MacColl Ridge

A camping trip for the family. Hiking, wildlife, solitude and a great big wilderness.

  • Return transport Anchorage - McCarthy
  • 2 Nights accommodation in McCarthy
  • Return bushflights McCarthy - MacColl Ridge
  • Stunning 360 degree views
  • Excellent Dall sheep mountain goats viewing
  • A nice easy remote Alaska adventure vacation

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.

Arctic Ground Squirrel.

Where Are We?

Trip FAQs

  • MacColl Ridge sits pretty high and the bugs aren’t too bad.

    That can vary year to year though, so bring a headnet and repellent.

  • There certainly is.

    Avoid the hassles of carrying a heavy backpack. As an example, travel to our jumping-off destination, overnight, fly into the backcountry, camp and explore the area via day hikes and packrafts (* option on some trips), fly back, overnight and return travel to Fairbanks/Anchorage. Trip logistics and itinerary will vary with the specific trip. Fully-outfitted or do it yourself.

    These trips are extremely flexible, wonderfully fun and a whole lot easier on your body than a backpacking trip is.

    Looking for something “in the middle”? Sure, we can do that too. Fly in and out of the same location, and make a smaller backpacking loop or out and back, combining a few days camping and a few days of backpacking. Contact me via email or call 1-770-952-4549 and we’ll set it up.

  • You sure can.

    Fully outfitting your trip is $250.00 per person, with group discount available. For single individual items, contact me and we’ll see what you need and work that out. A tent (1 or 2 person) is $200.00 per person for the trip. If you just want us to handle food, and have all your own gear (tent, etc) that’s $225.00 per person.

  • Oh yeah. Right here

    Upon your reservation I’ll also send out a detailed Trip Information Packet with more than enough information on gear to keep you busy. Until then the above check list is a good outline of what you need.

  • All multi-day trips (backpacking, basecamping, packrafting, photo tours) out of McCarthy include transport to/from Anchorage/McCarthy, 2 nights accommodations in McCarthy, air taxi flights McCarthy/The Backcountry, group gear such as cook tents, fuel, BRFCs, bear spray, etc. Hiking poles are included if you don’t have your own.

    We include a satellite phone for emergencies and one backup emergency contact device, such as PLB or Garmin InReach. First aid kits, map and compass included. All guides are Wilderness First Responder Certified.

    Storage of your overnight travel gear is limited but available (keep it small).

    Outfitting of equipment such as tents is available. Expeditions Alaska can either fully outfit your trip (all food, tents, etc) or adjust things a la carte if needed.

    Guide gratuities are not included but most appreciated.

    We do NOT cover the cost of your travel meals, such as meals along the road to/from McCarthy, or in McCarthy pre/post your backpacking trip.

    Trip insurance is not included. I strongly urge you to purchase it on your own. Our recommendation is Travelex.

    For a full outline of What’s included/not included, please see this page.

  • I know you do. I do as well.

    I recommend starting with the General Trip FAQ page

    More questions? Email me or call me  and we’ll go through them.

    Upon your reservation I’ll also send out a comprehensive trip information packet that covers just about everything and more you might imagine about your trip.

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