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.
The indigenous Ahtna Athabascan 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 180 miles west towards Anchorage. The town sits along the Glenn Highway near its intersection with the Richardson Highway, and provides traveler services to motorists as well as those preparing for adventures in the nearby national park. The drive from Glennallen to Anchorage takes about three hours.
Things to do
As the gateway into Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Glennallen is the base for a variety of guides, outfitters, and tour companies, offering adventures including world-class fishing, rafting, wildlife viewing, flightseeing through the peaks, off-road vehicle trips on old mining trails, and snowmobile tours in the winter.
Wrangell-St. Elias National Park boasts 9 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.
Glennallen is also near the famed Copper River, where anglers catch what some believe to be the tastiest of all Alaska salmon – the famous Copper River red salmon. Charter fishing guides based in the Glennallen area offer outings that focus on red salmon and king salmon fishing on the Copper and Klutina Rivers.
Both the Gulkana and Klutina Rivers are excellent spots for float trips and outfitters are available in the Glennallen area that can provide the equipment and guides for such an adventure. Many trips are one-day outings that include the opportunity to fish for king and red salmon, Dolly Varden, and grayling, depending on the season.
Glennallen comes alive in January when it serves as the starting and ending point for the Copper Basin 300 Dog Sled Race. Often referred to as the toughest 300 miles in Alaska, the race follows a loop that heads north to Meiers Lake and then east before returning Glennallen. In winter, Glennallen is also a great vantage point for viewing the northern lights.
Dry Creek State Recreational Site, just a few miles north of Glennallen on the Richardson Highway, provides camping, fishing, and hiking trails. For additional visitor information, the Copper Valley Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center is at the junction of the Glenn and Richardson Highways and is loaded with brochures and suggestions on what to do and see in the area.
Accommodations in the area include several wilderness lodges, inns, B&Bs, RV parks, and campgrounds.