Wrangell-St. Elias National Park: MacColl Ridge Trip
Located in the heart of Alaska's Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, MacColl Ridge is a wonderful place for hiking, camping, backpacking and wildlife sightings. Mountain goats and Dall sheep reside on the rocky cliff faces, and the high plateau is home to caribou, bear, wolves, coyote and a variety of birds and other animals. The high open country, typical for much of Alaska, is perfect for hiking, and it's easy to while away entire afternoons hiking and exploring, enjoying one of the park's least visited areas.
Amazing blooms of alpine wildflowers proliferate here, more so than anywhere else in the entire park, and possibly most of interior Alaska: lupines, shooting stars, forget-me-nots, louseworts and countless others are found all along the ridgeline. The blooms vary year to year, and always offer an array of color. This guided trip is one of the easier walks in Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.
The broad open spaces surrounding MacColl Ridge offer easy hiking and great views of many of the larger mountains in Alaska, Mts Blackburn, Logan, St. Elias, Churchill and Bona are all visible on a clear day. Nowhere else is the enormous scale of the park so evident as from this lonely massif.
A combination of basecamping, hiking and backpacking, this trip is perfect for those more interested in a vacation than an arduous hike. We fly in a small Alaskan bush plane up to the ridge, set up a base camp, and explore the surrounding area. W e will backpack to the far end of the ridge, set up camp again, and explore that region and it's vast open plateaus. A unique and interesting trip to a region of the park few people visit, this one is not to be missed.
This expansive network of ridges and escarpments provide numerous opportunities to explore and wander the tundra. A basecamp up here can provide more than a few days of hiking and poking around. It's also possible to backpack from one end of the ridge to another, or go out and back. It's a great place for photographers interested in trying their luck with the wildlife, with massive landscape images or with closer intimate macro photography of flowers that bloom here.
The walking here is easier than in many of the other places in Wrangell - St. Elias, as there is no moraine or talus slopes to negotiate, and no bushwhacking - unless you venture down lower to the brush line.