Glennallen sits at the junction of two of Alaska’s most important highways and serves as a jumping-off point to the largest national park in the United States, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve.
Although the indigenous Ahtna people have lived in the region for countless years, the town of Glennallen was established in the mid-1940s as a highway construction camp for the Glenn Highway, which stretches west toward Anchorage. The town sits along the Glenn Highway near where it intersects with the Richardson Highway, and provides traveler services to motorists as well as those preparing for adventures in the nearby national park.
Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve boasts nine out of the highest 16 peaks in the United States. The park is situated at the crossroads of three great mountain ranges: the Wrangell Mountains to the north, the Chugach Mountains to the south and the St. Elias Mountains arching up from the Gulf of Alaska. Many of these peaks are visible from Glennallen and lend the town an imposing backdrop.
Things to do
As the gateway into Wrangell-St. Elias, Glennallen is the base for a variety of guides, outfitters and tour companies, offering adventures that range from world-class fishing, rafting and wildlife viewing to flightseeing through the peaks, off-road vehicle trips on old mining trails and snowmobile tours in the winter. Glennallen is also near the famed Copper River, where anglers happily pluck what some believe to be the tastiest of all Alaska salmon – the famous Copper River red salmon.
Glennallen comes alive in January when it serves as the starting point for the Copper Basin 300 Dog Sled Race (www.cb300.com). Often referred to as the toughest 300 miles in Alaska, the race follows a loop that heads north to Summit Lake and then east before returning Glennallen and finishing at Tolsona Lake Resort to the east. In winter, Glennallen is also a great vantage point for viewing the northern lights.