Copper Center

Region: Southcentral

Wrangell Mountains, Near Copper Center

Copper Center is located along the Old Richardson Highway in Southcentral Alaska, on a loop of road that was created when the Richardson Highway was straightened in 1988. Although visiting the community now requires a short side trip off the main Richardson Highway, its classic Alaska character and a few interesting sites make it worth the few extra miles.

About Copper Center

Since the creation of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve in 1980, Copper Center has served as one of the gateways for visitors entering the massive national park. It is a full-service community with a range of accommodations, restaurants, campgrounds, supplies, gas and tire repair.

Strategically located at the confluence of the Klutina and Copper rivers, Copper Center was originally a large, winter village for Ahtna Athabascan families who have lived in the region for more than 5,000 years. The first lodge in the Copper River Basin was built in 1896 and provided a soft bed and a hot meal to travelers, most of them miners following the Valdez-Fairbanks Trail during the gold rushes of 1897-98. Eventually Copper Center evolved into the principal supply center for miners in the Nelchina-Susitna region, adding a telegraph station and post office in 1901 and a school four years later.