Hire A Guide! Be Careful When Hiking Root Glacier, Says Park Service

  Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve Reminds Visitors to Use Caution When Hiking the Root Glacier Trail  Crevasse on glacier (Pho...


Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve Reminds Visitors to Use Caution When Hiking the Root Glacier Trail 

Crevasse on glacier (Photo, Neil Hannan) 


COPPER CENTER, AK –The National Park Service (NPS) reminds visitors that the landscape of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve is extreme. River crossings, glacier travel, thick brush, extreme weather (cold and hot), rock fall, mudslides, bears, avalanches, and bugs are just some of the hazards that can be experienced here.  Helpful information for planning your trip can be found athttps://www.nps.gov/wrst/planyourvisit/backcountry.htm


In particular, the Root Glacier trail, accessed via the Kennecott Mines National Historic Landmark, poses particular hazards associated with constant changes in the glacial moraine and requires extra caution when hiking. The lower section of the trail near the glacier is composed of slippery debris-covered ice and rock scree; portions of the trail near the glacier have recently been eroded by nearby creeks.  Trail conditions are constantly changing and can change suddenly.  If you decide to walk on the glacier, we recommend the use of crampons or microspikes.   


Also use extreme caution when approaching or crossing creeks, rivers, crevasses, or moulins (holes in the ice formed by surface meltwater). Consider the time of day you are traveling and the weather, as both the afternoon and warm or rainy weather can cause a rise in water levels. You should be cautious of what lies downstream should you slip into the water.  


Both Black Bears and Grizzly Bears are present along the entire trail route and can even be seen on the glacier. For maximum safety, carry and know how to use bear spray, travel in groups, let someone know your travel plans, be noisy when you are walking, and never give any food to a bear. 


For additional information, check the park website at www.nps.gov/wrst or call the visitor center at (907) 822-7250. 



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