around Mt. Blackburn in the morning for some aerial photography, with the potential for some truly spectacular views of the mountain range.


This is truly one of the grandest destinations in Alaska, with fantastic opportunities for landscape and wildlife photography. We'll have beautiful campsites, great hiking, and scenery without par. We offer this trip as a fully-outfitted and catered trip, all gear and food provided, or a discount rate for those folks who will bring their own gear and food. Call or email us to start planning your backcountry photo tour.


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We travel from Anchorage to McCarthy, overnight in McCarthy and then fly in to the backcountry. A week in the Skolai Pass area and we fly back to McCarthy, show and eat, and then enjoy the afternoon relaxing in the slow-paced rustic town of McCarthy, or venture up to Kennicott and look at the historic copper mine Mill buildings and leftovers of this ghost town. We spend the night in McCarthy, and travel back to Anchorage on the final day.


Where are we?

View Skolai Pass in a larger map



For more information, send me an email or give us a call: (770) 952 4549.

Landscape Photo Tour


Trip Highlights

  • * Scenic drive to McCarthy
  • * 2 bush flights
  • * 6 nights camping
  • * Variety of wildlife
  • * Afternoon at historic Kennicott.


Trip Options Short backpack to basecamp and dayhike or basecamp and dayhike near the landing strip. Photographic flight-seeing addition as well.


Level Easy - moderate


How Much Further? 3-5 miles backpacking, 1-5 mile dayhikes


2016 Dates July 6-13


Best Dates July & Sept


Price $1900.00 or $2300.00 fully-outfitted.



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